Soldiers are AI controlled minions that appear in the campaign, dominion, and skirmish mode.
There are soldiers for all three factions and are identifiable by the unified design of their helmets, body armor, and shield.
- Viking soldiers do not have visible armor, but may be wearing chainmail under their clothing. Wearing spangenhelm helmets, their beards cover their mouths. They wield round shields and Carolingian swords.
- Knight soldiers wear brigandine over chainmail, along with sallet helmets. their chainmail covers their mouths. They wield heater shields and arming swords.
- Samurai soldiers wear tosei-gusoku (armor made of horizontal plates), kabuto helmets and mempo. They wield te-date shields and katana.
As of the Sakura update, Soldiers can now feature shields that have varied patterns than the standardized one shown above. They can either all have the same kind of pattern or some will feature their own kind; in some cases, all soldiers will sport a unique pattern on their shield.
Keep in mind that these changes are purely aesthetic. All soldiers behave the same way.
Soldiers are noticeably smaller in comparison to the Heroes of each faction, with even the smallest of Heroes (ie. Peacekeeper, Nobushi) standing a bit taller than the Soldiers. This may be justified by the fact that after the Cataclysm, there was a lack of access to resources, thus only the strongest or fortunate (Heroes and Captains) were properly nourished, while others such as Soldiers were left without the means necessary to hold a physique like the others.
As purely AI controlled units, Soldiers have a set function in each of the game modes. In non-Dominion games, they occupy a certain point of the map together with a Captain. Whereas in Dominion, they collective charge from either sides towards the center point objective, Point B (on The Shard, this is Point C), beginning an endless stalemate that only ends when one team wins and the other team's Soldiers retreat.
Factors of combat against Soldiers is as follows:
- While it is not possible to lock onto them when in Guard mode, Heroes will automatically approach nearby Soldiers when outside Guard mode, attacking them with their available combos.
- A Hero can still guard-break them or block their attacks. This allows Heroes to push them around or defend against them as they would when fighting other Heroes.
- Though, blocking their attacks does not engage a full guard mode like it would when receiving attacks from other Heroes. It is also not possible to parry Soldiers' attacks.
- When not in Guard mode, these combos will have predetermined directions from which they will attack from, some choosing the widest of attacks while others choose less favoured directions for clearing.
- Heroes can enter Guard mode to determine the direction of these attacks against Soldiers.
- While Heavy Attacks are more likely to take out more soldiers than a Light Attack, this does not apply for all Heroes and their possible combo chains.
- Be wary of stamina cost when using light or heavy attacks, as attacking soldiers will cost stamina just as in normal combat.
- For some Heroes, Zone Attacks are more efficient in taking out a clump of Soldiers. Other Heroes' Zone Attacks may be better suited when combating other Heroes. Because Zone Attacks cost a lot of Stamina compared to normal combo attacks, they should be used when there is Stamina to spare.
Soldier behavior depends on whether or not there are other soldiers nearby. If alone, soldiers will be passive and throw single attacks before backing off and waiting before throwing another. When in large groups, soldiers will be much more aggressive, throwing two to three strike combos even when faced with a Hero.
While soldiers are not dangerous in and of themselves, they can cause a multitude of problems for Heroes. While allied Soldiers will move out of your way, enemy soldiers will not. This can hinder a Hero when a player tries to cross the map, or trap them when trying to dodge an enemy's attack or escape from them. Soldiers can even block moves such as a guardbreak, causing you to guardbreak the soldier instead and be open for an attack from the opposing Hero. Even though their attacks inflict minimal damage, you will still flinch and cannot perform critical actions such as revives or executions when there are enemy Soldiers around.
Take into mind too, your own Soldiers can provide the same trite to opposing Heroes. If you are running to escape an enemy, running through a line of your own soldiers is almost guaranteed to end the chase. You can even use your own soldiers to your advantage when battling an opponent as the soldiers will now hinder them instead of you.
Soldiers are crucial in Dominion, as they are the moving force in one of the three point objectives, Point C for the Shard and Point B for every other map. The two armies will battle each other on the central capture point. If the battle for the central point favors the enemy too heavily, the soldiers may even begin retreating. Even without Hero intervention, one army will drive the other off the capture point. When one team gains control of the center objective the opposing team will spawn a larger group of soldiers while the team holding the point will spawn fewer soldiers. This will eventually drive off the current holders of the point and return it to neutral and the cycle repeats.
Killing soldiers will count as hard points for the match.
On certain maps, pairs of dueling Soldiers will appear at certain points of the sidelanes at the start of the match. While Heroes can choose to intervene on these duels, the Soldiers will eventually resolve with one side winning before returning to the skirmish happening at the center point.
In Skirmish, together with Captains or Shield Captains, Soldiers from both sides litter the field, with more spawning whenever a group of soldiers have been killed. While they award points and can cause damage, unlike in Dominion, they are much less of a threat.
- While there are female voices for soldiers, there are no female models for soldiers.
- However, this may be because the Soldiers' armor hides any and all distinguishing features, although less believable for the Viking Soldiers who all have beards.
- There does not appear to be any animation for the mouths. Though this is less noticeable for the Knights or Samurai due to wearing something to cover the mouth, for the Vikings during cutscenes will yell, cheer, and give commands without ever moving their lips.
- If they are killed via being pushed off a cliff they will begin a dying animation and bleed slightly before falling defeated.
- If you push around a Soldier for long enough, they will "die". This is because the game possibly thinks the soldier is stuck, deciding to despawn the Soldier to then respawn them at their original location.
- When using the Arrow Storm or Catapult feat against them, Soldiers will raise their shields in anticipation, though this does not protect them.
- During events, Soldiers are often (if not always) redecorated for the event.
- Prior to the Sakura update, the designs on the shields of each faction's Soldiers were uniform with no variance.
- Prior to Marching Fire, there were special (and stylistic) kill animations that Heroes would initiate when attacking Soldiers, with Light Attacks picking them off one by one, and Heavy Attacks swinging wide to clear many. Some Heroes had methods of clearing Soldiers that had different levels of efficiency compared to their current counterpart.
- The Developers decided to remove these animations as some kill animations were too long/inefficient, to the point that players would enter Guard mode to kill Soldiers (notable Heroes being Aramusha and Shaman).
- Youtuber XDeadzX has a video online available that has been archived for public viewing here.
- As the Story Mode is not affected by live balance updates, the special kill animations can still be witnessed for certain Heroes by playing the Story Mode.