As the title says, i'm considering returning to wow.
I've had a little break from the game, but i've tried to keep some info updated, looking at the class changes and such, but i'm not 100% sure how they are on live.
Is frost dualwield still prefered? How is 2h looking? Have many highlevel dk's started using unholy instead of frost?
I have checked sites like Guildox for popular specs, but it doesn't seem like it has been fully updated yet.
Can anyone help me a bit?
How long have you been inactive? Frankly DKs are fine on all fronts IMO. Sims show us being pretty low on PvE DPS for all 3 specs once you get to a heroic tier15 level but, so far nobody has confirmed the sim results anyway. From my limited experience we're still pumping out decent DPS.
2H and DW seem fine. Sims show DW slightly lower than 2H for single target but, once again it's not confirmed and everyone I've talked to seems happy with our damage. There are a lot of cleave-friendly fights this tier anyway so even if DW was slightly lower single target it's still going to rock in those AOE scenarios. Depending on how long you've been away from the game you might be unaware of the "masterfrost revamp" to DW.
Unholy has had some QoL changes and a couple of buffs - it seems competitive but if you never liked unholy in the first place then you likely still won't.
PvP is largely unchanged. Presences now keep your health % when switching... Strangulate is a 1min CD instead of 2 (with asphyxiate on a 30second CD to make it more desireable). Conversion and death siphon heal for more. Unholy players seem to be liking the new conversion anyway.
TL;DR - Not much has changed. All 3 specs are viable in PvE.
You're going to receive replies that talk about "best" and and "sims" data. I advise you to ignore that, as a returning player. Calculating best within a friendly and unrealistic program is the easiest way to deplete your sanity meter.
Frost DW will net you more AoE and magic-based damage by a significant amount when compared to 2h frost, especially when the standard is to spec for mastery and increase frost damage to incredible amounts. Frost strike and howling blast will decimate groups and cleave situations.
2H frost will obviously net far more single-target damage at the expense of AoE damage capability, but those Obliterate crits are devastating. Haste tends to be the flavour, allowing faster rune regeneration and more chances to proc an obliterate crit.
As you can see, they both shine in different areas and in all practical applications come out rather evenly. I'd advise picking the style you enjoy the most, visually, or the style you have the easiest access to weaponry for.
Unholy still brings significant damage to a fight, and is still the situational/control king for PvP. The damage in raids and heroics is respectable, but I've found (again, practically) the damage application to require more ramp-up time than frost. With the way some groups pull in heroics/raid trash, you won't even have your ghoul transformed before it's time for a new pull. Obviously this means Patchwerk is your ideal situation. That doesn't mean it's impossible to crank out short-term damage, however, and if you like the style of Unholy (pet control, diseases, utility) then it certainly still works well for most activities you'll encounter.
I am one of those guys that understands there is a small percentage gap between the specs that is small enough to all into the RNG category of damage done. I think your best bet would be to run dual spec and use DW frost and Unholy as they can both make use of the same stat weights, and then use the spec for the fight. Generally fights with adds that die quickly you will want frost. Fights with prolonged adds or movement unholy will do better. On single target I prefer unholy because the rotation is smoother, but some people like the frost playstyle more.
Honestly though, they are all so close that you can just pick what you like best and it will be fine.
For Frost PvE at least, your best bet will likely be to choose either DW or 2H based on the best weapon you can find. As stated, DW Frost is currently played at it's best single target damage using the "Masterfrost" style (Prioritizing Howling Blast above Obliterate), which of course means any extra enemies you can hit just racks up your damage even more. And most of the 5.2 raid bosses favor the frost quick burst and cleaving capabilities. The biggest change you will find are in the new talent system. DKs have retained most of their abilities previous to Mists of Pandaria, and many of our previous talents or abilities are now available to all specs in the form of the new talent trees. There are only a few new abilities for you to learn... One of which is Soul Reaper, the DK version of Execute. I can't say much for PvP though, as I haven't touched it since Cata - Only because I'm having too much fun doing PvE right now
No... DW is mastery>haste>crit
unholy is haste(to 8kish)>crit>mastery
If anything just dual spec 2h frost and unholy, gem for strength and go for haste>crit>mastery then swap between the 2. I can't be arsed with that, always have a blood off spec for soloing :-P
Notice I said they can both make use of the same stat weights. Meaning that unholy is not totally gimped by going mastery/haste. It is still up in the air as far as I know on the stat weights with recent changes, but I think most unholy players just go to a certain haste plateau to just get a smooth rotation and then mastery is pretty even with haste.
Probably though you are correct in that 2H/Unholy is easier with str gemming as it benefits both very nicely.
For me the simple solution out of the gates is choose the spec based on what weapons you have access to. Most likely you will have a 2H of at least 463ilvl before you get your hands on 2 1H of at least 463ilvl. Not to mention, a 2H weapon allows you to play all 3 specs (blood, frost, unholy) if you want to. And once you are able to get your hands on at least 476ilvl LFR 1H weapons, then I would try going with DW Frost to see if you like it. A decent 2H will give you more flexibility until you decide what playstyle you like the best.
The only stats you should really be worried about out of the gates is getting both hit/exp to 7.5%, everything else don't worry about until you start getting at least LFR gear as you will be changing gear out too fast to worry about min/maxing. By that point, hopefully you will know what playstyle you prefer (i.e. 2H frost, DW Frost or Unholy) and then you can start to gear toward the stats that benefit your spec more.