Woah! Another thread about this topic?!
Put your pitchforks down people. I'm gonna keep this short and simple unlike many of the other threads I've read where people claim to be proposing a fix to PLD/WAR and end up going into some crazy detailed series of fixes and balance adjustments- many of which sound like a person letting their imagination run wild more than anything.
So what am I proposing as a fix to PLD, to make it viable as a main tank in many scenarios instead of being vastly inferior to WAR? Simple.
Give PLD an inherent global damage reduction of 15-20%.
Simple as that. Any and all incoming damage to PLD gets reduced by a % value, essentially like Sentinel, however it is a permanent effect. A trait would make sense. Even something as low as 10% can make a difference, but given PLD's low HP and other factors that put it well below WAR in tanking ability, I personally feel like a 15-20% reduction would balance it out further.
Feel free to stop here and reply. The idea is proposed and open to criticism. For those of you who wish to read more into the detailed thought behind this simple fix, you can go on:
Detailed Analysis behind the simple idea, why it makes sense and why it would work below:
Let's look at PLD's design. I actually like the ideas behind the skills it received, and the overall philosophy behind how it should tank. PLD, alongside defensive stats primarily gains healing magic potency and MP from gear.
Now let's look at 2 of PLD's skills that I think say so much about how PLD is meant to be played, by design:
Holy Succor: Restores HP of target. When cast on another player, you also heal 50% of the amount restored.
So we can deduce from the PLD AF that PLD is meant to be healing a whole lot... and what do you know! A PLD exclusive healing spell! Right off the bat, this spell tells us so much about the idea behind PLD. Sure, you can heal yourself with Holy Succor for ~1k, effectively making it a sort of PLD Cura, but when you heal another party member with it you not only heal them for ~1k but also yourself for ~500. More healing. More enmity. You are rewarded directly for healing a comrade. It goes without saying, PLD is expected to use this spell a lot.
Divine Veil: Cure and Cura spells cast on you by other players grant a healing over time effect to all party members within range. All physical attacks are blocked for the duration of the buff.
Another very informative skill. There are 2 very distinct reasons for a PLD to use this skill.
The first reason is that it increases your block rate to 100% for the 20 seconds that it's active. Couple this with Outmaneuver and you've got a stream of blocks that give you back some of that well-needed MP that's going to the repeated use of Holy Succor.
The second reason is Divine Regen- the HoT effect given to nearby party members when a WHM casts Cure/Cura on PLD. Yes, Divine Regen. It's not mutually exclusive with Regen, making it quite desirable for melee-range DDs in fights that involve AoEs. This alone can make fights that otherwise encourage avoiding melee-range DDs quite accessible by them.
Although not as important as the former 2 skills, it's worth mentioning Enhanced Cover (given an equipped Gallant Surcoat). It fits in with Divine Veil's 2 purposes quite well. By covering a party member, any damage they take as well as any damage you take both give you back some MP - the same rate as Sanguine Rite from what I can tell. More MP regen, more Holy Succor. Also, let's not ignore the fact that you're covering someone within 8 yalms from damage. Who's expected to be within 8 yalms? A melee-range DD.
Given those skills, it's quite obvious that a PLD is meant to act as another source of potent healing effects - so much so that the party would only need 1 WHM for the encounter. This, in turn, would open a slot for another DD which would more than make up for the deficit in damage dealing that a PLD has in comparison to a WAR.
Picture this engagement scenario and it all makes sense:
A PLD tanking a strong boss with persisting AoEs that would otherwise discourage melee DDs. A WHM standing just far out where it can be safe and also heal the PLD as well as the ranged DDs. With this setup the burden on the WHM is lightened as it can simply focus on the PLD's HP, which will not be as tough to manage with a global damage reduction of about 15-20%, and the ranged DD who for the most part remain safe anyway. The PLD in turn can use it's Holy Succor primarily on the melee-range DD, healing them for 1k HP each time, which can readily keep them alive when coupled with the Divine Regen it will be giving off every minute and Cover.
Sounds quite balanced and like it could fix overall class/job balance doesn't it? Like PLD can provide things as a tank that WAR can't. Then what's the problem with this picture? Why can't we do this now? It's because along with it's low HP, PLD is taking way too much damage. Anytime Holy Succor is up, PLD has to resort to using it to self-heal for 1k instead of spreading the heals. It can't self-sustain with the 500 HP it gets in return for healing a party member. This fact alone makes that whole pretty picture fall apart.
So SE, do what makes sense and give GLA/PLD a trait that straight up reduces incoming damage, physical or magical, by a static % enough to make it a viable defensive tank so much so that the party can bring 1 less WHM because of it. There's an Increased Defense III trait I can see being replaced by it quite easily.