Well, I'd hoped I'd have more time to test this, but as luck would have it, soon after speccing this way I found my druid (resto / boom) more in demand, and work got kinda busy as well, so have hardly had a chance to play around with it.
I think I've done one full 25 man run of Naxx (primarily as an OT) so it's hardly sufficient enough to come to any kind of conclusion.
I am currently running with this spec: The World of Warcraft Armory and so far I quite like it. I'm also glyphed for cleave, so it hits 3 targets. I haven't seen any noticeable difference in OVERALL DPS (i.e. at the end of Naxx 25, I'm still bottom of the DPS meter, with somewhere around the same average DPS), so my gut feeling is that my DPS is lower on single targets, higher on trash, and so it evens out somewhere in the middle.
Has anyone else tried a spec similar to this, and if so, do you have any thoughts on the matter? My current frame of mind is 'keep trying it out and see if I see a downside'.
I would be somewhat hesitant to tank someone like Malygos with this, but most other fights I haven't seemed to have any problems.
The one thing I've noticed (and is a bit annoying) is that, when I tab target something and it targets something across the room (or at least out of melee range) my cleave fails to activate (because there is no melee swing). This is really only common sense, as HS does this too, but I guess part of my subconscious brain equates cleave to be more like thunderclap than HS - but this is just mental conditioning I suppose.
Bit of a random, rambling post, but do let me know if any of you have tried this build recently as I'm quite interested to see what my peers think.
p.s. I would give my right nut in exchange for target dummies that actually let us test our DPS
I have been using a similar spec...
The down side is rage starvation.
This spec almost requires BoS.
Cleave lacks the cost reduction HS gets, it lacks the rage return from a glyph, and the revenge glyph has no effect on it.
That aside, I have done enough multi target threat with cleave (and other attacks) to pull multiple mobs from a Pally tank.
I have MT all of 10 man Naxx with this spec and held threat on Malygos (not using cleave but still speced).
Depending on the impact 3.1 has on rage, it will more than likely change the viability of this spec.
The question you have to ask yourself when pondering a spec like this is, "What am I tanking?" If all you ever do is tank trash, this spec and its many off-shoots are just fine. Trash doesn't hit very hard, doesn't live very long, and you can hold much of it without concern. The problem is that these types of trash-centric, gimmick specs severely cripple both your survivability and threat/dps output where it really matters: boss fights.
What you are gaining on the way to the boss is inconsequential compared what you are losing while tanking the boss. You have traded 5% total avoidance (not avoidance after DR) for the ability to hit an extra target a little harder in packs of trash. Once you get to the boss, you are being hit 5% more often, applying less single-target threat because you can't heroic strike as much, have lost 10% crit damage on all of your threat-producing abilities, and close to 10% overall dps on the boss just from not having Deep Wounds. Also consider the major glyph you traded to be able to hit that extra mob with your cleave.