So Tart was nice enough to shoot me a copy of the blue post featuring Ghostcrawler's so called "Blood bomb" regarding DKs getting a legitimate tanking-only tree in Cataclysm. I wasn't totally surprised - I'd already been hearing rumors to that effect for a while, and when I actually sat down and thought about how Mastery worked it was pretty much the best way to do it, but I kept denying that I thought they'd actually do it since it betrays the original design of the class - but I still went through a range of emotions, starting with anger ("Damn it, Blizzard, I like tanking in Frost"), bargaining ("maybe we can get some fun new toys out of it"), depression ("maybe I should just level my shaman"), and finally acceptance (signified by going to Acherus and paying the 45g to respec into blood. Shut up, I respec a lot).
I was up way too late last night chatting with our heal lead while knocking out explorer achievements and turning in Darkmoon Decks and he mentioned it as being "growing pains." And I suppose, in a way, he's right. We've gone from overpowered to horribly broken to doing okay to where we are now. It was a neat idea - having a class that can do either of its roles in any of its trees - but in the end, every tree ended up being best at something anyway, and now that I've been in all 3 for an extended period of time (even rocking two tank specs at once for a while), I have to finally 'fess up that I agree with the decision because blood has been the most capable tree for quite some time now. And yes, I really did respec to blood.
However, I still have a wishlist of new toys. Game balance be damned, likeliness be damned, these are the things I would just like to see.
Equivalents of Demoralizing Shout and HAMMERRRRR OF THE RIGHTEOUS. We already know the Demo Shout equivalent is on its way - that was part of the initial post - but as a tanking talent, Dancing Rune Weapon is really only good if you need a threat boost, which no one does anymore thanks to Icy Dickpunch. On the other hand, Blood's AOE threat generation - at least for now - absolutely blows, unless you're willing to sacrifice talent points and a glyph slot to increase damage and reduce cooldown on Death and Decay and/or talent into glyphed Corpse Explosion (which I will freely admit is fun, there's just a lot of sacrifices I don't like making in order to get it in blood). Suggestion for Blizzard: Bloodbolt Whirl. (Only, you know, not doing tens of thousands of damage.)
I assume Rune Strike is going away thanks to the recent move away from on-next-swing abilities, but I could be wrong. I wouldn't mind seeing it stay; one of the things I liked most about my warrior was punching that Revenge button when it lit up (and I hear you guys got a buff to it or something). Plus, well, Rune Strike is the one chance I have as a tank to see big ol' crits. (You can take the DK out of the DPS, but you can't take the DPS out of the DK.) Alternately, some kind of reflective damage on parry or dodge would be handy.
While it's great as an oh-shit button or on fights where you need a lot of healing pronto, Vampiric Blood is not the kind of thing you would blow on trash. In Frost, I gleefully use Unbreakable Armor on trash and everything else. Some kind of equivalent like that for tanking would be fun, whether for survivability or threat. I have absolutely no idea what it would be. Heck, maybe it's just Unbreakable Armor.
Some kind of party utility. I think we can assume that Abomination's Might and Hysteria have about an equal chance at this point of staying in blood or going to unholy. I for one wouldn't mind some kind of unique buff, just deep enough in the Blood tree that DPSers won't regularly take it, that provides some kind of survival or threat benefit to our fellow raid members or to us. Think Blessing of Sanctuary or Vigilance, though obviously not those same effects. Maybe a blood link - Blood already does a lot of self-healing, so maybe the ability to pop a buff on the highest DPS in our raid and let their damage heal us, too. Nothing more than what Blood Presence provides naturally, but just enough to be something cool we can do.
An actual, real, true, honest-to-God stun. I mean, we're the only tanks without any stuns whatsoever at this point, assuming I'm counting my tank stuns correctly (Concussion Blow, Shockwave, Bash, Hammer of Justice, probably a few more - you get the idea). This doesn't even have to be something new - I'd be perfectly happy making Mind Freeze a baseline or talented stun.
I guess we'll have to see what they have in mind for us, but the more I think about the possibilities that a dedicated tanking tree offers, the happier I am. In the meantime, there's some discussion taking place in the Pwnwear forums on the upcoming changes, and Blizzard will be offering a more fleshed-out preview soon, so it's pretty much a "wait and see" (or "wait and gleefully anticipate") situation.