Thought I had forgot about this ey? Well I had actually. Ahem. Anyway, here is the final post on "wannabe tanks". The remaining classes (excluding the actual tank classes) are priest, rogue and mage, and as the games looks today I don't see a possibility for these classes to be actual lowbie tanks. This is simply because they have no sustained way to reduce their damage taken - shamans have shields (which I noted in my post about lowbie tank shamans will make all the difference), and warlock/hunters tank with their pets. But like I wrote in my first post, mages and rogues (can't think of any priest though) have tanked end-game material. A mage was generally used to tank one of the adds at Maulgar in Gruuls Lair, and rogues have avoidance tanked some raid bosses too. But that is under the right circumstances and against the right kind of mob. A "real" tank has to be ready to take on nearly whatever is thrown in his face, and the same goes with lowbie tanks. So let's look at how a hunter would go about tanking in lowbie instances.
Tankability: Approximately level 10-60ish
- Like the warlock, a hunter will tank with his pet. Unlike a warlock however, a hunter can choose more between different options to get as good a tank pet as possible. You could also throw a glance at what I wrote about pet tanking earlier. You'd might also want to see this post about pet flaws. There are two features of a tank pet to look out for - their ability to take alot of damage and their ability to generate alot (or at least sufficient) threat, just as with any tank really. There are plenty of pets out there that are better suited at tanking than others. On really low levels like below level 25 this doesn't matter much. But as you get higher in level this will be more and more important. Petopia has alot of info about pets, so that you can find one tailored to your liking, but in case you're one of the TLDR people, I'll give you the short version - turtles are great for taking damage and bears are great for generating threat.
The Tenacity pets have special talents to do some proper tanking, so try to look for one of these (turtles and bears belong to this group). They actually even have a real taunt, among other nice talents. Overall I strongly recommend a bear pet. Not only are they totally cool, but their easy in care since they eat just about any kind of food (turtles eat quite alot of different food too though). But the real reason you'd want a bear pet is because of their specialy - swipe. Turtles have Shell Shield which will reduce their damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds (1 min cd). Swipe is an instant attack that will swipe a number of mobs in a frontal cone (yes, it is still a frontal cone for pets although they changed it for druid bears). This skill was greatly inferior to Apes Thunderstomp, but then Blizzard made Thunderstomp a talent in the Tenacity tree and tadaa, you've got a pet that has swipe -and- thunderstomp! I've had my pet grab aggro of real tanks all the way up to level 80 (if that means that the tank sucked or not I don't know..) even without growl up. The swipe -thunderstomp combo is awesome.
EDIT 21/8-10: Another great tank pet is the Crocolisk. The Crocolisk has a skill called Bad Attitude which basically works like a Retaliation, in any direction. Whenever the Crocolisk gets hit, he retaliates for some damage, which is awesome for holding aggro on several mobs. Crocolisks can be found around level 10 in Barrens and around level 15 in Loch Modan.
Both turtles and bears can be found at level 15, the level where you can enter the lfg tool to do some tanking. However, bears can be found nearly everywhere, while a level 15 turtle only can be found in Ghostlands (they're actually level 12-13).
- Unlike warlocks and shamans, hunters don't tank well by themselves, since they have no way of reducing damage taken (warlocks have Sacrifice and shamans have shields). You'll get Feign Death at level 30, so after that getting threat on yourself shouldn't be that much of a problem. Also, the right hunter pet usually does alot more threat than the warlock voidwalker (and a shaman I'd say).
- With some clever usage of traps you've got some extra crowdcontrol which can come in handy. Distracting Shot works like a real taunt nowadays, but only onto yourself (it does not work with misdirect unfortunately, not that it matters since you won't get misdirect until level 70).
There is really only one kind of spec to use if you want to be a proper hunter tank, and that is beast mastery. Simply because since your pet will do all the tanking you'd want your pet to be as good as possible, only the beast mastery talent tree will do this. The survival tree could offer some interesting talents for improving your own possibilities to tank, but since you wouldn't do it as good as your pet anyway I suggest you leave it at phantasies. I can't give you any recommendations really since most talents in the beast mastery tree are good to take, but of course mostly those that either improve your pet per se, or improve skills that involve your pet (like improved Mend Pet).
Just as with warlocks, hunters pets are affected by the gear you wear. Not all stats are affected, it seems only Stamina, Attack Power, Spell Power (useless) and armor are. Unfortunately I don't know the exact convertion numbers (but it seems to be high, around 50%), but that still means that any of these stats you put on yourself will to some part get to your pet as well. Since agility won't be transferred you'd want to go for stamina, stamina and more stamina.
All in all hunter tanks and warlock tanks are quite alike, although like mentioned a hunter pet is generally way better at keeping aggro than a warlock pet. On the other hand, tanking hard hitting elites is probably easier as a demo lock than a hunter. But you won't have to do that much!