Q u o t e:
I play (amongst other classes) a hunter & this is the class I have raided for most of BC with. Obvious similarities aside I can't help but feel that Unholy is to DKs what BM was to Hunters - the superior spec for most situations.
The testing I've done has shown that Unholy does better DPS for levelling - better DPS for instancing, arguably more powerful in PvP, too. It has less healing capability than Blood certainly but DS does good enough for me that downtime is not an issue. Unholy gives exceptionally superior AoE DPS - primarily through talents like wandering plague - but this is the only class/spec (other than prot paladin) where I've noticed my DPS rise substantially if I deliberately pull more than 1 mob - and climb quite fast the more mobs are added.
I'll freely admit that I tend to min/max somewhat but unholy really does just seem much further ahead in just about every aspect of the game - so my questions are these:
Is there any outstanding benefit to speccing anything else other than an unholy?
Do other specs (primary focus either blood/frost) start to catch up to unholy at 80?
I'd like to note that I'm not asking or suggesting that unholy be nerfed & I understand that heart strike isn't doing the damage it should be. I'm just finding a moderate disparity between unholy in any situation (PvP/PvE instancing/soloing) and either other spec.
All valid concerns.
Unholy seems to have quite the monopoly still on most major aspects of the game. As far as tanking goes, it's quite clear that bone shield is technically superior to it's counter parts in just about every way possible, save for the possible exception of vampiric blood in pvp with a druid rolling hots on you constantly.
Unholy also seems to have the best abilities for scaling towards large encounters, as well as good single target threat (damage).
Unholy has access to AMZ, which now with it's new scaling mechanic, will probably be seen as the superior raid AOE magic damage mitigation tool when compared to acclimation, as acclimation no longer seems to stack with frost aura, and is too RNG-based for most to appreciate (self included).
Desecration fills the role of providing a very handy "frost trap on demand" for pvp scenarios, as well as keeping a tight leash on mobs, which again lends itself very well to multi-mob tanking and AOE scenarios.
I'm also troubled that a passive talent such as wandering plague can keep up with damage/threat scaling in multi-mob scenarios about as well as the damage frost DKs gain via speccing into howling blast, which is an active 1F1U ability. Clearly this means that howling blast should be doing more damage than it is, considering it costs so many runes to use effectively.
In addition, it seems that scourge strike is also the most spammable single-target big hitter any spec gets, as you can squeeze in 3 scourge strikes per rotation, thanks to epidemic rotations. Not only is it the most spammable, but scourge strike (thanks to all the synergies of the tree) is also the hardest hitting 1F1U ability any single tree gets. This fact requires the use of the cinderglacier rune forge, however.
To top all of this off, unholy also has virulence and unholy command, both of which seem as required for pvp as things like vile poisons, improved stings, and improved intercept (on live right now). Death grip is too good to not talent a lower cooldown, and our disease dependency screams getting virulence against 3 out of the 4 healers (which any team is almost surely to have at least one of). And again, let's not forget how valuable desecration is now that chains is dispelable.
TLDR version: Unholy has the best AOE damage/threat via mostly passive or easy-to-use abilities such as unholy blight (which is great for spreading Ebon Plague, which makes all the other AOE abilities scream in joys of synergy). Unholy also enjoys access to the best on-demand physical AND magical mitigation tools in the form of bone shield, magic suppression, and AMZ, in addition to our highest damage single target hitter. Unholy also enjoys the monopoly on some of our best pvp talents.