I've been playing DK as a tank for a few months now. I am moderately familiar with the mechanics (I say moderately because its always changing and I can always learn more) and I do pretty well as a tank. With 3.1 I decided to make 2 specs for tanking, a blood single target and an unholy aoe threat. I was frost for about 2 months prior to 3.1 and unholy prior to that. I just wanted to get some second opinions on my specs, gear, enchants, glyphs, and gems in order to maximize my tanking efficiency.
I've never been a big fan of blood tanking, but I won't argue that you will generate a good deal of threat. I think honestly though, that you sacrifice a bit too much for mitigation talents to do so. Just my opinion.
I haven't done a lot of Unholy tanking but it looks very nice for tanking Magic damage. I suspect your AOE tanking would rely mostly on Unholy Blight, D&D, BB and Corspe Explode. I always found HB to be extremely effective for AOE tanking personally. D&D, HB, BB and you can save your RP for IBF and frost strikes.
Just a comment on some of your gear and gems, you are at like 560 defense when you only need 540. You can gem for more raw avoidance or stamina, like +parry instead of +defense. It will give you a bit more avoidance/stamina. Only a minor trade off, the gains are worth it. The extra +20 defense you have contributes to avoidance, but you can get more avoidance out of it by gemming straight parry/dodge.
Be4 i start too bullshit the mainpart, id like to emphasise some things , which are true for all specs imo. Obviously we all know to take the 5point starting talents in all trees.
What id like to point out is, that dks are limited with Rune Cooldowns. Although the duration of diseases was increased, with epidemic one needs to loose 2 runes for refresh 6 seconds later + the gcd for using abilities. It gets even funnier with glyph of disease, which makes pestilence refresh diseases. Beside the 1st infecting of the target, u spend 1 blood rune every 21s to keep them up. Without the glyph epidemic is a musthave imo, with the glyph it can be argued that the 3 points are better spent elsewhere as 1blood every 15s is not that bad.
Dnd is the cheapest agro u get. Completely irrelevant for an mt build, depends on personal preference for ots. Although frostspec's will say morbidity is not needed, its simply usefull to have with only 15s of cd. Its that extra aoe agro u can pop if hb missed a mob, or to make sure aoer's wont overtake agro if they start too soon. The 15s gives u the ability to drop it anytime, as ull have a new 1 soon enuf versus thinking when its actually worth it.
Bladed armor is gr8 for tanks. Not only does it profit from our tanking presence, it also benefits from toughness. It simply gives a nice chunk of ap bonus=agro, even more so, if one has impurity in uholy.
Scent of blood is usefull for FrostStrikes and thats basically it. Imo FS are for any frost dps. Tanks use runestrikes as u only get them after dodge, ..., they dont use gcd and cost half rp. Now u need to keep 20 rp minimum for ibf, since glyph was changed, and u generally use the rp on RS, be4 the pool is full. 40 rp is also a high cost, even 32 with glyph. U might have full rp all the time with scent + chill + dirge + IT glyph + FS glyph (+pvp 4set) but id say FS is meant for dps (x/44/22 +n). 80 rp after - IT PS OBL BS/Pst BS followed by 2FS. This spec would be nice for 130 rp pool pvp)
The spec u want, mostly depends on which of the 36 migitation talents u like best. Imo, and only imo, id say blood is the way to go, as vampiric blood is imbah and lasts 30s with glyph. That said, we gotten nerfed as hell. We lost much of our stats (10%parry), the 36 talents have 1 min more cd, and lichborne doesnt have any migitaiton anymore. Improved frost aura only gives u 2% more dmg reduction. When tanking ur alrdy in frost presence, which means u gotten most of it already, 2%doesnt seem worth it (the new presence talents should double buff imo ... +8% hp, beside the 2% dmg reduction even when in frost prs). Unbreakable is a nice move, liked it far more be4 though. Bone Shield gotten seriously handicapped with cd. Anyway, pick the thing u feel comfortable with.
U have the big 3, where the sweetnes of going deep into one tree is the output and scaling of abilities and the general efficiency and peak.
with epidemic, drm + disease glyph this has an endless and easy rotation
DS IT PS 4xHS DS HS Pstlnc DS 6xHS DS HS/Pst
Beside that, dk makes agro with dmg, and with improved blood u heal yourself, DeathStrikes get boosted from tree + glyph (musthave glyph, since the only rp dump is RS, which means glyph will gief max bonus most of the time). Will of the necropolis got perverted though, surely theres another discussion purely on that.
