How to Choose A Starting Class in Dark Souls 3

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

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 Lifewire

Creating a character in the Dark Souls universe is a daunting task. For the uninitiated, it can be extremely challenging to figure out which skills to level up, what character class feels "right," or what sort of build you need to tackle certain situations. If you're having trouble starting a new game of Dark Souls 3, whether it's your first time through Lothric or your third, this class guide can help.

Dark Souls 3 Character Classes

You can choose between 10 different class types when creating your character, each with its own set amount of skill points in various attributes. The total attribute points for each stat is determined by the level of the class 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, 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.

While starting classes are helpful, they're not a permanent choice. For example, if you decide you'd rather be a Sorcerer instead of a Knight ten hours into the game, 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

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

Most notably, Knights get a special shield that's capable of absorbing 100% of the physical damage you take. 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.

Choosing a Knight is also 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. 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. You need Endurance to block attacks and Vitality to make up for the heavy armor you have to equip.

Warrior

Starting Stats

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

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 start at a lower level than the Knight, but you more than make up for it with the highest Strength and Vigor stats out of all the starting classes.

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.

It's imperative 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 is 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 Str: 10
Vig: 11 Dex: 16
Att: 12 Int: 10
End: 11 Fth: 8
Vit: 10 Luck: 9

Mercenaries have 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 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 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 is tantamount.

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 a strong class, but only when a 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 capable of absorbing 100% of any physical damage.

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

When raising Heralds, you'll want to focus on feeding skill points into Vitality, Endurance, Strength, and Dexterity. The Kite Shield is a crucial part of playing the Herald "correctly," along with 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 Str: 9
Vig: 10 Dex: 13
Att: 11 Int: 10
End: 10 Fth: 8
Vit: 9 Luck: 14

Thieves are obviously a more low-profile class in several different ways. They're all about long-ranged bow attacks that can be used to pick off or aggro enemies on their own. The bow acts as a long-range solution, while the thief's dagger is a perfect foil when it comes to countering attacks. Thieves rely on Dexterity and have a high Luck stat, which means you can count on some decent loot 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, 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 Str: 10
Vig: 10 Dex: 14
Att: 14 Int: 11
End: 11 Fth: 9
Vit: 10 Luck: 10

The Assassin is a class you might choose 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 sword with a fantastic critical damage payoff. You can use it to either parry enemies and follow up with a critical attack or employ the Spook skill to sneak up and backstab unsuspecting foes.

Raising an Assassin requires Intelligence, Dexterity, and Attunement in order to maximize the types of weapons, staves, and spells used to keep the class fighting fit. While the Assassin starts with a lower Luck stat and a higher starting level than other classes, skilled Dark Souls players can overcome these drawbacks and dish out lots of damage.

Sorcerer

Starting Stats

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

Sorcerers don't boast a very high level, but they more than make up for this with high Attunement and Intelligence. This lets them use ridiculously powerful sorcery spells early in the game.

If played well, Sorcerers can easily become one of the most powerful classes when you reach endgame levels. But, you might have difficulty in the early parts of the game thanks to the class' lower starting stats and lack of heavy armor.

Sorcerers should be played similarly to Assassins and Thieves. Keep them a safe distance away from enemies and fire off spells to obliterate enemies. Put points into Intelligence for higher damage; Attunement for more spell slots; and Dexterity for faster spellcasting. A 100% physical damage absorption shield can also help compensate for the Sorcerer's lack of armor.

Pyromancer

Starting Stats

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

The Pyromancer combines powerful fire spells with melee skills that are better than its magical brethren, the Sorcerer. If you want a taste of magic without having paper-thing armor and a puny dagger for offense, Pyromancer is an excellent choice. Its short range melee attacks and fire-based moves make you a formidable enemy for the nasties out there, especially ones 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 Str: 12
Vig: 10 Dex: 8
Att: 14 Int: 7
End: 9 Fth: 16
Vit: 7 Luck: 13

Clerics are similar to Sorcerers in that both classes rely heavily on spells, but a Cleric's Miracles are primarily healing-based. Heal and Force are two excellent ones 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 since they don't have to rely as much on physical armor. If your strategies rely on absorbing damage for the most part, you may want to steer clear of becoming a Cleric.

Clerics need a high amount of Faith to cast powerful Miracles; Endurance lets them cast over and over; and Attunement provides more spell slots.

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

The Deprived is a blank canvas in a way, ready for you to mold into what works best for you. You have no armor and your shield doesn't parry. It shoves instead. It's truly a class for veteran Dark Souls players, or people who hate themselves.