Over the last course of the last fourteen months of Wrath of the Lich King, I had pet-tanked a grand total of zero level 80 heroics. Zero. Every time I tell someone this they say “That can’t possibly be right, did you tank X?” and I must tell them no, I did not. I did a bunch of heroics at 70, right after tenacity pets came out, and I tanked a handful of 5-mans while leveling to 80, but once I hit 80 Bubbles when into the stable and only came back out at raid time. It seems strange, but there’s reasoning to the madness.
Once I got to 80, PvP gear composed about half of my pet tanking set. When you’re trying to stay competitive in arena, you can’t be running around with Austere Earthsiege Diamonds in your helm. With all the gems and enchants, it would have cost 1-2k gold to make everything tanking appropriate and to then redo it for PvP afterward.
The second issue was about how pets scale in a raid environment. Pets receive more benefit through buffs than a normal player does via scaling from the hunter. Because of this, I was afraid that what was a moderate difference between a traditional tank and a pet tank in a raid setting would be a huge different in a heroic setting. If my heroic run ended up being a wipefest, I’d see my opportunity to tank raids fly out the window.
I finally decided today to take the opportunity of this two week break between arena seasons to tank my first WotLK heroic. I grabbed the croc I leveled for testing last week, replaced my Bright Dragon’s Eyes with Solid ones, grabbed my four others and queued for a random heroic. After thanking god we didn’t get handed Halls of Reflection as our random, we proceeded to clear Violet Hold in short order virtually without incident.
What should we take from this? Don’t let yourself be intimidated by these heroics. If you have Furious Gladiator or T9 from badges, you can probably throw some AP and stamina gems in there as needed, grab your buff scrolls and drums, and put together a heroic of almost any composition and find success. In fact, there’s no time like the present; if your guild is anything like mine, there’s always four or five DPS sitting around looking for a tank to make their daily LFG queue to pop instantly, take that as your opportunity start your new tanking career.