(the original article is avaliable here: http://www.tankingtor.com/2012/06/ov...omparison.html - and will be more frequently updated and contain cool pictures and usually better formatting )
One of the questions that I see getting asked the most is "What is the best tank?" - to which all tanks sigh and say the same thing. "There isn't a best tank, they're just different." Which is completely true - all "tank" ACs can do their jobs and tank. Each one is unique and personally I find them all interesting to play.
(note - these links will open the specific post, unfortunately they can't scroll to the proper place on this main thread)
What I think people really want to know is - what kind of tank would I be best at playing? Or which one would best fit the style of play I like? My goal here is to answer that for them by outlining what makes each tank unique, where they excel and where they fall short.
Please keep in mind that my opinions and comparison with Guardian tanks are based on the Defense tree. I know many people are loud advocates of the Vigilance Hybrid tanking build - personally, I don't like it and find the Defense tree more effective at tanking.
If you're more interested in reading about the actual playstyle and what kind of roles each tank fits in to (and less concerned with how they compare to eachother) skip down to the individual sections at the end.
Passive Mitigation -
This includes armor, resistance, shield and defense. Shield is scored lower because many boss fights completely bypass this mechanic. Armor is scored highest because it affects most types of attacks. All tank ACs have similar internal/elemental resistances.
Active Mitigation -
Generally this refers to defensive cooldowns or skills that affect how long a player survives.
Damage Smoothing -
This refers to the ability of the Tank to maintain a consistant level of damage rather than taking large spikes in damage.
DPS Ability -
How hard the tank hits
How easy it is to move around while still tanking and/or doing damage. Is is possible to maintain threat while having to be on the move.
The ability to affect an encounter and make it easier for a group to progress. This category contains things like Stuns/Mezzs/Snares.
How easy it is to contain or position mob groups for optimal tanking and/or AOE damage.
How much they bring to the table besides mitigation and damage. This can be a number of things, but will include things like stealth, CC (long or short) and other useful things not found elsewhere.
Single Target/AOE Threat -
The ability to maintain aggro (or hate) on single or multiple targets.
Snap Threat -
How easy it is to maintain aggro at the start of an encounter
Difficulty to Play -
This is a broad category and completely anecdotal. This includes number of keybinds to be effective, how much you have to watch your skills instead of the fight - how easy it is to understand and/or use your defensive cooldowns effectively. This also leans a bit toward what is easier to level as and how easy quests are in general to complete even at end game. Overall it's just my opinion on how much effort it takes to play each class effectively.