Have you tried any of the new dual wielding mechanics? I tried a bit but failed miserably, especially with groups of enemies and archers in the background (a situation you face A LOT in DaS2, much more than in the first game) I got killed a lot faster than I could say "let's try powerstance".
Dark Souls is vaguely realistic in it's depiction of swordplay (at least more realistic than 99% of fantasy RPG), and playing Dark Souls one quickly realizes how useful it is to have a big chunk of metal and wood to hide behind when arrows are raining at you and people try to stab you. I guess that's why we never see images of ancient battles with dual-wielding armies but rather armies having spear/sword & shield and ranged weapons like bows, crossbows and javelins.
Talking of shields: unlike the first game I'm actually mainly hiding behind my shield these days (hence the Tower Shield) and not parrying anymore. I occasionally shieldbash enemies to push them off ledges (har har) but I'm not sure if it's just me but I still fail miserably at getting even the most basic parry timing right.
@Magic Mace: I agree, holy cow what a weapon
when connecting with a direct hit this thing is a monster and I managed to just constantly pummel enemies with low poise, leaving them no chance to fight back until they died or I retreated to get my stamina back.
In between my NG+ I'll do some new game, not sure yet if dex-sorcerer or some sort of faith build. I reckon a typical faith-build would be a bit too similar to the quality build except for miracles?