It is indeed much more about what you do with it, rather than quality of your tools.
I worked in a catering shop that did a large range of knives (House of Knives in Petone) when I was at school, so got to see the people buying the full sets of forged Wusthof for looks, as well as lots of actual cooking professionals. Best way to sell someone was to let them chop up some carrots with a good example of each knife type, and let them decide. We also supplied the local catering college, and made sure they got good knives rather than the shit they get palmed off on some others.
Also lots of demonstrating steels and sharpening. Steels is nice and easy, you are drawing the blade across the lines in a smooth cutting motion at a 20 degree angle (roughly a quarter of a right angle) with firm but not hard pressure. The "safe" way is to put a steel vertical point down on a chopping board, and cut down it, so you should not cut anyone. A steel "realigns" the fine edge of the blade, pushing it back into alignment. Sharpening is cutting a new fine edge. You can steel your blade on pretty much any hardish metal, I've used the spine of other knives before in a pinch (and steel worktops, palette knives, pan lids etc)
As far as sharp knives go, proper butchers are the fussiest. It's the literal profit margin. But short of the cleaver and cooks knife, pretty much all butchery knives are flexible. Hence tend to be steeled often and sharpened more than any other knife.
For kitchen work, either a light, narrow high grade stamped steel blade or a more weighty forged blade will suit, depending on your budget and feel. Handle comfort is important. I've had professionals swear by each, the lighter blades need to be steeled or sharpened more often, but are less tiring and cheaper. If you need a single large cooks knife (over 10") then you mainly need the length as leverage, so a $30 Victorinex is as useful as a $400 for splitting pumpkins.
My biggest problem with Wusthof is they started making rolled steel stuff that looks like their forged stuff. I've spent a few thousand hours in kitchens using a Wusthof as my workhorse, with Victorinex for my paring knives.
My last work knife was a 9" Classic that was about 5mm thinner from repeated sharpening, and so the bottom inch or two worked as a cleaver (with a wider edge ground on it), and the rest as a normal knife. I won it in a poker game, and traded it away for bag of weed. That was a proper cooks knife :)
As for not being able to tell the difference, I've always been the one with all the kitchen kit in flats, and after the "knife talk" (I have plenty of normal ones, so the few that I'll get mad if you break I'll highlight, and the others can be wrecked) the flatties will use them. And have strong preferences for the Wusthofs. And when flats have moved on, and we run into each other, they always mention that they missed having sharp knives.
Going back to selling them to people, if they are both sharp, you'll notice the difference with a forged knife over a non forged one. Not one that by itself justifies paying 5-10x the price, but there is. If you can't tell the difference, then either they are blunt, or they are rolled steel Wusthofs. In which case, then there isn't any real difference, apart from the handles.
Dishwashers blunt knives when they get knocked against other things, as well as all the other noted parts. In general, knives need sharpening after a bit of use. At home, the wear on the edge from the dishwasher (assuming it gets washed after making dinner for 4) is probably as much as it gets from cutting things. All in all, probably going to have sweet FA effect on the blade. Handles, maybe a different story. Wood sucks for dishwashers, but is less problematic if ignited.
In terms of bang for your buck, a rolled stainless steel cooks knife (german, french or chinese) with a handle that fits your paw, ditto for a paring knife, is perfect. For a knife that will outlast you, forged ftw. I swore I'd never get a forged paring knife (frippery! It'll get thrown away with the peelings!) but got given one as a gift and use it for everything.
As for high carbon knives, I can't think of anyone who sells them for cookware, other than handmade stuff. You want harder, more brittle for cutting. And if you wanted flexibility, you just make a massively cheaper rolled steel. They have a use (easy to resharpen, hard to snap), but they rust like buggery.
TL, DR: Get Wusthof Classic or Grand Prix forged knives if you can afford it. All good rolled steel knifes are basically equal. Handles are important. Dishwasher safe knives are fine in dishwasher.