How to Choose a Starting Class in Dark Souls 3

A guide to Dark Souls 3 Classes

If you're new to the Dark Souls games, it can be challenging to figure out which skills to level up and which character classes are best suited for certain situations. Use this guide to choose the best starting class in Dark Souls III for your preferred playing style.

Information in this article applies to Dark Soul III for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.

Dark Souls 3 promotional art
FromSoftware

Dark Souls 3 Classes

You can choose between 10 different class types when creating your character, each with its own set amount of skill points for various attributes. The total attribute points for each stat is determined by the level of the class you choose. For instance, Knights start at level 9, and Warriors begin at level 7.

As you defeat enemies, you'll earn points that allow you to raise individual stats. Instead of focusing on each class's deficiencies, you should accentuate their inherent talents. For example, since Warriors start with high Strength, spend points on increasing that stat to make their naturally powerful attacks even deadlier.

While you can begin with any character class, 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. Below you'll find a breakdown of each class that includes starting stats, tips on where to invest points as you level up, and what makes each class interesting.

Your starting class is not a permanent choice. For example, if you decide you'd rather be a Sorcerer instead of a Knight, you can pick up magic spells and begin investing in magic-related stats as you level up.

Knight

Starting Stats

Lvl: 9 Str: 13
Vig: 12 Dex: 12
Att: 10 Int: 9
End: 11 Fth: 9
Vit: 15 Luck: 7

Knights are well-rounded fighters with naturally high Vitality and Strength, allowing them to equip heavy armor. Knights also come with a shield that can completely block physical attacks. Thanks to their balanced stats and high starting level, Knights are an excellent choice for new players.

As you gain stat points, focus on increasing your Knight's Strength to maximize the damage you deal with physical blows. You'll also want to upgrade your Endurance and Vitality so that you can equip stronger armor.

Warrior

Starting Stats

Lvl: 7 Str: 16
Vig: 14 Dex: 9
Att: 6 Int: 8
End: 12 Fth: 9
Vit: 11 Luck: 11

Warriors have a lower starting level than Knights, but they begin with higher Strength and Vigor stats than all the other starting classes. Their two-handed weapons are perfect for plowing through groups of enemies or heavily armored foes.

Increase your Warrior's Strength and Dexterity so that it can hold heavier weapons, then focus on building up your Endurance so that you can execute endless combos to keep your enemies off their feet.

Mercenary

Starting Stats

Lvl: 8 Str: 10
Vig: 11 Dex: 16
Att: 12 Int: 10
End: 11 Fth: 8
Vit: 10 Luck: 9

Mercenaries rely on their high Dexterity to survive. They lack the Strength and Endurance of Knights and Warriors, but Mercenaries have high Faith, enabling them to make use of stat-boosting spells. Although they can wield two swords simultaneously, their armor isn't very effective.

Playing as a Mercenary requires more strategy than some other classes. Spend your stat points on raising Faith, Dexterity, and Endurance to increase the efficiency of their attacks.

Herald

Starting Stats

Lvl: 9 Str: 12
Vig: 12 Dex: 11
Att: 10 Int: 8
End: 9 Fth: 13
Vit: 12 Luck: 11

Heralds are healers that can help your party out in a pinch. They are formidable fighters from afar, but Heralds are extremely vulnerable in close-range combat due to their weak armor. However, if you can learn using spells, spears, and shields, they can make an excellent addition to your team.

Stats to focus on for Heralds include Dexterity, Endurance, Strength, and Vitality. As with Mercenaries, you should approach battles with a strategy rather than just running straight into enemy territory.

Thief

Starting Stats

Lvl: 5 Str: 9
Vig: 10 Dex: 13
Att: 11 Int: 10
End: 10 Fth: 8
Vit: 9 Luck: 14

Thieves aren't the strongest, but they have extremely high Luck, so enemies they defeat are more likely to drop valuable loot. They use bows for long-ranged attacks and daggers for up-close fights.

You should raise your Thief's Vitality and Dexterity so that it can equip better weapons and armor. Increasing your Endurance allows you to shoot more arrows faster. Since you have to rely on quick reflexes to thrive as a Theif, this class isn't recommended for novice players.

Assassin

Starting Stats

Lvl: 10 Str: 10
Vig: 10 Dex: 14
Att: 14 Int: 11
End: 11 Fth: 9
Vit: 10 Luck: 10

Assassins depend on speed and stealth to take down enemies. Their main weapon is the Estoc, a lightweight sword that can be used to parry enemy attacks and execute counterattacks that deal critical damage. They can also use the Spook skill to sneak attack enemies from behind.

Assassins start out at a pretty high level, making them suitable for players who don't mind putting a little extra thought into planning their offense. Prioritize raising your Assassin's Attunement, Dexterity, and Intelligence to equip better weapons and spells.

Sorcerer

Starting Stats

Lvl: 6 Str: 7
Vig: 9 Dex: 12
Att: 16 Int: 16
End: 9 Fth: 7
Vit: 7 Luck: 12

Don't be deterred by their low starting level; Sorcerers have high Attunement and Intelligence, which enables them to use powerful magic spells. Their weak stats and armor make them extremely vulnerable, but they do have a shield capable of absorbing physical damage.

Raising your Sorcerers Intelligence will increase the amount of damage they can deal, and raising Attunement grants them more spell slots. Increasing their Dexterity allows Sorcerers to cast spells even quicker.

Pyromancer

Starting Stats

Lvl: 8 Str: 8
Vig: 11 Dex: 12
Att: 12 Int: 14
End: 12 Fth: 14
Vit: 10 Luck: 7

Pyromancers use a lethal combination of fire magic and melee attacks. Their defenses are superior to Sorcerers, so they stand a better chance in up-close combat situations.

When playing as a Pyromancer, prioritize raising their Attunement, Faith, and Intelligence. While their fire skills come in handy early on, they can't access more powerful magics until much later in the game.

Cleric

Starting Stats

Lvl: 7 Str: 12
Vig: 10 Dex: 8
Att: 14 Int: 7
End: 9 Fth: 16
Vit: 7 Luck: 13

Clerics are stronger than Sorcerers in hand-to-hand combat, but they primarily act as medics. Their lightweight armor allows them to move quickly and heal other characters in need.

Raise your Cleric's Faith, Endurance, and Attunement to increase their spell-casting capacity. If your preferred battle tactics involve absorbing as much damage as possible while using offensive skills, then the Cleric class isn't for you.

Deprived

Starting Stats

Lvl: 1 Str: 10
Vig: 10 Dex: 10
Att: 10 Int: 10
End: 10 Fth: 10
Vit: 10 Luck: 10

The Deprived class is intended for expert players. Deprived are essentially blank slates: They start at level 1 with all of their stats equally distributed, so players have full control over their development.

Unfortunately, they can't use armor, and their shield is practically useless. If this is your first time playing Dark Souls III, save the Deprived class for your second or third playthrough after you've perfected the art of character progression.