@Bloodhead:

Shields are a little less forgiving than just parrying, which is why I prefer to go without unless I know I’m going to be facing down a lot of archers (or even just one really good one).

For starters, shields don’t come up as quickly as a parry does, which means you have to respond a little more quickly to your opponent’s attacks. Also, you have to be very careful about facing the tip of your opponent’s weapon, moreso then when parrying (or at least so i find). I try to ignore my opponent’s head and torso and focus on his arms and his weapon (and to some extent his hips and feet).

This is impressive: EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE in this passage is absolutely wrong.

Shields are less forgiving - WRONG. It is easier to block with a shield. Shields don’t come up as quickly as parry does - WRONG, same speed. You have to be more careful about facing the tip of the weapon - WRONG, there is a little more room for error.

I don’t know what to tell you, except that this hasn’t been my experience. When I switch to a shield, I often take hits that I ordinarily wouldn’t because the shield feels less responsive than parrying. I can’t just tap RMB to block the way I can when parrying; I have to keep the shield up until the moment the attack hits. I also suffer blows where I swear I’m looking up high enough to block an overhead, yet I take damage anyway. I didn’t even get the point about the added stamina cost.

But I fully admit that I’m less experienced with shields, and I could just be imagining all this.