There seems to be one huge change in the way tanks work, that is being implemented. Well actually two: The first one is
Stamina is no longer the sole king of tanking stats, parry and dodge are incredible
Especially for Death Knights, where one of our prime threat moves are Rune Strike, which only activates after a dodge or a parry.
This is great. I've always liked the block/dodge/parry feel of tanking more than the "I have huge health bar, call me Mr. Sponge", so I am thrilled. Let us hope it sticks.
The big big change is how our rotations work. (oh and this is important. I don't care about druids or warriors. I know how paladin tanks work, and I know how Death Knight tanks work. I do not understand or care - or play- any druid or warrior at an endgame level)
The big change is, that at seemingly every bottom press we decide on whether we want to add threat to the mob, or add survivability to ourselves. The hardworking Wake talks about it and so does Iconoclast (with GC)
Here are some chosen quotes:
Since we're quite resource-bound under the new rune system, most boss pulls I initiated with Dancing Rune Weapon and dished out as much threat I could in order to be able to "slack off" further into the fight and handle adds, self-healing, CD-usage and such much more smoothly.
I've found the Blood Shield to, in several situations, be hard to get the full effect out of. It requires the tank's involvement to activate, and even if you're a great player and manage to get the full effect out of it
Many players are feeling there is not enough Holy Power. Generally it seems people want more Holy Power so they can use WoG. If you are in a fight that is dealing so much damage that you feel healing yourself is called for, don't forget that Vengeance will be up very very high in that fight and will be helping a lot with threat. Feel free to substitue in some WoG's for SotR, and if you spec'd right you'll have a chance for your WoG to not consume Holy Power at all allowing you to still use that SotR. Outside of those situations, WoG is not intended for situational use.
What does this mean?
The way I read the above linked posts, the way I see our abilities, and the way these qoutes above (hopefully) examplify, is that we get a choice of adding threat or adding survivability.
Will you use your holy power to selfheal, or add threat? Will you use your rotations to keep your blood shield up, or focus on keeping the mobs sticked to you.
Don't get me wrong, this is fantastically fun, you really get to be much more active and alert, and every fight will keep you engaged. In theory.
I say in theory because if I've learned anything in wow, it is this: tanks keep threat, dps pew, and healers keep people alive.
What I mean by this, is that if we wipe, because I -the tank- die, healers will be blamed. Noone would ever say: "tank why didn't you use more defensive moves?" (or dps why didn't you take less damage and do more damage?), if aggro is lost, the tank will be blamed, even if dps where dicks and the healer was shit, and the tank had to use his rotation to keep himself alive, instead of adding threat.
So my bet would be that all tanks would focus on threat (to keep dps appeased), healers will whine that they haven't gotten enough mana to heal, blizz will buff healers, and we are back to where we are now.
having said that, hopefully smart players won't be sheep, and see that it is now important to have healers conserve mana, so the idea and hopefully the smarter groups (aka guild runs are FTW!) will understand that the runs are aimed for the knife-edge decisions of "survive but risk running out of mana while dps are slowed to stay below threat when tank and healers are doing their best to not die" kontra the "nuuuke hard keep threat and kill and hopefully not die while going all out". That should be fun for an entire group, and encourage working together instead of " I am doing MY part, you do yours" -solo'ish idea that is I see as a trend happening. Something I think that the anonymous lfg runs is encouraging, and something I think will kill the game, in the long run.
If group runs become much more about working together, so that 5 players will be more than the sum of their part. When you work together to achieve something that you could not if you had just been 5 players doing their own part. Hopefully that Goblin thought of "I did my part, you do yours and please do not talk to me in the meantime, because I am too cool to talk to anyone". Hopefully the idea would be "let us be more than the sum of our parts, and generally work together to achieve a greater goal. Let us break the mold of what a dps, tank and healer should do, and let us look at what we can do to get to our goal."
Where tanks can focus on surviability, where healers can be conscious of what type of heals they throw and when, and where dps can do more than just 'press this button that does the most damage' and actually be involved in the group beside conquering the dmg meter.