I'd like to see a fifth armor slot for the shield. Whether the shield shows on the left side or not, I don't mind. I guess losing some visibility would be a realistic trade-off for the extra protection.
If it turns out that the shield is added, and it can be held in the left hand while you swing your sword in the other, I vote that sneaking swings the shield forward to obscure most of your view, but while you have it there all damage from the front is converted to wear on the shield.
That WOULD BE EPIC! Picture a row of soldiers, shields forward, glaring at you, sword held at the ready...
Shields are obsolete, since if you hold your right mouse button while having a sword, it reduces damage. But how about this: Your shield absorbs full damage from any attack which lands on it, but it should have a durability. Also, axes should do triple durability damage to shields. Aaaand no, no stone shields please.
So protection 4 enchants on diamond and blocking with a sword isn't enough?
AND I agree with this.
For that reason, here's what I propose:
Shields should /not/ reduce damage passively, but should block 90%-100% (whatever everyone else thinks is best) when blocking with right click. Because they block all or nearly all damage, shields have very low durability AND axes do triple durability damage; my specific suggestion for low durability is 60 for iron and 33 for wood (based on the tool durability table from the wiki, but downgraded). My reasoning for this is that Pencilshavings5 is absolutely correct about damage reduction with high-tier armor, but my alternative is a bit OP, all things considered. Balance is durability, in my opinion. Another player should be able to break a shield to even the odds if he has a mind to (and an axe to hack with).
Shield tiers should be reduced in amount to 2: wood shield and iron shield. With the crafting recipe you have, it makes iron shields /very/ expensive, another way that this idea is balanced. Up for consideration: wood shields burn if hit by fire aspect, flame, or any other fire source (lawlzelda64)?
All that having been said, I don't think that shields would work well at all without implementing this suggestion.
The only reason I would want shields in the game is if they reduced knockback and and damage, but less than armor. Armor does the work of shields already, so if you want to add them, make them do something other than defense stuff.
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Hey, if you want to make sure I saw what you said, quote me on it.
Ya. You hold right click to use the shield, but as you are holding the right click, you can also press left click to hit people with the shield. It will do 7 out of 20 damage. It will also immobilize them for two seconds. That is the optional part.