The changelog for 1.12 states:
"Increased the damage of most tools to be more efficient than fists in combat"
However, most of the tools have in reality been DECREASED compared to both 1.11 and previous patches, along with some other questionable changes to shock damage values. The changes seem so strange that I don't believe they have been adjusted as intended in the changelog, please refer to the included image:
Some specific issues that stand out:
-The buffs to fist damage and shock now makes punching too powerful, you can kill a player with 4 heavy punches to the head and the increased shock damage makes punching people uncon very easy.
-The lit torch now deals very high shock damage for what is essentially a stick and it hits through blocks even with light attacks, previously this weapon dealt NO shock damage.
-The damage on the previously 'high tier' 2-handed melee weapons has been very heavily nerfed - a splitting axe light attack now does the same damage as a heavy punch and less damage than a bat.
-A LIGHT hit from a sledgehammer deals the same shock damage as HEAVY hit from a shovel, why is the shovel so much weaker, seems it should be closer in damage and shock damage given it currently weighs 6kg, heavier than the sledgehammer.
-A shovel heavy hit is only twice as effective for shock damage as just punching with bare fists (20 vs 40), and the light attack is barely any better at all (15 vs 20). Same story for normal damage (10/15 vs 15/25)
-In addition to having their damage heavily nerfed, the two handed axes now deal very high shock, on par with or exceeding the shovel, which makes no sense given they are traditionally high damage low shock. The result of this is that there's no distinction in useage between the two handed axes and blunt tools, there used to be a tradeoff between damage and shock for sharp vs blunt but now they're all the same with slightly different damages.
The changelog does not reflect these changes and they don't make any sense.