Clearly in a world where tanks get hit more often, they would either need to be hit for less or get a lot more health. Traditionally tanks have had about twice as much health as their DPS counterparts after buffing. Sometimes it goes a bit higher, but usually not much. This is by design; this way heals for a tank can also heal non-tanks when they take raid damage without having some huge gulfs, and the heals are going to be (mostly) similarly effective. In other words, it's okay to do about 1/5th of the health in damage to a tank and also do 1/3rd of the possible health in damage to a DPS, since these are both around the same amount of damage.
So there are ramifications for tanks having significantly more health than they do now. But if you don't give the tanks more health, what do you do?
One option is to tone down the damage dealt to the tanks, as I mentioned previously. The problem with this is that the heals are still for the same amount. When a healer can heal for about 1/5th of the total health a tank has in basically one GCD, it's not particularly scary if that tank gets hit for 1/5th of their total health every GCD. That means one healer can basically keep up with the damage on a tank, and that's pretty boring from a healing perspective.
So if toning down the damage doesn't work, we'd have to up the stamina, right? Nope. The other option is to tone down the damage and tone down the healing done. If all heals did, say, half the healing they do now, tanks could still take less damage but would still require quite a bit of healing.
So let's go with that. We'll have healers healing for half as much (the Sunwell radiance aura part 2: mortal strike aura), tanks being hit for half as much, and tanks avoiding half as often as they did before. Now, it takes on average 8 hits to kill a tank. It also takes on average 10 GCDs worth of heals to heal a tank fully.
Is that fun? Maybe.
Is that scary? Does the tank run the risk of dying? I think so, yes. Why? Because healers aren't going to be able to catch up instantaneously in this system. They don't have to keep their tank topped off at all times, but they will need to keep heals going on them quite often. And while a GCD costs less than it did before, it still is pretty expensive. At the same time, you have the very real ability for some tank healers to actually heal big, efficient heals and spend some time doing it. It's no longer their most efficient heal that's quick.
But there's still a lack of risk, and there's no real reward for doing the 'right' heal. Which means we need one more variable: nerfing mana regen for healers. This really should be done; there needs to be a very concrete penalty between the healers that can manage their resources for a fight and the ones that can't. This is a dividing line, just like tanks and threat/mitigation is, and just like DPS and mobility is. It's not any more, but it should be. The benchmark for hard fights is that healers should basically be OOM at the very end of any fight, and if they messed up they'll be OOM earlier. This makes one GCD less important, but the overall performance of a fight moreso.
My wife brought up an interesting point as part of this - what the current healing model solves. Currently for tank healing the model is really simple: you assign 2 or more healers to heal the tank, and they all just spam heals on that tank in the most efficient, reasonable way they can. There's rarely coordination. There's little to no actual communication. It's just heal, heal, heal. In addition, the raid healers tend to throw heals on the tank too whenever they can - a hot, a pom, whatever. In addition to that, the tank healers do the same thing on the raid when they can.
Which means two things: coordination of healers is at a fairly big low, and (this is the important thing) healing can be made puggable. I hadn't realized this, but it's fairly true. In an environment where people are encouraged to spam heal the hell out of something, it doesn't matter if you have good communication and teamwork and rhythm. You just spam away. And because (for worse) healing is measured often by effective healing and meters, a lot of the time you're rewarded for this behavior.
So if the above things go in (and a bit more), you won't be able to spam heal; it's just not efficient enough. You won't be able to snipe other heals as well; you'll need to stick to your assignment, they'll need to stick to theirs, and you'll need to coordinate. But...that means that pug healers will be pretty disadvantaged. And that's true, but I think that's okay. That also likely makes me an elitist jerk, but so be it.
Let's first go to Shamad's comments:
You're getting into a world of chain reactions if you want to touch the current chances of tanks being 2shotted...lowering avoidance doesn't effect healing, other than to reduce overhealing(currently for paladins in the range of 70%). Now if you want to soften the blows from this, you've eliminated tank deaths completely and trivialized the content....Now you might reduce the amount tankhealers heal for. Except then they become redundant and you'd just have raidhealers heal everything. Unless you change how much raidhealers heal for. And now we're back to damage not being able to kill. And the content is trivialized.These are all good points (and he raised others that are good), but I think that this model can work. Why? At the very least, because this was essentially the model used in TBC. We had less avoidance at the start, and we had less damage intake coming in, and the heals that healers had were less as a percentage of the tank's health. Tank death was very real and very scary (especially with parry haste being a bigger deal, and especially with crushes existing). Very rarely did two damaging hits kill someone; at worst, it was something like Bloodboil, where multiple bloodboils damaging people killed people eventually as healers scrambled to heal too many people at once. Or a tank simply taking too much damage and the big heals not landing quite in time. Death was quite real - but a lot of times death was caused because a healer ran OOM or didn't get off a heal in time. That's a very different feel than 'people died because I didn't spam enough' . Basically, I think that right now the model is 'heal quickly or die'. I think the model can move to 'heal now and later or accumulated damage will put you too much in the hole and you'll die'.
