I have personally little experience with Shields to know how much Block Chance and Block damage absorb damage compared to more traditional forms like Seal or Ascension. From what I’m hearing around the forums, though, it’s not nearly enough to counter the opportunity loss of not DW for full offense or the skill cooldown reduction of a caster off-hand. It’s nice that Shields are a good source of Physical resistance to those class combinations who don’t normally have it, but the item and skill mods on the shields are nowhere near effective enough to warrant using over other items.
I wanted to bring some discussion on that. First lets look at Shield affixes:
Eldritch - +2 to Summon Guardian: If you’re using a Shield, it’s going to be for either Retal or Aegis attackers, so I have no idea what granting +2 to this skill will accomplish.
Of the Glacier - +2 to Ring of Steel: Is it just me, or are points + to Ring of Steel everywhere, and there’s practically no use to this skill outside of Bleeding builds. Why would a Cold build need +Ring of Steel? Especially when you have “Of Shattering” which is better in every conceivable fashion?
Of the Hurricane - +2 to Static Strike: You’re giving up Shields or DW weapons that often give +1 to all Demo Skills for… +2 to Static Strike? This doesn’t make much sense.
Stormcharged: No resistances on a Shield item that’s known for resistances? Not even Lightning Retaliation for a prefix that has Chain Lightning on Block?
Wraithwarded: It gives some resistances, but if some prefixes have Attack Speed, why not give this one Cast Speed?
of Annihilation - +2 to Wendigo Totem: Is there any Green Shield where someone would want this suffix?
Of the Sage - +2 to Mortar Trap: Mortar Trap in general is extremely hard to get all the bonus points necessary to hardcap the skill line, so you’re not doing it with this excuse of a bonus, especially when you have an off-hand that does Mortar Trap better than any Shield would do.
Bane’Gargoth’s Shield - If you’re going to be focused on CD Forcewave, I would think the +3 to Flame Touched should be instead one of the Canister Bomb / Grenado / Ulzuin’s Chosen group and let people really get their Burn damage going.
Chillblood’s Carcass - Goes for Cold Bone Harvest but then has %Vitality damage? For a S&B Ritualist that likely has no Cold damage synergy between the two?
Obsidian Bulwark - Gives 20% Crit Damage to Blast Shield when the only non-offhand, non-2H Weapon that gives +duration to Blast Shield is… a Physical damage item. While this Shield gives Physical to Fire conversion… okay?
Wradlith’s Bulwark - Even on Normal, bosses have 100% Freeze resistance, so why would a Spellbreaker focus on a Shield when it could go DW and get all the nice Dual Blades bonuses?