The Soldier is one of the 3 default classes obtained for free.
|Class Cost Table|
|Item||Gold Cost||XP Cost||Mastering Cost||Total XP|
|Soldier MK I||Free||Free||15000||15000|
|Frag Grenade XL||Free||Free||15000||15000|
|Short-Fuse Frag Grenade||120||14000||15000||29000|
Class Roles and Tips
Soldiers are a jack-of-all-trades class. They can perform almost any role, though probably not as effectively as another class which is dedicated to it. True to their namesake they also make good combatants. The Soldier's strength lies in the ability to adapt to any situation and "fill in the gaps" in your team instantly.
General base offense consists of going to the enemy base and annoying the defenders. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean hurling yourself directly at the enemy flagstand(which is more of the Raider's job). Taking potshots at the enemy stand or base assets from afar will usually force the defenders to come to you and let you fight them at your own terms far away from enemy turrets. However if the enemy Generator is down and the defense seems lackluster, nothing stops you from simply going to the enemy base and fighting there.
When facing a "turtle" team you can try a technique of carpet bombing normally employed by many Brutes: start a normal capping route but instead of going for the flag fly over it throwing grenades at the stand. The Utility Pack combined with Frag Grenade XLs and Safety Third guarantees almost total destruction; it will also almost certainly pull out defenders from the stand who will try and chase you, making the job of your team's Pathfinder that much easier.
As the base defender your job is, generally, to kill any and all enemies who comes close to the base. This includes base offense as explained above; enemy Juggernauts trying to mortar the flagstand; enemy Pathfinders trying to cap; enemy Infiltrators/Raiders coming to the Generator room; etc. As the base defender you usually can't complain about lack of work. If you do, grab the Repair Tool and bring some of the base defenses back online.
Midfield refers to the "no-man's land" between the Blood Eagle and Diamond Sword bases. However, midfield in T:A doesn't get as much action as the previous titles due to the small map sizes. Usually playing in midfield involves the Soldier taking potshots at players speeding by; this preemptive defense strategy is used to significantly damage light classes, allowing base defenders to kill them easily. Any hits scored will likely do too little damage to kill anyone, and it's rare that someone will actually stop and fight. A good strategy is to pin down heavies on the way to attack your generator, as they will have trouble outrunning you and will often be geared with indoor-oriented weapons.
Capping is very much possible as a Soldier, it just takes some extra effort since you don't gain speed as fast as a Light class and you don't have Nitrons to instantly get to supersonic speeds. Use either the Spinfusor or Thumper DX instead. I recommend turning around and shooting behind you instead of shooting straight down when going uphill. The good thing about capping as a Soldier is the much larger health pool; for example you can usually just ignore the Doombringer's Force Field, which will leave you with 600HP(With Utility Pack) - still enough to take a fully charged BXT1 shot. The bad thing about capping as a Soldier is that preparing a route usually takes much more time than doing the same with the Pathfinder, and that's time in which you're not helping your team.
Generally speaking, you should never be able to catch a good capper. You simply lack the means to get yourself to the same speed in any reasonable amount of time. However many enemy cappers are not good(or are not light classes), and you can get those. Jetpack yourself to 72 km/h, thump twice and then let it out with the Assault Rifle. Also note that instead of trying to catch the capper you might try to cut him off, which usually means going to the enemy base and killing him as he apporaches; this is particularly useful against Pathfinders but only works if they didn't start a back to front route.
The Soldier has two distinct weapon loadouts:
1. The Ranger loadout consisting of: Assault Rifle and Thumper D: This loadout, while being the extremely effective combination of an impact-explosive weapon and an automatic projectile weapon, was always rather underwhelming because of the individual weakness of both weapons. Hovewer in the Accelerate update the Assault Rifle received a nice buff and both weapons got special versions which do more damage. Result: the Thumper DX/Gast's Rifle combo is the loadout for Soldier with a good impact explosive for short range, indoor or ground fighting combined with a very good automatic weapon for mid-air or medium range combat(which is very important when facing against Heavy classes and chasing/finishing off enemies who try to disengage). Best of all, both DX and Gast's are very cheap XP-wise.
2. The Soldier loadout consisting of: Spinfusor and Eagle Pistol: While Spinfusor is a very good impact explosive weapon(indeed, one of the best in the game) the problem with this loadout comes from the Eagle. Between the accuracy loss when rapid firing and a very high damage falloff the Eagle is, for all intents and purposes, a shotgun with a side ability to interrupt enemy's health regeneration timer from a distance. This leaves the Soldier loadout without any medium range weapon which means you usually end up exposing yourself to more danger than you'd want to and lack the reach to get cappers or people who try to disengage(dodging a Spinfusor disc at medium range isn't very hard).
Despite this many Soldiers still opt for the Spinfusor simply because of its legacy; it's the hallmark Tribes weapon and very effective once mastered(enough to overcome the Eagle's limitations, though it requires hours of practice).
All grenades have their uses, so it mostly comes down to preference and playstyle.
Frag Grenade XL: Works best for clearing deployables and enemies off of flag-stands or capture points and general indoor mayhem. Also has a very large blast radius(bordering on insane with Safety Third), so it's slightly more forgiving than Anti-personnel Grenades.
Anti-personnel Grenade: Works best in situations where deployables aren't a big issue. 1300 damage one-shots Technicians, Raiders, and Soldiers who didn't pick the Utility Pack. Also two-shots most Heavy classes.
Proximity Grenade: A unique grenade that is very weak in the typical grenade role, but very good in others. It's very useful in duels, since you can just throw one in the enemy's face mid-air and there's nothing they can do about it. It's very useful in flag defense, since all you need to do is throw one at the flag with the enemy capper incoming; it gives you a much larger window to "catch" him rather than just shooting the flag with your explosive. It's also useful against Infiltrators who can simply run by any other grenade.
Short-Fuse Frag Grenade: Middle ground between normal grenade and the proximity grenade.
Utility Pack versus Energy Pack: The Utility Pack gives greater versatility and use than the Energy Pack. The HP bonus from the Utility Pack is very important for Soldier gameplay since 1300 is a "magic number" many of the weapons in Tribes: Ascend deal(i.e. Anti-personnel grenade, Fusion Mortar, two near Spinfusor shots, etc.). Also, with full armor upgrades and the Utility Pack equipped you will have 125 energy which should be more than enough for your needs as Soldier. The faster run speed and extra grenade upgrades for the Utility Pack are extras that really put this over the top as the recommended choice.