If you want to add more strategy to combat, bring back the old blocking but in a new fashion. Instead of making the shield obsolete, make it so each sword could have the chance of blocking, you could crouch, and your sword looks as if it's blocking, but there is a percent chance that it would fail. Wood could have a 90% chance of failing, stone 85%, iron 80%, gold 70%, diamond 75%, and netherite 60%. This mechanic would add more fear and tension when your shield breaks and all your hope is on your sword to save you. It would encourage you to create a shield but not force you to need one entirely. It adds a new way of combat.
If you want it to be more tension-filled, then make it knock you back a few blocks; at least's say 4 to bring that shock when you realize your sword was destroyed by blocking. But it gives the player a short amount of time to run and a slight headstart since you were knocked back.
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