I like scars too, and I like that they're permanent
For dual weapons vs. weapon and shield it depends a lot on the weapon type
I've tried dual whips several times, and it's nice that they sever limbs pretty quickly, but they offer almost no defense, so those characters don't usually do very well.
Some weapons like halberds are large enough that they do a good job of blocking too, so there is no need for a shield (and you would be too weak to wield both anyways).
Shields work best with weapons like swords, axes, that are small and accurate but not great for blocking.
I agree to equip any armor you can find. I've often made the mistake of going to GC without any boots or gloves, because I didn't want to wear heavy ones. Those limbs almost always end up getting severed.