I love being where the action is, and being fully engaged with the Boss. I come from a long background of single player games. In those games it's always your character fighting the Boss: Kyle Katarn versus Jerec, Revan versus Malak, The Exile versus Darth Traya. Even in Baldur's Gate, it's your party versus Saverok, you are in control of each party member. It's always you (the player) against the boss. Only tanks in World of Warcraft have that experience. Healers are furthest from the action, with their sole focus on the tank and their allies. DPS engages the Boss, but only Tank trades blows with him.
My most recent experience of the joys of Tanking was on Heroic Northrend Beasts. Dreadscale submerged, and started heading towards the raid. The Ranged DPS and Healers scattered, but I was the guy running IN while everyone else was running out. That is, in a nutshell, what I love about tanking.
I've got to admit I've got a thing for Shields. They are the best looking pieces of armor in the game and tank shields are the best of the shields. It's the shield that just screams tank. For me this goes back to the Aldori Legacy Defender. I'm sure for others they can go back even further. You saw a guy with an ALD, or nowadays with a Boreal Guard, or an Aegis of the Coliseum, you know he's a tank. Have you seen the Ice Crown shields on MMO-Champion? Beautiful, just beautiful.
Impact on Group Success
As the tank I have a direct impact on the group’s success. Now I will be first to tell you that I need my team. I'm not some rock star here. I wouldn't last 5 seconds without my healers, and we'd never beat an enrage without our stellar DPS. The guys I play with are all excellent players, and I'm honored to be part of their team.
By being the tank, it matters that I know the strategies, and tactics of the boss. It matters that I fully enchant and gem my gear out to the 9s. I have the ability to carry a less geared team through a heroic 5 man.
Tanks are really unique. There aren't many people who wear the gear I wear, or even want it. We care about stats others don't want any part of. You might have to contend with maybe 1 or 2 other people on a Tanking neck, over half the raid will go after a spell power neck.
Not all a bed of roses
Basically, tanking rocks. But that's not to say there aren't issues with it. Having a direct impact on the groups success, can mean some really high stress nights. The entire raid depends on you doing the right thing at the right moment or the whole raid wipes. That kind of pressure can weigh on you after a while.
But probably my least favorite thing about tanking, and thankfully something I only encounter in VoA25 Pugs, is the whole politics of tanking. Basically who is tanking what. If you are a healer, you are going to get assigned a Tank or the raid, but you can stray outside your assignment a little and as long as you don't go OOM no one will care. DPS knows they are going to be DPSing. Tanks don't know if they are going to be tanking. Part of this is how few tanks you need (generally 1-2 regardless if it's a 10 or 25 man), and other part is that if you go outside your assignment you are going to cause issues, drama and maybe even a wipe. Because tanking is so cool, you have many more tank capable players in a raid than you need tanks. Somebody is going to get asked to spec DPS.
Thankfully, this isn’t an issue in our raids. Boston does a fantastic job of rotating tanks through, and he puts us in positions where we can thrive and makes sure everyone gets some quality time with the Boss.