With morbidity, one could use Blood Boil instead of HS, and Pst 1st after IT and PS. Since BB has gotten buffed, the blood spec can make decent aoe agro, main problem is, that a heavy frost or unholy build will have far less trouble and sweat at it.
since 3.1 i dislike frost. Be4 u could pick 31, 36 or 43 points and in all 3 cases u already had HB, which was the main point of frost spec anyway. Now frost is practically only legit going for HB, since obliterate is linked to it and FS is useless imo. Nothing bad about it though, u shouldn't care if u tank boss or adds. Pick the rest of points as u like, the limitation are the 10 points left after hb (10 points spent for migitation alrdy). DRM is nice for perma obliterating (usefulnees here is limited though - doesnt matter if its a death rune, when on cd u cant use it, whereas u will use any free frost and uholy runes for Obli anyway), morbidity and epidemic depend on personal preference and glyph choice, 2H spec does some more dmg, and having more crit is always nice. Tbh its a tough call what to take, which makes me dislike frost. HB and FS should be swapped in tree, that would open up possibilities for some nice builds.
blah, blah, etc... same as above. Personally id take 10/10/51 or 15/5/51 - 10%more shadow dmg vs 5%crit or even 2 more points in unholy to spec it fully above 40points. With 5points in bladed armor + toughness + impurity, the increased shadow dmg (Black Ice) should be the final scaling, even if only for 6%
However, if one chooses too, u can look at trees from a different viewpoint, mainly the 36 migitation cd and the talents around 41-44 points. 2 possibilities following out of that would(/could/comment if myb) be
36/9/26 or 44/5/21 +1 Both builds should be aoe agro keepers, with the 1st being better at aoe agro, since it massively buffs DnD and Unholy Blight, and the 2nd better at tanking single mobs (it has boosted BB crit dmg). There are serious drawbacks at this builds; depends on what one takes, but u will definitely have too skip some abilities in blood to keep under the 44(45) maximum points. Personally, id loose rune tap. Sure its very nice, with glyph even more so (used during wampiric ftw), but u generally should get heals as tank so, .... well, i said there were drawbacks, u simply need to pick sth to sacrifice, as hard as the pick is.
For frost, i dont really see any good aoe agro build without HB. Myb, only myb 14/36/21 or 10/36/25 (2nd scenario has impurity beside UB).
Mting though should be easily handled with 18/43/5 +5. Beside 18s of IBF, u obtain spelldeflection, which is 45% now (and only truly usefull with high parry rating a.k.a. tanking gear, since we lost 10% parry), obliterate hits hard (20%glyph comes into consideration), u have improved frost presence (which is total crap imo), frigid deathplate (a migitation talent only for frost specs). With the 5 points, one could even take acclimation, which would be another thingy which makes u less squishy. With this spec, one gets all the possible dmg protection u can have with 71 points (correct me if im wrong) and even a sweet haste buff.
12% dmg reduction
3% melee miss
acclimation (they cancel themselves out to some extent, but having both should reduce spelldmg overall)
With glyph of disease, u can forget epidemic and even get 3points into veteran of the 3rd war.
Anyway, i didnt want to go against any tanking dogma and provoke flame. Merely wanted to throw some brainfood for discussion out there. It bores me that the concept of wow is based on pure specs to such an extent (41/30 locks dont count; look at 45-50 talent point in demo tree and kick them from raid, cause they dont have them). Raids are boring as mt will stay on boss, then for the 100th time the 2 nerubians will spawn at the same place, being taken to same place to die, etc...dps standing somewhere, pressing the rotation button ... what i want to say, is that situations and challenges dont change, tanks dont need to be allround specced and adjust to diff challenges, dps fail if they actually need to aquire a specific target or adjust to a random situation in a moments notice (voa & volazj ftw).
In any case, blizz, gief me multi-spec and free respecing, cause it hurts my tummy, and there are so many different possibilities out there. Pick the talents that suit u and try different stuff out, dont cheesecake-factory play wow.
Thanks for the input. I decided to swap some gems around and added some defense rating gems so that I could get rid of stoneskin gargoyle for swordshattering. The only thing I lost was about 400 HP but gained 5% more parry and another 1% dodge. As far as the spec, I'll stick with it for now and see how it continues to play out.