Soldiers… aren’t the most interesting of classes, and a Soldier without a specialization or a bonus talent is a very dull, straight-forward character, indeed. As a human Soldier, Ashley has no unique abilities, so she’ll have to get by on her few virtues: weapon talents, heavy armor, Assault Training and Fitness.
|Ashley’s Talents||Suggested Ranks|
Talent Point Allocation
As a Soldier, Ashley has access to all four weapon talent trees, which is honestly overkill… not to be confused with the Assault Rifle ability of the same name. Assault Rifles are fine for midrange combat, outclassing the Pistol, while the damage boost Sniper Rifles enjoy in the Legendary Edition makes them an easy recommendation. You’ll be more than fine just maxing these two talent trees (even this isn’t necessary), but if you want to give Ashley as many options as possible, max out Shotguns.
It’s a waste of talent points to do all this, but there’s a lot of making the best out of a bad situation with Ashley.
The minimum investment you should make in Combat Armor is seven ranks, as this will unlock heavy armor. After this point you really dont need to invest any more ranks, but if you want to improve your Shield Boost ability… well, there are worse ways to spend Ashley’s talents. Still, a character’s survivability in Mass Effect is determined by their Damage Protection - a function of armor - not by their Shields, so the gains made after rank seven is minor, at best.
First Aid, Assault Training, Fitness, Soldier
The rest of Ashley’s talents are something of a mixed bag. First Aid is a pretty terrible investment, as it’ll give you a paltry boost to the amount of health restored with Medi-gel. More interesting is Assault Training, which is worth maxing out for the damage boosts it gives and for Adrenaline Burst, which allows you to instantly recharge all your cooldowns. Not that Ashley has a whole lot of abilities worth resetting the cooldown on, but using some of her weapon abilities in quick succession can dish out a lot of damage.
As for Fitness… how the mighty have fallen. In the Legendary Edition, Fitness has a much shorter duration, and it’s duration/cooldown ratio never changes. It’s still useful when you see heavy damage coming, but given how the damage reduction from Immunity works along with the Damage Protection offered by armor, the gains are relatively paltry as you improve Immunity. You’re fine with the standard Immunity, and there’s no real compelling reason to advance more than four ranks into this talent tree - not for another 13% max health and 15% damage reduction during Immunity.
Finally, the Soldier talent. It does two things: increases your health and gives you regeneration. One point gives you the most gains, and should be one of the first investments you make, after which you never need to put another point into it again.
Best Gear for Ashley
The best weapons in the game are tier X Spectre weapons: HMWA X, HMWSG X, HMWP X and HMWSR X. These will become available when you return to the Citadel after clearing the missions on Therum, Feros, Noveria and Virmire… provided you’re high enough level. As for armor, strap on Colossus X Heavy Armor and you’re good to go - it’s latent 79 Damage Protection should allow Ashley to shrug off everything save a cannon shot from a Geth Colossus. She has no tech abilities or biotics, so you don’t need to worry about an omni-tool or biotic amp.