At first, I really liked the idea that Parry was a skill. Before, it seemed like a hand-out defense to me, but as I have playtested the rules, some thoughts occurred to me.
Before it was a skill, anyone could parry with anything at any time at full skill (+/- modifiers based on the item; balanced, unwieldy, etc). This means that even without any training on how to use a sword a person could pick one up and Parry at full WS +10% for the balanced weapon trait. Doesn't seem right, does it?
But, now that it is a skill, there is another disconnect. If I take the talent to learn how to use a melee weapon, I don't get parry? All my training in fighting with that weapon didn't include how to defend with that weapon? I have to buy a completely separate skill in order to parry… who just trains to parry? And again, the issue arises with untrained parrying. With the purchase of one skill, I can parry with any weapon, even ones I am not trained in. That must be an interesting class to watch, people just picking up various objects and parrying with them.
Next we have the skill level issue. I can become better at parrying than I am at using an item (widening the gap of untrained weapons). I may be -20% to hit with that Power Sword, but I can parry with it at +30% (Oh, and another +10% with balanced).
So I looked at the reasons it may have not been a skill before, as compared to Dodge. A) It is only effective in melee combat, where Dodge is effective against everything. B) You would only ever choose to Parry in melee if your WS was better than your Dodge skill (Agl+Skill Level), so this made it a viable option only for melee based characters.
I move to take Parry back to its roots, while dealing with the issues I brought up in the second paragraph. In the combat section, discuss parry as a defensive option, stating that Parry is available to all characters and uses the weapon training rules. If you are not trained in the weapon you are parrying with, you take the untrained penalty to parry as you would to hit. The balanced/defensive/unbalanced weapon traits make up for the skill levels, as parrying is equipment based, unlike dodge.
What does everyone think?