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Team Fortress 2 - Soldier Guide

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The next up in my line up of class guides is the Soldier. Portrayed as partially insane, the Soldier's play style almost matches his personality. He has one of the largest arsenals in the game, and when played correctly, can be a very daunting foe.Let's start with the vanilla soldier. He comes equipped with:-Rocket Launcher: Or, as some people like to call it, the "Rocket Lawn chair". To be a rocket launcher, it has pretty impressively low speeds and relatively crappy damage output, doing about 100 damage on a successful direct hit. This basic primary weapon teaches a new soldier player pretty quickly what they have to do to be successful as a soldier: Don't aim where your target is. As if you're playing Space Invaders, you have to aim ahead of a moving target and attempt to predict where they'll be at. This is no small feat from across the map, so you learn a second lesson: although he deals primarily with explosives, Soldier is best at close range fighting, and almost runs on a principal of damaging himself. Of course, rockets aren't just dangerous when you actually manage to hit something with them, and in fact, are more dangerous when you aren't trying to directly impact your target. The explosion radius of the normal rockets is pretty impressive, and does moderate to severe damage to the target, depending on their distance from the point of impact. This makes Soldier akin to playing horse shoes - a ringer is great, but getting close is good too. Therefore, it is essential as a Soldier to practice missing gracefully. -Shotgun: A weapon that three other classes share with the Soldier. The shotgun can be a lifesaver when the slow reloading rocket launcher is out of ammo. It fires just as quickly as any other shotgun, has the same spread and damage output, and generally, should be used when you've fired off all four of your rockets and everything directly threatening you isn't dead yet. -Shovel: One of the relatively shorter range melee weapons in the game, the shovel delivers the same sort of basic melee damage the other vanilla melee weapons do. ~The Soldier Update~-The Direct Hit: A side choice for the rocket launcher. As its name implies, making a direct impact with this rocket launcher deals the very most damage, rewarding accuracy over the traditional soldier playstyle. The upside to this weapon is that the projectiles fire much faster than normal rockets, but on the downside, the blast radius from these rockets is decreased significantly, although damage output from the blast radius is kept the same. The rockets themselves also do slightly more damage than basic rocket launcher rockets. This weapon is very hard to use because it requires so much accuracy, but at close range, it can be a bit easier to handle, and becomes a force to be reckoned with, able to get rid of any 125 HP class in one hit.-The Buff Banner: A strange support weapon to replace the shotgun. As you do damage, it builds up a "Rage" meter. When this meter is full, you are able to blow a horn and give all of your surrounding teammates mini-crits for the duration of the Rage meter (which is about 5 seconds). If your team is operating with the efficiency of an organized crime syndicate, this weapon is one of the most important additions to the soldier arsenal. However, if you're playing on a team of lone gun Rambos, then you may as well stick to the shotgun, since no one aside from you is going to benefit from the mini crits. Not to say that a lone soldier won't benefit from a good set of mini-crits, but that is just a shadow of the potential destructive force of the Buff Banner when used with a productive, well organized team. The biggest downside to this weapon is that you lose your shotgun, and as such, you lose a powerful protecting force. -The Equalizer: Before the Soldier/Demoman update, there had not been a weapon that Valve had released that made people say "you're stupid if you don't use this". Of course, people could say that, but they would just be asserting an opinion. But at the time of this update, the only excuse for not using the Equalizer was that you didn't have one. With no downsides at all, the Equalizer increases your run speed as you take damage, and increases its damage output the more damage you've taken. Of course, the inherent downside to this is that by the time you've got a weapon more effective than the shovel, one stray bullet will probably end up killing you. On the plus side, before a recent update, the Equalizer was able to one hit 125 HP classes if the Soldier was at 10 or less health. Said update, however, put a damage cap on the Equalizer at a certain HP, so while you can run around at speeds just shy of a Scout, you won't be instant killing every scout you meet. -The Gunboats: A secret unlock for the Soldier not tied to any achievement milestones, the Gunboats replace the Shotgun. Like the buff banner, this is their immediate downside. The plus for the gunboats, however, is that they reduce the self damage you inflict on yourself while rocket jumping, giving you the ability to live a lot longer and still travel a lot faster. ~The Polycount Update~The Tank Buster Item SetSet Bonus: +20% Damage Resistance to Sentry fire-The Black Box: A very compact looking black rocket launcher. It grants 15 health for every enemy hit by the rockets, either directly or through splash damage, but on the downside, can only load 3 rockets at a time. It's an excellent choice for anyone who doesn't mind not having an extra rocket to cause havoc with, and would rather survive a lot longer, thereby increasing the projected damage output by quite a bit (although this assumes that you're a pretty good soldier who will live quite a while anyway). If you have a medic pocketing you, it's probably best to go back to using the normal rocket launcher, since you'll have the health bonus of a medic constantly on you, and be able to support both of you by having a fourth rocket. As a note, if a Pyro successfully reflects your black box rocket back at you or another target on your team, that pyro will be rewarded with 15 health, as if he fired the rocket. Be careful about this.-The Battalion's Backup: Working essentially in reverse to the Buff Banner, this weapon is a defense rather than offense device. The player's Rage meter is filled through taking roughly 350 damage from other players in a single life. Once filled, the pack can be used to make all nearby teammates, and you, immune to critical hits, and grants them 35% resistance to regular damage for 10 seconds. Rage cannot be gained from fall damage or self-inflicted damage, but it can be given by map effects. All forms of enemy-inflicted damage, including afterburn, give rage. -The Grenadier's Softcap: It's just a hat. It completes the set and gives you the set bonus.~The Uber Update~The uber update brought quite a bit of weapons to the soldier's arsenal, including two new secondaries and two new melee weapons. -The Liberty Launcher: Taking a note from the Black Box,this weapon only stocks 3 loaded rockets at a time, but they much faster than the default or black box rockets, while still being only half as fast as the Direct Hit's. In exchange, they keep the blast radius of the normal rocket launcher. It is a very good weapon for anyone who wishes to have the enhanced speed of the Direct Hit, but doesn't want to learn how to aim their rockets so precisely. -The Reserve Shooter: A new shotgun for the soldier. It only holds 3 loaded shells at once, but it deals mini-crits to airborne targets. It can also be equipped by the Pyro, and provides a 15% weapon switch speed increase to both the Pyro and the Soldier. Though it was released in a Soldier update, it is much more useful for the Pyro. -The Mantreads: A pair of boots that reduce the altitude you get from Rocket Jumping, but deals a pretty hefty damage to any enemy you land on. -The Market Gardener: A shovel that gives 100% critical hits on any target hit while you're rocket jumping... if you ever hit someone with a Melee weapon while you're both in the air.

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