Shadows are currently the most survivable tank in the game, high levels of mitigation coupled with 250-300 HPS in self heals is considerable in nearly all the fights and makes shadows require the least healing of all the tanks.
I have to disagree. Shadows/Assassins take overall, the least amount of total damage, because of their defense and cooldowns they get hit less often, which equates to less damage taken overall through the course of a fight. However, when a shadow DOES get hit, he gets hit for MORE than when a Guardian or Vanguard gets hit, so the spike damage is a lot more, and therefore Shadows require more attentive healing than a Vanguard or Guardian. (Also, jump into a big trash mob sometime, and watch your Kinetic/Dark Charges get used up before the ability to reapply comes off cooldown.... oh boy, it hurts!)
...on the downside shadows require a bit more experience to heal in order to anticipate their spiking.
That statement (is correct) and kind of disproves everything you said immediately before it.
guardians have a large number of powerful cooldowns at their disposaland when they are played correctly are *arguably* the best tanks, the guardian is the second most survivable tanking AC. Guardians are also *arguably* the most difficult to play properly and require alot of skillto use efficiently.
I'd agree with most of that, except I think, right now, Guardians are the most survivable tank. They have a ton of cooldowns, heavy armor mitigation, and none of the spiky problems that Shadows have.
vanguards are the smoothest tanks in terms of spikyness, but are the least survivable. they are by far the easiest tank to use effectively.
Having both a Vanguard and Assassin tank... in about the same level of gear (mix of 69s/72s, stat'd for mitigation over endurance).... I would say their survivability is about the same quite honestly, but the Vanguard is easier to heal because there are no surprises with spike damage.
In 2.0 shadows become even more survivable, vanguards become must more usefull in active mitigation, and guardians seem to be lagging behind.
Actually, with 2.0...... Shadows became LESS survivable, and Guardians became arguably the FoTM tank.
So my personal preference is a shadow, but there is no clear best tank all tanks are good at everything and id have to say tanking is probably the most balanced thing in this game
The key word up there is "personal preference"..... This game is a GAME, and games are about having fun. So to the OP, I would spend less time worrying about which tank is the "best" and spend more time trying to figure out what about each of the 3 tank classes has the most that appeals to YOU. The more you enjoy playing the character, the better you will be at it, and the more fun you will have.