Speculation: Tanking Legendary

How many people found themselves a little disappointed when that patch note was released about the next legendary item only to find that it wasn’t a tanking item? And, as a point of fact, was about as far from a tanking item as you could get?

It was a hard blow to be sure.

We tanks haven’t really had the best of luck when it comes to rolling big on that legendary lottery.

Of all of the legendary quality items that have been released, there’s only been about one and a half legendary items that was a decent fit for the tanking role.

Back in the first raiding instance, Molten Core, there was the Thunderfury which was nearly the best tanking item present at the time due to it’s AoE proc that made tanking large groups a hell of a lot less nightmarish given the lack of a lot of the toolsets that we have access to today. Not that many tanks ended up getting a hold of that though given the fact that they had to pry it from the desperate grips of all of the melee DPS classes that could use a one handed sword.

The “half” was the Shadowmourne. This one only managed to eke by because death knight tanks were able to put the weapon to pretty good use but even still, as it only applied to one tanking class out of a potential four, we can’t really count it for much.

There was also the main hand version of the Illidari blades but let’s be honest, that wasn’t really an optimal tanking weapon without it’s paired proc so much as it was a big glowing status symbol of how much our guild at the time or lady luck loved us.

The announcement of the legendary rogue daggers was a bit of a blow because there was so much speculation right around the beginning of Cataclysm that centered on the fact that we’d finally land ourselves a legendary item geared towards tanking.

If we really stop and think about it, I think we can all admit to ourselves that we’ll be in for a long wait.

All of the legendary items have been weapons. The probably reason for this is that they’re the most prominent part of your gearset. It’s the most visible portion, more people will see it and recognize you have it and as such, more people will WANT to have one as well and will raid, server transfer, or reroll a brand new character to get it which means more time playing the game and more money in Blizzard’s pocket.

While sure, it’s well within their power to make a legendary tanking trinket, the only way people would see it is if they inspect you which makes it about as far from a visible symbol of “play this game more!” as you can get.

And as to making a legendary tanking weapon, there are other problems associated with that as well. Only two of the tanks use shields, we already just had a two handed axe, and druids use staves (hunter loot?).

The only reasonable way to make it work would be to provide a legendary item that changes what it is based on what class you play which means basically designing at least 3 items instead of just one.

So while nobody can blame you for hoping that there’ll be another raid before the expansion ends with a shiny tanking legendary inside, honestly, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Be happy with what you have and if you need to work off some pent up rage, I’m sure no one will mind if that rogue that just won his daggers died numerous times in suspicious circumstances on his first night that kept him far, far away from the top of the damage meters.


  1. Spare a thought for Feral Bears.

    Thunderfury might have been nice, and there was the DK tanking capability with Shadowmourne, but getting a tanking-capable Druid-usable weapon…

    Swing an’ a miss every time.

    I honestly was hoping that “small niche target” was Feral Bears, the red-headed stepchild of gear priorities.

  2. I think a cape would work. Make it look super-sexy (maybe spikey bits up around the shoulders, smoke/flames/et al spilling off it like an enchanted animation . . .) I say cape because whenever the subject of a tanking legendary is brought up it always runs into the wall of “which type of weapon should it be?” or “. . . but only two tanking classes use shields . . .” A cape would work because A) everyone wears capes and B) it can be displayed (unlike an amulet, trinket, ring) so everyone can bask in your glory as you bro it out in Ogrimmar (or that other city). I’ve seen this topic before and that’s the only solution I can come up with that wouldn’t piss off one of our brother tanking classes. Just my two cents.