How to Choose A Starting Class in Dark Souls 3

Which class works the best for you? Here's how to find out.

Creating a character in the Dark Souls universe can be a daunting task. One might argue that it's one of the most difficult parts of getting into the game beyond figuring out how to thwart traps and terrifyingly difficult boss monsters.

For the uninitiated, it can be extremely challenging to figure out which skill you need and when, what character class feels "right," or what sort of build you need to tackle certain situations. The truth is, none of this has to be difficult at all. In fact, it's quite simple to understand.

If you're having trouble starting a new game of Dark Souls, whether it's your first time through or your third journey into darkness, so to speak, this class guide should be a helping hand through it all.

You can choose between 10 different class types when creating your character, each with its own set amount of skill points that have already been assigned for you to varying attributes. The total attribute points for each stat is determined by the level of the class that you choose. For instance, a Knight starts at level 9, where the Warrior begins at level 7.

While you can begin with any character class that you'd like, it's clear from play styles, attributes, levels, and skills which are more appropriate for beginners, intermediate players, and those looking for more of a challenge than usual. Find the class that interests you listed below, along with starting stat numbers, the allure of the class, and where you should invest further skill points going forward.

Knight: Starting Stats

Lvl: 9

Vig: 12

Att: 10

End: 11

Vit: 15

Str: 13

Dex: 12

Int: 9

Fth: 9

Luck: 7

If you tend to prefer swordplay and an all-around balanced character, you'll want to choose the Knight class, which comes packing high Vitality and Strength stats at level 9 to accommodate heavy armor types.

Most notably, Knights come wielding a special shield that's capable of absorbing 100% of the physical damage you'll take. There is a low drop rate to balance this powerful defense out, but you can still obtain decent weapons for your Knight if you're willing to work for it.It can act as a crutch to fall back on if you're new to the game or need additional assistance with the enemies in the earlier parts of the game. This creates an enjoyable dynamic between powerful offense and defense, especially wherever the Knight's shield is concerned.

Choosing a Knight is a good idea if you're not quite sure what other class to opt for, as there's a decent mix of stats to keep you afloat during the earlier challenges in-game. Just ensure you make use of the shield to block attacks and wait for enemies to retaliate in return. With great poise damage, excellent starting armor, and a high starting level, the Knight is an all-around good choice despite its lower Luck stat.

When cultivating stat points for your Knight, you'll want to build up Strength to come back with powerful attacks after blocking with the 100% physical block shield. Endurance and Vitality are other smart choices, especially as you'll need Endurance to block attacks and Vitality to make up for the heavy armor you'll have to equip.

Warrior: Starting Stats

Lvl: 7

Vig: 14

Att: 6

End: 12

Vit: 11

Str: 16

Dex: 9

Int: 8

Fth: 9

Luck: 11

If you're looking for strength, the Warrior is the way to go. You start at a lower level than the Knight at level 7, but Warriors more than make up for all this with the highest Strength and Vigor stats out of the rest of the choices. If you're looking to crush your enemies and pack a punch everywhere you go, consider choosing a Warrior, who can wield the ridiculously powerful Heavy Battle Axe.

You're sacrificing a little speed for a lot of power, but it's worth it in the end if you're the type of player who seeks out raw power in lieu of other niceties. High damage, two-handed weapons are the order of the day for Warriors, especially those that require high Dexterity, Strength, and Endurance stats. You want to barrel forward with all of your strength and use the Warrior as a bit of a "berserker" to break through all of your enemies' defenses. That’s where this class truly shines, and your enemies will feel it when they succumb to your heavy-handed strikes, too.

It's imperative that you focus stat-building on Strength to carry and implement larger weapons during battle, Dexterity since said weapons have strict requirements, and Endurance to string together powerful combos. With this build your main goal will be to strike hard and fast, leaving little room for combatants to find a footing against you when you come at them over and over with powerful weapons.

