Top 10 Dark Souls 3 Best Starting Class [2024]

I have been playing Dark Souls games for more than a year now and I'm happy to share my thoughts for the Best Starting Classes in Dark Souls 3!

Dark Souls 3 Best Starting Class
Complete guide on Dark Souls 3 Starting Class And Builds

This starting class guide entails everything you should know about all classes in the game. I have also included recommendations according to the playstyle you may want from a character in Dark Souls 3.

Key Takeaways

  • Dark Souls 3 offers a range of starting classes, each tailored to different playstyles, allowing players to choose based on their preferences.
  • The Knight class in Dark Souls 3 is highly recommended for both newcomers and veterans due to its balanced attributes and robust armor, making it a reliable starting point compared to other classes that require more knowledge and time to make work.
About The Author

Waleed is a Dark Souls fan having spent 800+ hours in the game. You can trust his insights on any Dark Souls related guides!

Starting Classes Comparison

Here is a comparison table for my picks of Classes in Dark Souls 3. Each attribute can be sorted to view the highest and lowest values in each column:

1KnightBest Beginner Class.9131299712101115
2MercenaryBest Dex Starting Class.81016810911121110
3WarriorBest Starting Class for Strength Builds.716998161461211
4HeraldReliable Support with High Faith and Miracles91211138111210912
5TheifBest Class for Stealth Builds.5913810141011109
6AssassinBest Class for Int Builds.1010141191010141110
7SorcererBest Class for Mage Builds.67127161291697
8PyromancerBest Starting Class for Faith Builds.0.01212604073530208
9ClericBest Spellcaster Class.712871613101497
10DeprivedBest Class for Personalized Builds.1101010101010101010

Comparison Table.

Classes Character Attributes

Before comparing the classes, let’s quickly review the nine character attributes in the game: Vigor, Attunement, Vitality, Endurance, Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Faith, and Luck. Starting classes are assigned attributes that shape gameplay. Here’s how each element influences Dark Souls 3.

A Similar Read: Dark Souls 3 Best Catalysts 

  • Vigor: Controls HP bar and frost resistance.
  • Attunement: Controls FP bar and attunement slots availability.
  • Endurance: Controls stamina, lightning defenses, and bleed resistance.
  • Vitality: Controls Equip load, Physical Defenses, and Poison Resistance.
  • Strength: Allows equipping high STR weapons, increases weapon damage, and physical and fire defenses.
  • Dexterity: Allows equipping of demanding DEX weapons, increases weapon damage and arcane casting speed, and reduces falling damage.
  • Intelligence: Increase magic spell damage and magic defense and allow equipping of demanding magic staffs.
  • Faith: Increases faith spells damage and dark defense. Determines which weapons and spells can be equipped.
  • Luck: Controls weapon damage, item discovery, and curse resistance. Increases ailment build-up for certain bleed and Poison weaponry.

Dark Souls 3 offers ten starting classes, from Knight and Mercenary to Sorcerer and Deprived. I have assessed each class’s potential, learning curve, and usability for your informed choice.

1. Knight

Best Beginner Class.

Why did I choose Knight?

I choose Knight because it’s an amazing starter class comprising incredibly balanced stats from vitality to parrying.

Dark Souls 3 Best Starting Class

Knight Stats Table.

The Knight class boasts high vitality, strength, and sturdy armor. It equips a complete knight armor set, including a longsword, knight shield, knight helmet, gauntlet, body armor, and leggings.

Attributes feature high STR, DEX, and moderate Endurance and Vigour. The knight’s shield provides 100% physical defense but doesn’t block magic attacks.

Ideal for newcomers to Dark Souls, the Knight offers a balanced blend of attack, defense, and blocking. Learning game mechanics like rolling, dodging, and parrying makes the Knight a resilient starting choice, reducing frequent deaths.

With well-distributed stats, the Knight is a favored pick among both new and experienced Dark Souls players, arguably one of the best starting classes.

  • Balanced stats including attacks, defense, and blocking
  • Access to shield provides 100% defense against physical attacks
  • Shield can’t block magic attacks at all

2. Mercenary

Best Dex Starting Class.

