My Death Knight is Blood Spec DPS. And he does a good job of it. (Recount+GearScore tell me so.) So when I join the Looking for Dungeon queues I do so as DPS.
I’ve enjoyed the instance running since I started it at level 72 or so. I’m now 80 and in Tier 9+. And I’ve run every dungeon, in Heroic Mode, through the Pit of Saron. (I’ve been to the Pit of Saron twice, and on the 2nd visit managed to free some slaves. 7/15 so far. I have to free them all, 15 at least, to complete the quest and move on to the final 5-man instance in the game, the Halls of Reflection. If I’m not mistaken.) That’s to say: I’ve been around the block with my Death Knight as DPS.
Now since I’m obviously one Death Knight in the group, and the LFD tool doesn’t tend to stack multiples of the same class on purpose, I’ve very rarely partied with a tanking Death Knight. (On an oddball run with my wife’s level 71 Death Knight, we found ourselves in the Nexus with 3 DPS Death Knights. I kid you not. There were more ghouls than you could shake a stick at.) But, again, I’ve not had any experience with partying with tanking Death Knights on my Death Knight. Once, in the Halls of Stone. He did pretty good and I was making mental notes of how it was done.
But Cenotaph has pretty much rounded out his kit now. You can’t accrue any meaningful amount of Badges of Frost running the daily random dungeon. 2 a day isn’t a lot. And I got my 50 and bought a cloak with it. To accrue enough to buy the full set of Tier 10 will take 1,234 days, or some such, and I’m not going to put myself through that. And with the gear I have I can see all 5-man content and I’ll have to content myself in picking up the best of the 5-man content offerings on a catch-as-catch-can basis. There *are* some upgrades yet and I look forward to getting my hands on them.
However, and the point of the topic, I am now running the random dungeons with my Level 80 Paladin. I PvPed him into a full set of Deadly Gladiator gear, with additional Titan Forged items and a PvP ring. He’s also got the crafted DPS gear (iLevel 200 helm & boots & titansteel destroyer) so his hit rating is heroics ready. And so I took him into some random heroics, as DPS, where, as luck would have it, in the few runs I’ve done, I’ve mostly had Death Knights tanking. They may look mean and have all the right plate in the right places, but dang, they sure do take a lot of damage while they’re tanking. One was dual wielding, the other two-handing it. The one with the two-hander did a better job of holding mobs and surviving the fights.
I’ve always maintained two sets of gear on my Paladin. DPS (3 sets actually, full PvE Hit, PvP Resilience) and a tanking set. (The tanking set includes iLevel 200 crafted helm, boots, and shield. I’ve got the tourney axe as well.) I’ve got 534 Defense in his tanking gear. So I’m 1 point short of what Heroics will need. Trouble is I haven’t tanked anything since the Headless Horseman last October. Queuing him as a Tank, I’d have seconds to wait till a group popped for me. (Not the 12-15 minutes required for DPS runs.) I’ve got the basics down. I’ve followed the recommended talent build. I’ve set up the 96969 sequence and spent a bit of time on a practice dummy getting the flow of it. (In Seal of Command my mana dropped like the gas gauge on a ’71 Plymouth Roadrunner. With Seal of Wisdom up it felt like I could continue the cycle forever.) Anyway, being a Paladin, my heart is not in DPSing, but tanking.
How do I handle a group when I start tanking for them? I’ve run every instance in heroic mode, as melee, so I’ve got the gist of what happens. As a test I went into normal Utgard Keep and tanked my way solo past the entry and the burners. I’m not some paper-thin strawman. Do I let them know “I’m new at this, bear with me.” ? If I offer to let them kick me, and they do, does my dungeon cooldown start or am I free to try again immediately? With 12 minute waits for DPS, I’d say the world needs more tanks. I have a tanking class, and from what I can tell, Paladin’s tanking make for the smoothest runs.
And I figure I’d better get used to tanking with my Paladin before I venture into Death Knight tanking ala dual wielding Frost. (That Rimefang’s Claw that dropped for us, which I won with a 100 greed roll (earning me “Greedy”) would be a shame to waste and should be a good compliment to the slow mace that I got in the Tournament of Champions.)
Alas, there’s no practice dummies for tanking. Only unwitting party mates that queue up and get stuck with you.