First of all, I'm not saying to bring back the old feature of sword blocking. I think the shield is good for that purpose.
What I want with this idea is to give the sword a specific function in combat. Right now, I see many Java players prefer axes for combat, because they do a lot more damage and can stun shields. Swords, while they may be faster and have a sweep attack, are just not strong enough. So, while the obvious solution would be to make the sword stronger, I want to take a different approach.
I think the axe should stay as a great offensive weapon, and the sword should become a great defensive weapon. It already has defensive qualities: the sword has the sweep attack to knock multiple entities away, it is faster than the axe, and it has a longer reach (in the combat tests). To really solidify the sword as a defensive weapon, I think we should give it a new ability: parrying. I'm thinking that with a timed right-click, you'll stop an attack's damage and knockback. This is similar to how swords can be used in real life, and I think it will work well in Minecraft, too.
The first comment I'm expecting is: "But how will that work with shields? You would not be able to use a shield." However, my thought is that if you have a shield and a sword in your hands, the shield will be prioritized.
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