Why did I choose Mercenary?

I choose Mercenary because it possesses the game’s highest DEX attribute allowing him to fight with dual-wielded weapons, dealing massive damage.

Dark Souls 3 Best Starting Class

Mercenary Stats Table. 

The Mercenary is a seasoned warrior, who excels with high dexterity, making dual scimitars a skillful choice. Unlike Knights, Mercenaries favor lighter armor and shields, which are less effective for blocking 100% physical damage.

They possess the game’s highest DEX attribute, ideal for weapons scaling with dexterity, especially dual-wielded ones.

The Sellsword Twin-blades, a versatile weapon, complements the Mercenary’s high dexterity and second-highest strength. As DEX increases, these blades gain significant power, enabling substantial damage output quickly.

With the Mercenary’s elevated dexterity, dual-wielded weapons like the Sellsword Twin-blades deliver formidable damage and high mid-to-late game DPS.

One of the major reasons why I recommend Mercenary is because it gives access to Sellsword Twin Blades, Wooden Shield, Sellsword Helm, Armor, Trouser, and Gauntlet right from the start.

  • Highest DEX and second-highest strength in the game
  • Can wield dual-blades like Sellsword Twin-blades
  • Ability to deal high damage at a time
  • Light armor and shields are less effective for blocking 100% of physical damage

Another interesting read: Dark Souls 3 Weapon Upgrades

3. Warrior

Best Starting Class for Strength Builds.

Why did I choose Warrior?

I strongly prefer Warrior as a starting class because of its highest STR attribute in the game leading to a Strength-focused build.

Warrior Dark Souls 3 Best Starting Class

Warrior Stats Table. 

The Warrior is one of the finest starting classes for an early strength-focused build. It boasts the highest STR (Strength) attribute among all starting classes.

However, the flip side is that the Warrior has the lowest Attunement, Intelligence, and Faith, reinforcing its suitability for a pure strength-based build from the very beginning.

A Warrior begins with a Battle Axe, Round Shield, Northern Helm, Northern Armor, Northern Trouser, and Northern Gloves. The Battle Axe, an early-game weapon for strength-based classes, scales with STR, while the Northern armor set offers average attack resistance.

The Round Shield outperforms the Mercenary’s wooden shield as a default choice in Dark Souls 3.

I strongly recommend selecting the Warrior class, alongside the Knight, for its formidable strength that can effectively dispatch early-game bosses and foes.

Additionally, the Battle Axe’s weapon art significantly enhances its overall damage, providing a considerable advantage when wielded by a Warrior.

  • Highest STR attribute among starter classes
  • Round shield performs better than wooden shield
  • Lowest attunement, intelligence, and faith rendering it a strength-based class from the start

4. Herald

Reliable Support with High Faith and Miracles

Why did I choose Herald?

I prefer Herald because of its overall balanced stats with luck and miracle in the mix along with a resemblance to Knight’s attributes like blocking 100% physical attacks with its shield.

Dark Souls 3 Best Starting Class

Herald Stats Table. 

The Herald offers a balanced blend of close-to-mid-range melee combat with the ability to cast basic health-replenishing miracles. Equipped with a spear and a gentle restorative miracle, the Herald’s higher faith and luck attributes set it apart, while the remaining stats closely resemble the Knight’s.

Starting with a Spear, Kite shield, Talisman, Heal Aid spell, and the Herald armor set, this class enjoys a health advantage over the Knight and Warrior.

Additionally, the Herald’s armor provides nearly identical attack resistance to the Knight’s set, and the Kite shield absorbs 100% physical damage, akin to the Knight’s shield.

The Herald’s early access to spellcasting, particularly Heal Aid, allows for significant health restoration through mana consumption. This advantageous feature distinguishes the Herald from the Mercenary, Knight, and Warrior, as it can deal respectable physical damage while conserving Estus Flask use.

Overall, it’s an excellent choice for both beginners and veterans in Dark Souls 3, especially if you’re interested in healing miracles and a Knight-like build.

