SoH is a crutch, but hardly necessary if you gear up properly for wherever you're going. If you rely on it too much, will you know how to do anything without it? ;o
The soul master fields are very nice. Their efficacy is however actually based on MA so my melee soul master idea isn't working out so great (yet), but this is great "news" for anyone using a MA soul master...
I saw Butt Plate mentioned above... If only the devs would allow for simultaneous use of chuck items and bullets - then my DA gunner lion could be hax. ;3 Wouldn't have to choose between other gun skills and SM. As it is, however, butt plate's actually comparable to SS; only problems are the windup (slightly longer than SS) and the cooldown (also slightly longer than SS, making alternating for high phys DPS difficult without throwing other skills into the cycle, but there are no other DA-based gun skills). However, throwing in decent AC for both SS accuracy and normal gun skills, cycling between PS, SS, and BP actually lets you mow through mobs with fair ease and speed.
Temp inactive again...
GigaBowser, 4411 HP melee dark/fire/lightning wizard, 193/204
Deudalephon, 4411 3:1::LK:WT melee water/lightning soul master, 150/165
Hemathion, 4411 3:5:4::WT:HP:MA melee dark lord, 140/140
Anchors, 1414 MA priest, 244/250
Vadise, 1414 MA wind/earth soul master, 210/216
IreneAdler, 1414 MA fire/lightning soul master, 154/152
So, like, let's go look for the road and talk about our hair!