Mercenary: Starting Stats

Lvl: 8

Vig: 11

Att: 12

End: 11

Vit: 10

Str: 10

Dex: 16

Int: 10

Fth: 8

Luck: 9

Mercenaries are an odd mix of stats that require more Dexterity to pull off moves, whereas roles such as the Knight or Warrior rely heavily on Strength and Endurance to beef up their abilities. Mercenaries possess low Luck stats as well, but high Dexterity and relatively high Faith stats ensure they can strike hard with long-range attacks complete with buffs and miracles.

If you enjoy attacking from far away or mounting a strike against far-off enemies rather than getting up close and personal, this might well be the class you want to go with. The Mercenary’s shield is weaker than you’d get with classes like the Knight, but when you’re meant to attack from afar and rely on buffs and miracles, it’s not as necessary of a stat.

You'll want to spend future stat points on Faith for powerful buffs and other assistive abilities, Dexterity for curved swords, katanas, and other higher-damage weapons, and Endurance for long rounds of attacking and casting. When you can dual-wield like the Mercenary, ensuring Dexterity is tantamount.

Herald: Starting Stats

Lvl: 9

Vig: 12

Att: 10

End: 9

Vit: 12

Str: 12

Dex: 11

Int: 8

Fth: 13

Luck: 11

Heralds are a strong, but only when a balanced player can make use of their various idiosyncrasies. They wield both physical and magical attributes as well as a weapon that works swimmingly for long-range combat, in tandem with a kite shield that, like the Knight's, is capable of absorbing 100% of any physical damage.

Like the class's name implies, a high Faith stat allows for Heralds to perform Heal Aid miracles that are extremely useful. One downside is that the class has some decidedly weak armor and you'll have to stay on the defensive if you want to make any headway without dying repeatedly. This isn't a class we'd recommend to beginners for that reason.

When raising Heralds, you'll want to focus on feeding skill points into Vitality, Endurance, and Strength and Dexterity to ensure blocking and attacking doesn't cause too much of a burden, and the heavy armor the Herald requires can be worn. The Kite Shield is a crucial part of playing the Herald "correctly" as well as using the spear to block while attacking, so if you're more into the "hit everything that moves over and over" camp this might not be the class for you.

Thief: Starting Stats

Lvl: 5

Vig: 10

Att: 11

End: 10

Vit: 9

Str: 9

Dex: 13

Int: 10

Fth: 8

Luck: 14

Thieves are obviously going to be a more low-profile class in several different ways, as you can likely ascertain from their name alone. They're all about long-ranged bow attacks that can be used to pick off or aggro enemies on their own, as the bow acts as a long-range solution and the thief's dagger a perfect foil when it comes to countering attacks. Thieves rely on Dexterity as well to use the Shortbow's weapon attack, though arrows aren't limited. That's where the Dagger comes into play. With a high Luck stat at 14,  you can also count on some decent loot to come from your conquests.

Raising Thieves requires Vitality to ease any equipment burden, Dexterity to use bows and countering weapons that employ high critical damage bonuses, and Endurance to keep rapid firing arrows at enemies. If you've ever played a Thief class in other games, it's a lot similar in Dark Souls 3: Don't count on seeing high damage trending, but stay in the shadows, creep around, pickpockets (so to speak, anyway), and you'll do okay. This isn't necessarily a class we'd recommend for beginners either, though intermediate players might be comfortable with the strategy required to employ both bows and daggers.

Assassin: Starting Stats

Lvl: 10

Vig: 10

Att: 14

End: 11

Vit: 10

Str: 10

Dex: 14

Int: 11

Fth: 9

Luck: 10

The Assassin is a class you might choose to settle on if you're looking to complete a stealthier path through the game, or if you're not so interested in the straightforward tactics of the Knight or Mercenary. Your claim to fame is finding your enemies and taking them out swiftly like a true hunter. Because of this, the Assassin's Estoc weapon is incredibly useful. It's a thrusting weapon with a fantastic critical damage payoff.

