I'm glad you decided to hang around. Believe me when I say that I know I can get unbelievably obnoxious at times; I've often wondered how it is that Pike has had the patience and understanding to continue reading me at times, as well. BRK also completely, silently disowned me a while back; he commented on my first entry, but then I never heard from him again, after that. He has periodic roll calls where he goes through the blogs he reads; I've never been mentioned in one of them.
It is a shame, because I learned pretty much everything I know about the class early on from his material. He is an exceptionally knowledgeable and intelligent Hunter, and I still admire him. Although he uses Beast Mastery himself, those who do so with intelligence, as Pike understands, have never been the target of my hostility.
Anyway, to reply to your assertion that Survival is as much about pure DPS as the other two trees. Although I wouldn't have always, at this point in the game, I do agree with you. Deterrence is gone, and our ability to gain %dodge from Agility is mostly gone with it. Hence, our mitigation has almost entirely gone with it.
I've been able to adapt to some extent, mainly by simply putting more points in Marks most of the time, but I grieve when I think of old timers like Mynithrosil, who actually played the offtank/healer bodyguard role a lot more intensely than I did, most of the time. The interesting thing is, he didn't just do it in 5 mans either, but also apparently did it in Sunwell. I on the other hand, always had the attitude that in raids, Surv was still DPS, but he found a way to make our smaller scale, defensive role work in a raid as well during TBC.
I have memories of a few occasions though when myself and a cloth wearer stood back to back and prevented a total wipe, and then I was able to use cables, or the cloth wearer was a Priest, a la this post. I miss those days, quite intensely at times, but I don't deceive myself. As much as I might miss them, they are gone, and most likely forever at this point.
Blizzard seem to want to make Survival our Arena tree at this point, which means that most of our primary old school talents are unlikely to make it through WoTLK intact, unfortunately. I've never been a fan of the Arena, and feel that it has done a lot of sociological damage to this game in other ways, so that does not make me very happy. I originally made this character primarily for PvP, but the old kind; battlegrounds, and fending off a Rogue who jumped on me out in Felwood or Desolace while levelling.