Well they just boosted most 1 handers and gave subtle nerfs to a lot of 2 handers. Still your points are valid... it is still a very 2 hand oriented game. I can see how from a beginners perspective it looks pretty crazy. The thing is there are counter points to a lot of what you raise here.
Take shields for instance; yes against multiple enemies you will probably get screwed. No, it doesn't make sense. But this isn't a realistic game. Things are the way they are for gameplay reasons, not realism. A shield can be a big advantage in a duel against one person because it allowed you to ignore feints and morphs. Against a group of people it still allows you to hold block against multiple people feinting and dragging. You just have to be prepared to drop block if you see someone about to kick. For that reason I suggest heater shield over kite shield if you're going to use one.
Likewise, a lot of the combat revolves around swing manipulation. You say mace is very slow, it can be but it's actually quite fast if used correctly, and the damage is not by any means bad, I think it is actually the hardest hitting of all the 1 handers, and it even out damages many 2 handers. It can 2 shot heavy armor because of being blunt. The stab used to be nightmarishly quick as well, though they did just slow that down in recent patch. But to do these things you have to understand drags and accels. I suggest looking those up on youtube if you want to get better.
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