General aoe damage capacity is generally strong, making it one of the easier specs to do certain quests with, and it can handle up to mid-level end game pretty easily. It is my go-to spec for my Druids unless I’m queueing for DPS in an instance I’m unfamiliar with or someone asks for healing help.
Not entirely. In Warcraft 3, Druids of the Claw had the highest armor of any regular melee unit in the game, and were generally became sacks of health with Vanilla WoW due to a general lack of mitigation options, such as Parry or Block. We don’t have the highest HP of Tank classes any more, being only mid-range, when I have a similarly equipped Blood DK having about 20% more health than I do, that should be addressed, especially when we lack mitigation options that Blood DKs have.
Lack of option to specifically counter magical damage. We only have a universal mitigation, such as Barkskin. Skull Bash doesn’t work often enough to provide a potential counter, either.
Speaking of Barkskin, it and Survival Instincts do the same thing, but at different levels and different timers. It might work to allow Survival Instincts to take on the role of magical protection specifically and adjusted accordingly.
There are others, but I think that it would be more that Guardian form tends to be less interesting due to a largely more simple ability set up.
Right now, the pattern of skill arrivals has our counter-spells coming at a very late stage of the game. Skull Bash comes in at 70 and Solar Beam comes in at 80. Paladins get Rebuke at 35, Warriors at 24, for example. I put this under minor because Shadowlands will be changing that aspect, and once you get to “current” content, all of a class’s skills will be complete.
There are other minor issues, but they can go elsewhere or are more reliant on tuning by someone who isn’t afraid to have Bears lead a charge in to a Raid.
The Affinity Talents have the most potential, but seem to backfire terribly. They help bring us back to our swiss-army knife days, but do so quite horribly when compared to what they could do. The spells and attacks are generally useless while tanking, as shifting out leaves us vulnerable, so we use them for their passive affects, which leave Balance only showing use in situations like the Mage Tower.
Generally easy. It is a great spec to learn to tank with and players have most of the tools they need to handle content up to mid level quite handily. They just generally lack fun tools like Monk warping and Death Knight’s Death Grip which can make certain encounters much easier.
Very little, actually. I might actually use Maul more or less often depending on the rate of damage loss I’m experiencing at the time. Having Swipe as the filler is partly what makes this spec easier to play and have little difference between multi-target and single target experiences.
I rather miss the Rage of the Sleeper ability from the Claws of Ursoc. Getting a damage reduction which then reflects the damage back stronger was a fun and interesting ability to use on occasion, especially in fights against Elites, Rares, and Bosses. I know we lost it “recently”, but it was still quite memorable and I’m disappointed we didn’t see it back in the Talent Tree like a lot of other Artifact powers.
Impact of abilities often seem a little low and not very spectacular, though I find Frenzied Regeneration to be better healing than all but the Paladin’s.
As noted before, Guardian form is probably the easiest, least complex of the tanks in the game. Of course, that lack of complexity can be considered rather boring to some players.
I enjoy playing the Guardian class, and is one of the 3 tanking specs I enjoy playing even in regular questing environments, the others being Brewmaster and Paladin Protection. Blood I sometimes do in questing environments, but I do enjoy Unholy a little more. I can tank with Vengeance, but Havok is a lot more fun when playing Demon Hunters. I found tanking with Warriors to be less enjoyable as of 8.1.