How could or should the Blood tanking be made more interesting for Cataclysm?
We've seen the class previews, we've seen some of the new abilities. But as of yet, very few details about one of the the primary concerns about death knight tanking (for me at least) has yet to be addressed. Quite simply, Blood isn't the most interesting tank spec to play as currently. It doesn't even really feel tank-like. This has been touted by many people favouring the frost tree for tanking, as it seems to be more fun if not necessarily more effective. The lack of AoE damage is another point of contention.
It has been revealed that the blood spec will be seeing changes.... but what sort of changes exactly?
So how about a few ideas, some theorycrafting, and all that jazz to pass the time? What abilities should be added? How should current abilities be changed? In short, all the technical stuff. Effectiveness will presumably be taken care of without any trouble, and as such I'm trying to focus on the improving the fun and variety within the Blood tree.
I'll start off by throwing in a few of my own ideas, but don't be afraid to throw in your own.
Heart Strike -- The "heart" of the Blood tree, pardon the pun, currently acts as a total replacer for Blood Strike by dealing more damage and giving a cleave-like effect. It's almost spammed as well. In my opinion, it needs an overhaul. I'm thinking of changing it to a variant of whirlwind, or perhaps simply a high-powered cleave. Cost should be changed, requiring either two blood runes or a frost/unholy rune combo to use it. To address the stylistic design choice that abilities granted by each tree abilities uses runes from that tree may have to re-evalulated. A cooldown of approximately 10-15 seconds would be needed of course. Blood Strike would then become your go-to ability for single targets and general use. More variety and AoE damage all in one stroke.
Hysteria -- This is quite frankly more of a DPS talent, but it doesn't hurt tanking too much as well. It has mostly been set against Blood's established self-healing capabilities, but it may be undesirable for a tank tree. It may not be a bad idea to move it to a low-tier talent (something like only 11 points in) to allow access to it by more DPS oriented specs. Or moving it to another tree and renaming it, perhaps "Unholy Might"?
Dancing Rune Weapon -- An iffy talent, and again mostly a DPS increasing talent. It's not bad again for burst threat, but it may not belong in the Blood tree. The Unholy tree looks like a good candidate again.
Bone Shield -- Thematically, it's not too much of a stretch to throw it straight into the Blood tree. Increasing the cooldown may be necessary, as there are a lot of cooldowns available to death knight tanks and increasing the amount available may need a counter balance. The same could be said of Vampiric Blood.
Unbreakable Armor -- Tricky.... definitely a tank-oriented cooldown and name. Not too sure if it should be moved to the Blood tree, lowered far enough in Frost so that blood tanks can pick it up (the strength it provides makes it a solid DPS cooldown as well), or simply altered and renamed into a purely DPS talent.
Death and Decay -- AoE threat is slated to be scaled back a bit in the Cataclysm, to approximately warrior levels. That is not too high that AoE threat is mindless and not a concern, but AoE tanking is a viable tactic in a way. The change proposed for DnD is simply removing the additional threat modifier on it. Less AoE threat for DPS DKs, and Blood will be getting additional AoE abilities to compensate for the loss.
Rune Strike -- Presumably this is getting redesigned like Heroic Strike, but I think it should still be a clearly tanking strike. One of the fun things about Frost tanking is Frost Strike, a second way to dump your runic power. Death Coil has always been kinda "meh" for blood, so this will be a very welcome alternative.
Self-healing in general -- Applying to Death Strike, Rune Tap and Mark of Blood. While these talents are very good for tanking now and will continue to be so in Cataclysm, they may be a wee bit overpowered once it arrives. Healing up to full will take more than one cast, and as these talents are based off of a percentage of max health. Simply, the amount they heal for might have to be scaled back. A 20% heal every thirty seconds may be too potent with the new healing model that will be in Cataclysm.
New Abilities (proposed):
Blood Nova -- Intended to be a mirror of Howling Blast, only more blood themed. Partially based off of the ability used by Deathbringer Saurfang in Icecrown Citadel. It could also apply Blood Plague, and/or refresh diseases. More AoE damage, easier AoE threat off the pull, and more "oomph". A cooldown would be needed again (Howling Blast is set at 8 seconds, not a bad number), but it should perk up the fun aspect of Blood Tanking.
Unholy Blight -- Actually the old version of Unholy Blight, the AoE damage aura. Great for tanking, and I always thought it looked awesome. Why not?
I suppose there may have been something I missed, but that should serve as the basework for discussion. How could the proposed changes above be improved? What other changes could be made? What sort of different abilities do you think Blood needs?
There's still a ways to go before Cataclysm comes out, so it doesn't hurt to throw around a few ideas. Try to keep things reasonably balanced of course, it's easy to go a bit overboard and make a bunch of overpowered changes or abilities.