Threat is important.
In actuality, generating sufficient and quick threat is your second most important task as a tank, arguably equal with the first.
It’s a toss-up really. A tank that can generate threat but can’t survive is just as useless as a tank that can survive, but can’t generate threat. For sake of argument though, we’ll leave it as a close second as while you’re alive, you can still conceivably do something while once you’re dead, all hope is lost.
Something that most tanks tend to forget after a long period of raiding is that they don’t always have access to multiple misdirects from hunters and tricks of the trades from rogues. A long enough straight period of tanking in raids and you forget just how fragile and ephemeral your start-up threat can be.
Start-up threat with the help of threat misdirection is like strolling along a moving walkway. You don’t realize just how much it helps you until you reach the end and stumble when you step off.
In the same way, I’d recommend that now and then, maybe on some farmed boss fights that you can afford to experiment on, ask your hunters and rogues to lay off and see how your straight threat compares to your raid’s current dps. You might be surprised with how quickly a lucky bursty combo can help them shoot over your threat (I’m looking at the destro warlocks and elemental shamans).
There are a lot of little things that you can do to make it a little easier on yourself though and lucky for you, I’m here to throw them your way. Keep in mind though, a lot of these little tips might be things that you already know but they’re small enough that they might be overlooked.
The most important being to make sure that your threat building rotation is spot on. Make sure that after your sunders are stacked, you’re prioritizing Shield Slams > Revenge > Devastate.
Another thing that you can do your best to control is your level of rage. Do your absolute best to ensure that you’re carrying some rage over from the previous fight whenever possible on trash so that you can front load all of your high threat abilities on the enemy right off the bat the second combat starts. Now this is obviously not something that you can always control especially on boss fights but you can maximize what rage you CAN get. Something like your Blood Rage shouldn’t really be used the second you pull the boss; instead, you would have just a little bit more rage to work with if you hit it about 6-8 seconds before you’d reach the boss, give the extra 10 rage time to build up, just enough for one more move assuming both you and the boss missed the first couple of hits.
The last thing is through talent and glyph choice. A spec including the Impale > Deep Wounds combo in the Arms tree will have an easier time with generating threat than one without due to the higher threat from special crits. Another great threat choice is the Devastate glyph, the one that applies two stacks of sunder armor instead of one with every Devastate.
It may not seem like all that much but with just that glyph and spamming Devastate and NOTHING else, you can easily hit up to 5-6k TPS, let alone what you can do when you throw in the rest of your rotation.
There are undoubtedly a lot more little ways to increase your snap threat generation and with the expansion coming up, you’ll likely want to find each and every one to handle those new dungeons.
Go forth and tank!