From Misery, the PvP gear debate comes up again, its a fairly simple debate, PvE is a scripted environment, the boss does what you expect him / her to and you learn the encounter, if you can bypass the environmental hazards, survive the boss's special abilities and beat the DPS / Healing requirements you win, PvP is a fluid environment, however there are no environmental hazards, and there are no special abilities that can be used that cannot be acquired by your arena or battleground group, you just need to worry about an opponent that can react to your actions, and ignores your threat. In return PvE offers a static set of gear, you need to physically gear up and move through raid instances (or skip parts of them using the badge of justice gear, but that is something for later), to acquire Tier 6 gear you need to physically kill Tier 6 bosses, PvP on the other hand has gear rotations, seasons move through and the gear level goes up along with its rating requirements. Clearly the rotation is needed to really keep interest in PvP at this stage, arena rewards are designed to move and to allow you to compete the older gear becomes cheaper and more available.

This rotation of gear level is interesting, since it puts high end weapons and gear in the hands of people who would not otherwise achieve this level of gear, or rather it distorts the low end of DPS and Healing gearing because of the high stat level outweighing the losses associated with PvE gear (hit rating etc), why use the Blade of the Archmage, when you can grind for the Season 2 weapon in Battlegrounds, its simply a huge improvement. This distortion is somewhat carried through by the badge of justice equipment, though that is arguably more fair since it requires some form of achievement to acquire (clearing heroics... ok for a lot of people now that is actually like losing 10 arena matches a week, but not for all), and it doesn't really scale. The 2.4 upgrades for a Paladin are in general worse than the 2.3 upgrades, that is despite a similar I-level increase compared to the actual optimisation and quality isn't the same as the upgrade between seasons in arena. This imbalance is interesting since it would have been assumed that the badge of justice gear would have scaled similarly and indeed could have a "personal rating requirement" added to it in the form of the Tier X tokens, to get the T6 equivalent gear you need 1 metric ton of badges and a Tier token for each piece. Instead the badge of justice gear is unrated, that is anyone with sufficient time and skill to complete heroics, dailies or Karazhan can get the best gear in slot pre-T6 in many cases.

So, having successfully complained that arena is unfair because you can lose 10 games a week to get great gear, and then admitted that at least for me, heroics are pretty much the same thing, you have to wonder why I really worry. I suppose there are a few reasons, firstly the badge of justice gear isn't scaling and optimised, there isn't a new set every season as our "war" progresses, I can't upgrade my gear every few months through badges, and secondly is that there is no tanking gear in the arena gear (actually this is a lie, there is a shield and a weapon that are great simply because of the huge primary stats on them). In retrospect this might be obvious, why offer tanking gear through arena and battlegrounds when you cannot tank in these situations. Yup, thats the third complaint, Warcraft and most MMORPGs are based on the abstract concept of "threat", that is the heavily armoured low damage class is capable of acquiring and holding the interest of the target while high damage low armour classes deal damage and heal. This is in the majority of cases simply to make an MMORPG easier to maintain on the server side as the exact position of each avatar is pretty irrelevant provided its close as the only collision detection is between the environment and the player, which can be handled client side rather than between players (where the server would need to arbitrate). As a benefit removing true collision detection also helps stop people simply being annoying, they can't form a shield wall around a vendor, nor can they lock you in a corner, you always have freedom of movement.

In a collision detected environment it would be possible for threat to be replaced, with the monster targeting the highest threat target (as a reasonable player decision would) with Tanking classes being responsible for intervening and standing / blocking the enemy from advancing (note, this makes movement a lot more complex, suddenly a slight move from healer could cause the enemy to move past the tanks, in short, it would be a potential nightmare to implement). So PvP has no tanking, because it has no collision detection and no threat, that is to say that there is no way a tank can maintain "aggro" on an opponent without dealing the most damage or being a threat, however the majority of tanks are not high DPS since they trade this for TPS and survivability. This means that tanking is simply not currently viable in PvP, it doesn't matter what people say about techniques you can learn in PvP, your tanks already have to maintain situational awareness (every environmental hazard and player / npc is a potential puller, every enemy a potential target), they need to maintain their movement, and make good use of their abilities, in short, without some way to tank in PvP tanks don't get a lot from the experience other than feeling kind of lame.

Going back to what I said previously, PvP should offer something to all classes, and indeed to all specs as it is an interesting mechanism for playing, a fluid environment without the scripting to allow you to judge beyond knowing roughly the style and abilities of the other classes and how they interact. Realistically tanking in PvP is hard, as a tank I love meeting a rogue or warrior, limited melee classes I can actually deal with, I might not be the biggest threat to them and thus fail in tanking, but I stand a chance against them, against casters however I might as well start the graveyard run early, because there is no way I can survive. Other than the lack of a threat / blocking mechanic this is the major issue, for a Warrior or rogue their are solutons vs casters, for a Paladin tank there is a slow death.

I am not sure how you can really fix this, in many ways the solution to "tanks" in battlegrounds would appear to be adding a threat / blocking mechanic, or allowing armour to affect spell damage in the same way it does physical (a talent in the tanking trees to convert armour to DR for spells?), meaning there isn't just the caster = death mechanic, but rather that our low damage may actually wear them down before they do us. Of course this appears to be problematic, I hear complaints about locks, and about the rogues that stunlock the lock, or fury warriors that never let a caster get off a spell, the problem with PvP is those of us who don't have these mechanics, and don't have the raw dps to blow through an opponent. I don't play a tank because I want to do immense damage, nor do I believe we should be unkillable, but at the very least we should have some way to win without resorting to respeccing...