I have been working on a soldier guide which will eventually encompass a lot of soldier tips and things that you will only find out via playing the class for a while, for example, try to shoot down at your target rather than up (unless you have something to splash off) because you have to hit the enemy directly rather than relying on splash damage, if you are on the lower ground, either rocket jump up and attack if there is only one or you have support (medic or otherwise), or whip out your shotty and retreat/move to a better position.
Anyway, here is the start of the guide, post your opinions/suggestions
The Soldier Guide
The soldier is an all round class that has no particular strengths or weaknesses, because of this he is well equipped to deal with all of the classes to a certain extent (although he is more effective against some, than others), this is why in competitive games he is the one that normally protects (or pockets) the medic.
The soldiers basic weapons consist of:
The rocket launcher, this has four rockets already loaded and a further twenty in reserve. This is the soldiers main weapon and it will enable him to deal a lot of damage in a short space of time, it can be used to rocket jump which trades health for horizontal and vertical movement. Rocket jumping can allow the soldier to move forward very quickly or to get to a particular position or perch from where he can attack better.
The shotgun, this is a good finishing weapon and can be used in combination with the rocket launcher; you can pop the enemy up into the air and then finish them off with the shotgun. The shotgun also makes a good weapon to defend the high ground due to it’s knockback effect. A good place that this can be put into use is the spire on badlands, it is better than using your rockets because unless you are really good at airshots you will most likely miss and by that time the jumping soldier will have the height and most probably, health advantage as well. However, if you use your shotgun you can normally push the jumping soldier away and by doing so, you will keep your height advantage.
The spade, this is the soldiers melee weapon and generally is only used when in dire need or if neither the shotgun or rocket launcher is loaded.
Thanks to various updates the soldier now has a variety of unlocks in his armoury, these unlocks are:
The gunboats, these handy boots (despite being called boats!) protect you from 60% of the damage you take whilst rocket jumping, they allow you to do many more jumps than you would be able to have done before. These are good for roamers in competitive play because they reduce the amount of damage taken from rocket jumps and therefore it reduces the amount that the medic needs to heal him, which in turn means that the medic can spend more time healing the classes that need it more (pocket and demo) Also, the loss of the shotgun isn’t a big blow to a roamer because most of the time they won’t live long enough to use it.
The buff banner, it is a handy banner which builds rage up as you do damage, and when you do enough you can sound a bugles and all of your teammates in the immediate area will get mini crits and you will get the assists. The buff banner is a good way to complement an uber, or to mop up after an uber has gone, the mini crits will make short work of the already damaged enemy. The thing to remember is that if you die you will lose all of the rage that you had built up, so try to play slightly more conservatively and stick with your team mates or medic. Finally, by using the buff banner you are making yourself vulnerable to scouts as you lack an effective way to kill them (i.e. shotgun)
The battalions backup, this builds up rage like the buff banner, however this is a defensive unlock and when it has built up enough rage it can protect some of your team mates and nullify 35% of the damage they receive and stop them from taking crit damage. A really good time to use this is when the enemy has just popped a kritz as your banner will negate the effect and also protect from damage.
Nb: If you have a banner charged and you are about to die it is a good idea to use the banner anyway as it will give you a better chance of surviving. Another point is that you shouldn't hold onto you banner for a long time, you might as well use it and get onto charging another.
The equaliser, this nifty pickaxe does more damage as you lose heath, it also increases your speed so that you can get away quickly or make a last stand when it seems hopeless.
The pain train is an unlock for the demo man as well as the soldier, it allows you to captures the point twice as fast (scout speed) at the cost of becoming more vulnerable to bullets (10%)
The direct hit, this new rocket launcher fires its rockets 80% quicker, it does 25% more damage and it mini crits when you hit someone that you have knocked up into the air, all this and the cost of a smaller explosion radius, no more aiming in the general direction of the enemies feet, you now have to hit their feet or come very close.
EDIT: I have beefed it up a bit.
Your Benevolent Overlord.