Done a rather large number of heroics with druid solohealers, and we have a protection paladin who does the heroics a fair bit as well, tough rarely in the same group as me since stacking tanks is not a good idea for most of them (tough it can work)
For a depressingly large number of fights druid solohealing is made much more viable by bringing a felhound along to deal with magical debuffs of death. Oh, and a Warlock to summon it >.-)
Goss, if you wouldn't mind, could you give me a little bit more detail of those runs? Usual group composition, gear used by you and the druid, etc. Thanks.
Paladin/Mage/Lock/Druid/Shadowpriest (optional, occasionally a 2nd mage or other dps).
My gear (http://www.ctprofiles.net/30606). Others are a mix of Kara and T3 gear (or crafted equivalents). Druid was quite well geared from Kara, having soaked up all the leather. While some heroic bosses hit pretty hard, I haven't encountered anything that really seems out of bounds for a paladin tank (I've tanked fairly far into Kara as well, but that seems increasingly common). To be fair, I have not tried heroic Morass or Arcatraz, so those may hold challenges I'm not yet capable of.
My only complaint is mobs with Fear. I can break 1 with PvP trinket (sacrificing an avoidance trinket), 1 with DS (this can be fairly sketchy), and I guess the blacksmithing trinket, though I haven't broken that thing out in awhile. After that, I'm out of options. This can get pretty frustrating, especially as its a pretty standard mechanic for a warrior tank. It also puts some bosses firmly out of reach for paladin tanks (Nightbane) without Fear ward, which obviously isn't available uniformly. Given how widespread the fear mechanic is, some repeatable method of fear breaking or prevention would be nice. I realize thats a pipe dream, just a pet peeve of mine.
Bah, people stress out too much about specs and class comps. Out of the people I frequently run heroics with, rarely do we have a cookie cutter group. With a lack of mages it's usually a rogue plus a hunter or warlock for CC. Solo healing as an elemental shaman was (respecced once again) definitely manageable in the easy to mid difficulty heroics. Hell, one of the best tanks we play with is a Tree of Life. Composition I'd rank a distant fourth behind skill, knowledge, and gear. As long as you nail the roles to be fulfilled, you can be successful with a ton of group compositions.
Going back to the original question of a prot paladin and a resto druid... can't say I've ever been there. But if a resto druid tanking and an elemental shaman healing can do heroics fine, surely you'd be in an even better situation.
I'd be more interested to hear people's experiences running heroics with warriors that have a hybrid dps/prot spec. I'm 42/5/14 and just getting around to being revered with a few factions, but I often get tells from random people on the server asking me if I'm prot and if i want t go to some heroic. I really don't like the pigeon holing this represents, so I wonder that if a prot paladin can tank a heroic, can a 'hybrid' warrior, too?
I've done all of the coilfang heroics with a MS warrior, with very little incident (im not sure how all of his points were allocated, but he also had piercing howl which came in very handy). Those are widely considered the easiest heroics, so take that as you wish.
With good crowd control, it really doesn't matter. There are probably a handful of pulls in each instance that really test the tanks gear/healers HPS output. There are several bosses where I tell the feral druid I usually run with to put on his DPS gear (bear DPS is broken), because the tank's mitigation/avoidance is that much of a non-issue, and DPS is king. There are quite a few heroics I have yet to do, though.
Mortal strike comes in handy on several encounters, also. If you don't regularly run with a rogue (who is smart enough to carry wound poison), having that MS debuff is definitely an asset.
(Still working on my Revered rep for Lower City/Sha'Tar)
...and not once felt gimped by my paladin-ness. In fact, the group I regularly run with are non-guildies who seek me out (rather than any warrior) because they see me as a "good tank". My mitigation is fine, I'm uncrittable, nearly uncrushable with Holy Shield up, sitting on almost 12k unbuffed HP, and the frontloaded threat I can put out is wonderful, plus the massive healing needed to keep tanks up on the really tough stuff on heroics means I'm never short of mana.
On the subject of the added value bought by hybrids: I can do stuff like spam heals on people if there's a moment in the fight where there's no mob on me, save the healer from double mindflays on Skyriss. Plus self-healing, even if you are being hit, results in better mitigation than NOT healing, in the event a healer goes down early... I've saved a fair few would-be wipes when a healer dies early. And the ability to bubble to clear any debuff is great on some bosses... that hydra in Underbog f'rinstance.
Here's a question. Since heroics are so variable in the nature of the challenges they present, is it possible that hybrids are more effective in this setting than core classes because of their versatility?
This has been more my feeling, although I haven't done all of the heroics yet. I (and much of my guild) believe that bringing 1.5 tanks and 1.5 healers to heroics makes life a lot easier. Since we have a lot of druids lately, and our paladins are on a lot, so far I've always had one available to shift roles as needed. My groups loved having the extra utility, especially during very large trash pulls, and bosses who damage all group members in some fashion.
Not to mention most of my Cenarion rep runs in Steamvault were in a group with 3 druids...
Holy Pally, Prot Pally, Shadow Priest, pvp spec MS/Deathwish warrior, Rogue. It was a lot of fun running Furnace with limited CC, coming up with weird strategies to handle the various pulls was great. I didn't run into any problems keeping our prot pally MT up until the felguards near the end. Normal crushing attack + the uppercut or whatever it is they do at the same time is brutal.
and.. today before going in and finally defeating the high king. (2nd raid night on him)
a very silly setup went into ramparts and crypts with the aim of laying paws on some plate that doesnt have "sucky" all over it..- Bear, Arms/fury, Full resto, Holy/Disc, hunter.
Somewhat more expensive than the usual heroic group in terms of repairs. but we won
We started doing Heroics when I was wearing full blues and a couple pieces of Karazhan gear (started that as soon as I hit 70 and got keyed).
Haven't had any issues anywhere, except of course for the Bog Lords at the end of Underbog where we had two people healing.
I have to say that the whole mindset driving the original assertion is horribly outdated.
Have only done 3 heroics so far, but my first 2 runs were pretty smooth - Prot paladin tank, Ret paladin healer (me), double shadow priest and frost mage. We did Auchenai Crypts and Sethekk Halls with this group, and the deathrate was pretty low.
(Better than some normal instance runs I've done)
Gear wise, I'm in mostly 70 blues, with quite a few pieces of L65~ pieces I haven't been able to replace yet. I was pretty happy that I was capable of keeping up with the healing requirements, though the shadow priests contributed quite a bit. (VE healing complements paladin single target healing, VE and VT make a huge impact on the longevity of a paladin without Illumination)
From that experience, I'd say that the specific class used doesn't matter too much - it's more the capabilities of the overall group. (Humanoid/Demon/Undead CC, Combat rezzes, stuns/fears, single target/AoE DPS, back up tank/healer, etc)