You can use it to either parry enemies and follow up with a crit or employ the Spook skill to sneak up and backstab your unsuspecting enemies. Because of the skill required to do these things, this wouldn't be a great class for a beginner, but it can be simple to pick up the skills you need to become adept at rocking the Assassin class.

Raising an Assassin requires Intelligence, Dexterity, and Attunement in order to maximize the types of weapons, staves, and spells that can be used to keep the Assassin fighting fit. While there's a low Luck stat and a higher starting level for the Assassin than other classes, these are overcome easily by the pros, namely the critical damage you'll be serving up on a hot steaming plate of thrust weapons.

Sorcerer: Starting Stats

Lvl: 6

Vig: 9

Att: 16

End: 9

Vit: 7

Str: 7

Dex: 12

Int: 16

Fth: 7

Luck: 12

Sorcerers don't boast a very high level (beginning at level 6) but they more than make up for this with high Attunement and Intelligence levels of 16, which allow for ridiculously powerful sorcery spells ahead of the game. This also includes Soul Arrows that can be used offensively as well as a spread of additional spells that are essential early on.

If played well, Sorcerers can easily become one of the most powerful classes available when you reach endgame levels, despite the fact that you will more than likely have difficulty if you're a new player early on when struggling with the Sorcerer's lower stats.

Sorcerers should be played similarly to Assassins and Thieves by keeping them a safe distance away from enemies and firing off spells to obliterate monsters. Intelligence for higher damage, Attunement for less usage of Ashen Estus Flasks, and Dexterity for spellcasting should be kept in mind when raising Sorcerers, as should the fact that this is not an up close and personal class. Slow and steady wins the race early on for Sorcerers more often than not.

Pyromancer: Starting Stats

Lvl: 8

Vig: 11

Att: 12

End: 12

Vit: 10

Str: 8

Dex: 12

Int: 14

Fth: 14

Luck: 7

The Pyromancer is a pretty self-explanatory class: Pyromancers have a powerful magical fireball spell as well as melee skills to complete the package. If you want a taste of magical spells without the slow burn of becoming a sorcerer, the Pyromancer is an excellent choice, with short range melee attacks and fire-based moves that make you a formidable enemy for the nasties out there who happen to be vulnerable to fire.

If you decide to go with the Pyromancer, you'll want to ensure Intelligence, Attunement, and Faith stats to bolster your character going forward. You won't be able to grow your store of Pyromancy spells at the beginning of the game, but they'll be available later on for you to supplement with miracles and spells. The heavy focus on fire spells is a boon early on in the game as well.

Cleric: Starting Stats

Lvl: 7

Vig: 10

Att: 14

End: 9

Vit: 7

Str: 12

Dex: 8

Int: 7

Fth: 16

Luck: 13

Clerics are similar to Sorcerers in that both classes rely heavily on Miracle spells and other abilities, though these Miracles are primarily healing-based. Heal and Force are two excellent Miracles to start out with, though Clerics can't be discounted when it comes to some physical damage either.

They're also light on their feet as they don't have to rely as much on physical armor, though they're not very hardy. If your strategies rely on absorbing damage for the most part, you may want to steer clear of becoming a Cleric.

Clerics will need a high amount of Faith going forward to continue affording powerful Miracles, Endurance to cast them over and over, and Attunement to cast Miracles in the first place.

Deprived: Starting Stats

Lvl: 1

Vig: 10

Att: 10

End: 10

Vit: 10

Str: 10

Dex: 10

Int: 10

Fth: 10

Luck: 10

The Deprived is one of the strangest choices you can go within Dark Souls 3 and the most difficult by far. It's not recommended that you choose to play as a Deprived character unless you're looking for an extra difficult game. You begin at level 1, with 10 points assigned to each stat.

They're blank canvases in a way, ready for you to mold them into what works best for you. You have no armor and your shield doesn't parry but shoves instead. It's truly a class for you if you're a hardened Dark Souls player, but it's not recommended otherwise for a balanced run-through.