(Preface: I'm sure there are many posts regarding such issues, but I thought I would chime in with my own opinions/experience.)
With the Arena Weekend going on, I thought I would try out some Arena. I usually play adventure, but why not get the bonus goodies from the special promotion? Obviously, Arena centers on PvP combat. With that being the case, the finer details of PvP in Sea of Thieves become more apparent. I believe most players would agree that combat needs improvement, but I wanted to focus on one specific aspect of combat which, in my opinion, is in most dire need of developer attention: blocking.
At this point, blocking is essentially useless in PvP encounters. The area of effect for blocking is quite narrow, so the block must be well aimed. This is all well and good, except all an enemy player has to do is jump around and swing at your head or back to get around the block. Since players can essentially jump through other players, it is nearly impossible to continuously block a bouncy pirate. To make matters worse, I, a PC player, can only imagine how much harder it would be to block effectively with a controller.
Now, I recognize that this game is a balance between casual and competitive styles, and I am not a game developer. With those things in mind, I have a few basic ideas that could alleviate the blocking issues. These suggestions by no means are perfect, and they come with their own potential issues. The point of this post is to highlight the existence of an issue with blocking; my suggestions are but an addendum.
First, jump fatigue. This would prevent effective jump spamming, making it a less viable combat strategy. Of course, in non-combat situations this would be annoying, but perhaps there is a way to find a happy medium.
Second, increasing the area of effect for blocking. I am not quite sure the exact blocking area currently implemented, but it feels to be less than a 180 degree field. Perhaps, blocking could be changed to have a hemisphere of effect in front of the player.
Third, some sort of parry mechanic or block-caused-interrupt. Perhaps, a successful block could stop the enemies 3 hit sword swing combo, which would prevent sword spamming and make blocking a more effective strategy. Alternatively, an additional mechanic could be added to allow parrying. Maybe a well-timed block, or additional key press while blocking, could create a parry which would knock the attacking player back slightly (just like a blocked third sword swing), or set them off-balance, thereby allowing the blocker to get an attack in.
I don't have the perfect solution, but I think blocking (and jump spamming) definitely needs to be looked at immediately, followed by additional combat issues. Hopefully, we see some developer input and updates on the state of PvP combat, soon!