Seleria commented as well, and I appreciate it:
Yeah, that's one of the big problems with the idea - that if you up stamina on tanks, does every tank class automatically become insane? Do Death Knights now become ridiculous beasts with a tank/pvp merge? Do ferals? Do warriors? I think that's a serious concern. I also think that the big problem is that you need all healers to be able to heal both raid and tanks as needed, and if you have the tools too different from each other, it won't really work out. If flash heal can't do both raid healing and tank healing, it makes it harder for a holy priest to tank heal if they're the ones assigned. If HoTs are best on tank healing, doesn't that make them insanely good on raid healing? Like I said above - tank health and raid health have to be within a reasonable percentage of each other, or the healing just gets too odd and bifurcated.
That being said... Patchwerk remains one of my most exciting bosses to heal. Maybe I'm crazy, but I spend Patchwerk spamming my heart out on my healing assignment (an OT most of the time). There's no moving around in the fight, there's no guesswork as to who in the raid is going to take damage. It's a pretty boring healing assignment, but it's one of my favorite fights to heal.
What Blizz, however, has taken from "healing is boring"... is "let's send damage everywhere! Woohoo!" There's more raid healing than ever. Let's say you have 7 healers (that's what we run in Ulduar) 4-5 of ours are generally on raid and 2-3 on tanks depending on the fight obviously.
So with your suggestions I guess the end result as far as I can tell is "have tanks take more consistent but weaker hits." Which as you said... means there's less healing that HAS to be done. So you propose that healing gets weaker/regen gets weaker to correspond with these weaker hits... but the raid damage hasn't changed in your scenario. Sure, the tanks can avoid magic damage, but that doesn't do anything for the 22 other people in the raid....
On the other hand--what if you kept the damage the bosses are doing now the same, kept healers the same, but increased the health of the tanks. Keeping your block solution idea, you'd still not be running into "2 hits and you're done," but healing doesn't have to be completely screwed around with that way. Then you run into the pvp issue. No mage wants a prot warrior to wander into a BG and have 3-4 times the amount of health they do.
So basically, I'd argue that all damage would need to be nerfed, all healing would be nerfed, and all regen would be nerfed. That's how big a change this would be.
I wanted to bring this one up specifically:
So I guess the dilemma I see is keeping average health values around the same as they are now (let's say tanks with 40k health) and they're taking less damage overall, that starts to make tank damage on the same order as raid damage so healing classes that are better suited to raid heal are suddenly the only class you want to have around--and homogenizing the healing classes even further probably wouldn't be a really good idea.That's a reasonable argument even if you do nerf all healing. However, I think that the tank healers would still have some quality in there. For starters, the big, slow heals can be used - and they're a lot more efficient than the raidwide heals tend to be. They're not good for speed or throughput, but for mana efficiency they're awesome. And in a world where healers can go OoM easily, that's where the tank healing niche will shine, I think - in being the efficient healer. Sure, the raid healer can heal the tank, but they'll go OoM a lot faster.
I guess in my world the raid healer would spend a decent amount of time Oo5R, and the tank healer wouldn't. And that's how you'd separate out the two.
Finally, Yi brought up the elephant in the room (and this goes for healing as well):
Tanking diversity is fun because it makes you shine in certain situations. I would argue that the classes are balanced enough as it is; any class can tank any fight in Ulduar if they choose(how painful it is on the healers is another matter altogether--but then again, weren't they complaining about being bored). But certain classes will stand out, like warriors on the screaming mimi or bears on Ignis. Further homogenization, I fear, would come at the expense of non-standard tank class popularity and the "gasp" factor when you do some amazing, class-specific thing.I really, truly agree. I think that class/spec homogenization really is starting to hurt things, and having more things like this will only be worse. I like the idea of block tanks trading block for avoidance, I like the idea that tank damage is less per hit than it is now, but I also long for the days that you wanted specifically a druid to tank a certain boss, or a paladin for another - because of their specific, unique mechanics. I kind of miss paladins rolling on specific odd pieces of gear and not wanting that tanking weapon because it had no spellpower. I miss druids and their big armor and that being an advantage. If "flavor" of a class really just means how it looks when it does things but all capabilities are the same, why really have that flavor?
I've suggested several times ways that Blizzard can retain tank balance while giving tank niches, but I don't think they'll do this until a large chunk of their populace express dissatisfaction in it. I've thought that healers should have a similar set of niches, and they're closer to it - but even then, they're becoming more and more homogenized. Really, above all I want them to force tanking niches as part of raiding; that you must cover certain tanking niches in 25-man or you will have a detrimental raid. This is fine for DPS and healing; why not tanking? But time will tell, I suppose.