Okay guys, does anyone know of a guide for dk tanking? I'm currently level 58 with a blood spec and followed some guides on the tree, but I literally have no idea how to tank, i.e. rotation, general knowledge... so I was wondering if anyone could help me out? I don't want to go into my first dungeon looking like a total idiot.
If you have never been a tank, it is going to be tough for you. You will make a lot of mistakes. So here are some general guidelines for how to think during the fight:
1. Am I close to death? - if you are, you need some cooldowns and some serious mitigation. What do you have that isn't already on CD, and how can you bring yourself back up, or stall til the healer can get you up? For DKs, we have an awesome self heal through Death Strike, so be sure to pay attention to your Runes, and make sure you have an Unholy and a Frost rune on hand.
2. Do I have threat on everything? - if it is a multiple mob pull, you're going to want to make sure that you are the only one tanking anything. Use your AoE abilities for initial threat generation, and then Heart Strike with tab targeting to build lasting threat. Get an addon like Tidy Plates to check both mob position (if it is near your healer, it shouldn't be) and mob threat.
3. Positioning! - do you have the mobs close to you, facing away from the group (usually necessary to avoid mob cleaves and certain abilities) and there are none behind you? You never want mobs hitting you from the back because you have no mitigation for those hits, so you'll get crippled pretty fast. You want the mobs close to you (unless they are being CC'd because you want to make sure they aren't running around creating havoc). To avoid unnecessary damage from mob abilities, you usually want the mobs faced away from your group so that they aren't being hit with abilities that are meant for you.
4. Do you have any CC or CC'd targets? - before a pull, you want to know if you have a way of taking troublesome mobs out of the fight (like casters) because you don't want to take unnecessary damage if you don't have to. After the pull, you have to make sure that those mobs aren't being broken out of CC because you're too close and a cleave hit the sheep and now its casting at you (or your healer).
5. Are you responsible? - it is important to know when you caused a wipe and if it was someone else. If you did, you have to know what you did, and how the mechanic killed you or the healer. This is how you get your experience, and become a better tank faster; you have to know how you can avoid the thing you just died to or mitigate it with one of your CDs for the next time around, so that you aren't wiping for no good reason. If it was someone else, again, know what they did so you can explain to them what went wrong. It is also important because when you know what happened, you know whether or not you're tanking well. For a first time tank, people will call you a noob no matter what you do. But if you were not the source of the problem, it'll relieve some of the stress of thinking you might have been.
6. Are you using your CDs and abilities to the best of your ability? - initially this will be easy, as you'll have less abilities and CDs to work with. Death Strike, Heart Strike, Blood Boil, Icy Touch, Plague Strike, Pestilence, Death Grip and Bone Shield are the ones off the top of my head that come to mind. As you add abilities, make sure you're keeping track of what you have - you want to have as many CDs and abilities available to you as possible. You'll have time between getting new abilities to work them into your rotation - but read through the guide posted above my post - you want to know what to use so you aren't wasting your resources on what NOT to use.
That's all I have for now, but I'll edit this post if I have time later. Hope this helps.
In a way you have a advantage in the ability to aoe mobs and let damage tick on them through diseases..your heart strike will compound on that through cleaves (watch CC though) and then you self heal through death strike.
What I would suggest is the simple point of marking a skull to concentrate the dps on a single target..depending on how good/bad your group is at following advice will show quite quickly..over agro once and you taunt, over agro twice death grip..third time let the stupid soul die...harsh but can't mess about anymore.
Would also suggest you REALLY get to know the ground you fight on, understand your positioning and whats around you before you look at the mobs..very old school but LOS pulls are a godsend (LOS - Line of Sight in case you're unsure) i.e. pull a caster group, walk behind a corner or pillar and drop DnD on the ground and watch them run into it. Then disease and go.
I would also make a note of learning CC..know how they work (not only the whole 'Hey that mobs not hitting me..that's awesome' thing..) So for example what cc must go in first and will or will not start the fight (i.e. Trap and sap) In this way you know the opening beats of a fight. Nothing is worse than setting a sap target and pulling without seeing the sap hit (grumpy rogues = no blind/cheap shot to save you)
Triage taunts as well...sounds stupid but the 5k pally twonking the X and breaking cc is a lot less valuable than the 12k mage hitting the skull, resheeping and counterspelling - they are also a lot less squishy! Healers use cc to save mana and the tank's role is no different!
Other than that, read the guides and you will learn..one thing I will leave you with though is that fact that 99.9% of all groups fail because of a bad tank or bad healer - according to the dps. Shoulder that burden if it was your cock up that brought the wipe and remind yourself to never do it again...if it wasn't let it go...you're doing the job they aren't! If they offer advice listen, if they offer abuse go deaf.