That's not completely true. The elemental protection perk in the blocking tree gives 50% protection versus fire, frost and shock. Combine that with the block runner perk that allows you to move at regular speed with a raised shield, and closing the gap to mages is no issue at all. I love doing this and then bashing them in the face with the shield when I get there, putting a stop to their silly casting. I made my first character 1H and shield just because I have always played dual wielding damage dealers going back to my EQ rogue and figured for once, I would try something different. I love it so far. On my next character, I will probably go back to my dual wielding assassin type.