My suggestion is that Minecraft combat is divided into three types of weapons - pointed, edged and blunt. Pointed weapons are weapons that are thrusted, such as tridents. Edged weapons are weapons that chop/slice/thrust, such as swords and axes. Blunt weapons inflict blunt trauma.
Basically Pointed weapons have a longer reach, Edged weapons have a higher attack speed, while Blunt weapons have higher damage. This way they all have advantages and disadvantages.
Pointed weapons - 5 block reach, medium attack speed, medium damage, chance to bypass shield
Edged weapons - 4 block reach, fast attack speed, low damage, crowd crontrol and chance to bleed opponent
Blunt weapons - 3 block reach, slow attack speed, high damage, deals extra knockback, a disorienting effect and/or slowness
Also, holding down will auto click. Manually clicking also works, but you need to wait for the cooldown. Manually clicking and holding down have the same cooldown.
Weapon recipes - spear, same recipe as shovel except you need a piece of flint, pointed weapon, can be thrown. Mace, same recipe as a shovel except you need a block of iron, blunt weapon. Cudgel, same as shovel except you need a log.
Edit 1: Existing Bean's suggestion about blunt weapons not stunning
Edit 2: BryleStyle's suggestion about blunt weapons giving opponent screen effect
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