Martial artists don’t rely on armor to protect them, and instead gain increased power through their Soul Shield.
Martial artists rarely rely on the protection of armor, but instead draw their power through training, meditation, and mastery of the elements that surround them. While you won’t be equipping armor, or at least any that imparts any additional defense beyond its appearance, your Soul Shield—a medallion of immense power—will instead increase your offensive and defensive capabilities.
Your Soul Shield is made up of eight individual pieces, each angled in a specific direction around it. Throughout your adventures, you’ll collect the pieces that can be used in your Soul Shield, which then increase your performance. Each piece is also a part of a set, and additional bonuses can be gained by using 3, 5, or all 8 pieces of a set—which also allows 3 and 5 piece choices of different sets to be mixed and matched.
The most powerful and versatile martial artists seek out Soul Shield pieces and attempt to complete each of the sets in their entirety. It should also be stated that, while attacking without any clothing on can be an imposing sight for your enemy, it’s required that you be clothed for your Soul Shield to be active.
While Soul Shields can be acquired from dungeons and raids alike, the real power increase comes only from raid Soul Shields. Each raid offers one class-specific Soul Shield set for every class. These are customized to fit your chosen Class Specialization, meaning that the set effects might look entirely different for the same class.
The boss encounters of each raid will drop Soul Shields as their loot, with the first Soul Shield pieces coming from the first boss. Depending on the amount of boss encounters available for a raid, which Soul Shield pieces are dropped will vary.
Nightfall Sanctuary, a raid with four boss encounters:
Boss 1 — Grand Celestial Soul Shield 1, Grand Celestial Soul Shield 2
Boss 2 — Grand Celestial Soul Shield 3, Grand Celestial Soul Shield 4, ...
Scarlet Conservatory, a raid with three boss encounters:
Boss 1 — Thornbreaker Soul Shield - Chest 1, Thornbreaker Soul Shield - Chest 2
Boss 2 — Thornbreaker Soul Shield - Chest 3, Thornbreaker Soul Shield - Chest 4, Thornbreaker Soul Shield - Chest 5
Boss 3 — Thornbreaker Soul Shield - Chest 6, Thornbreaker Soul Shield - Chest 7, Thornbreaker Soul Shield - Chest 8
You can also obtain Soul Shield pieces from raids by purchasing them from the associated NPC. Available from outside the raid instance itself, you can also find these NPCs scattered around the halls of Mushin's Tower. Purchasing them requires the raid's associated currency.
After opening a Soul Shield chest from a raid and unsealing the item, the Soul Shield's attributes will be randomized within certain parameters. While HP is guaranteed to be provided, it can only be within certain numbers. The other attributes available, like Critical, Accuracy, Block, Evasion, and Defense are not all guaranteed to be registered to your Soul Shield. A maximum of two attributes will be randomly chosen when unsealing the Soul Shield. Therefore, it's often needed to obtain several Soul Shields of the same slot to get the best attributes. The best ones are most often considered to be Critical and Accuracy. A combination of both Critical and Accuracy is only available on raid Soul Shields on pieces 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8.
Once you have the appropriate attributes, as is the case with HP, how high the attribute's stats are will also be randomized within certain parameters. To make it easier to get the maximum stats on your Soul Shield piece, you can use the Reinforcement Sacrifice feature. Found in the Manage Equipment UI, Reinforcement Sacrifice will consume a Soul Shield of the same item and slot number to increase the stats. However, it's important to note that the attributes themselves need to match. A Soul Shield piece with Critical and Accuracy will not have their stats increased if you sacrificed a Soul Shield with Block and Evasion.
On top of the Reinforcement Sacrifice, you can also make use of Fuse Sacrifice. By either crafting a Shield Base or purchasing the Shield Base Bundle from the Marketplace, you can then choose different bases for which attribute you wish to add. Exchanged through the Dragon Express, the Shield Base item can be exchanged for a Soul Shield Primer of the same grade. These will be displayed as a slot 8 piece, but that number is of no significance.
You can choose whichever attribute of the following 7 when buying a Soul Shield Primer:
Critical Soul Shield Primer
Accuracy Soul Shield Primer
Block Soul Shield Primer
Evasion Soul Shield Primer
Piercing Soul Shield Primer
Defense Soul Shield Primer
Reflex Soul Shield Primer
Generally, the Critical Soul Shield primer is considered the best due to the damage increase.
Depending on which Shield Base grade you chose, you'll then receive different amounts of stats of the chosen attribute. For example, the lowest tier Artisanal Critical Soul Shield Primer will only provide between 178~254 Critical, while the Masterwork Critical Soul Shield Primer can provide up to 296 Critical.
These numbers can be pushed even further by purchasing a Soul Shield Primer from one of the raid-NPCs. For example, when exchanging 5x Masterwork Shield Base and 5x Scarlet Bloom from Elusive Merchant Hyuntae, you can purchase the Temple of Succession Critical Soul Shield Primer for up to 697 Critical. Every raid NPC sells their own Soul Shield Primer versions at the cost of the related raid currency.