  • Cast health replenishing miracles
  • High faith and luck attributes
  • Attack resistance similar to the Knight
  • Deals damage while conserving Estus Flask use
  • Doesn’t block magic attacks
  • Being a support class, it’s not built for the frontlines

5. Thief

Best Class for Stealth Builds.

Why did I choose Thief?

I choose Thief because it’s a class that revolves around ranged combat as well as quick attacks, provided Thief’s starting weapons are the bow and dagger.

Thief Dark Souls 3 Best Starting Class

Thief Stats.

The Thief class offers limited early-game versatility, but excels later with suitable gear. It starts with a dagger and bow, emphasizing high Luck. However, its armor is weak against physical attacks.

The unique bow’s rapid-fire weapon art is handy for ranged foes. The Bandit’s Knife’s quick-step skill aids mobility and inflicts bleeding damage when the bar is full.

While it’s the only class with a bow, the Thief’s armor and weapon options are best for those who relish challenges and Bleed/Poison builds. If not, other classes may be more suitable in Dark Souls 3.

  • Uses rapid-fire weapon art to target ranged foes
  • Quick-step skill adds mobility and deals bleeding damage
  • Weak armor

Read Dark Souls 3 Thief Build In Full Detail.

6. Assassin

Best Class for Int Builds.

Why did I choose Assassin?

I choose Assassin because of its versatile playstyle and variety in build options, with high DEX, Intelligence, and Attunement, it’s a fair choice among starter classes.

Assassin Dark Souls 3 Best Starting Class

Assassin Stats Table.

The Assassin excels at stealth, favoring sorceries and thrusting swords. Starting with an Estoc, Target Shield, Sorcerer’s Staff, and the Spook spell, they’re equipped with the Assassin armor set.

The Assassin’s Intelligence is relatively high, suitable for INT builds but flexible enough for diverse tactics.

The lightweight Assassin set is not for tanking, but the Estoc, a long poking-slashing sword, offers versatile combat. You can employ the Target Shield for defense while wielding the sword.

The Sorcerer’s Staff enables early spellcasting, like Spook, a valuable early-game spell. Spook negates fall damage and muffles foot noise, aiding stealthy approaches to enemies.

With balanced attributes at level 10 from the outset, the Assassin provides versatility in playstyle and build options, making it a strong contender among starting classes in Dark Souls 3.

  • High intelligence making it suitable for INT builds
  • A flexible and versatile class with various build options
  • The Sorcerer’s Staff enables early spellcasting making it a viable option
  • Lightweight Assassin armor isn’t suitable for tanking

7. Sorcerer

Best Class for Mage Builds.

Why did I choose Sorcerer?

Sorcerer is an ideal choice because of its high intelligence and magic-based combat abilities that make it an excellent starter class for long-ranged attacks.

Sorcerer Dark Souls 3 Best Starting Class

Sorcerer Stats Table. 

The Sorcerer excels in spellcasting, making it ideal for those who favor magic combat. Equipped with a Mail Breaker, Sorcerer’s Staff, Leather Shield, Young Dragon Ring, and spells like Soul Arrow and Heavy Soul Arrow, the Sorcerer starts with low health but excels in ranged spell attacks.

The Young Dragon Ring boosts sorcery damage, emphasizing magic over the melee Mail Breaker. The Sorcerer’s Staff can enhance its damage through its weapon art.

The Mail Breaker, with a dagger-like moveset, offers average damage and is primarily for riposting after parrying with the Leather Shield. The lightweight Sorcerer armor set enables fast rolling but provides minimal protection.

With a high intelligence attribute, the Sorcerer can explore various sorcery builds early. It’s the class of choice for those who prefer spellcasting over melee combat.

  • Excellent for ranged spell attacks
  • Possesses high intelligence
  • The lightweight Sorcerer set provides fast-rolling
  • The Mail Breaker offers average damage
  • The Lightweight Sorcerer armor set provides minimal protection
  • Not the best class for close-ranged combat

You might find this interesting: Dark Souls 3 Mage Build

8. Pyromancer

Best Starting Class for Faith Builds.

Why did I choose Pyromancer?

I choose Pyromancer because it can cast fire-based spells for close-range damage and is a versatile class that can make great INT and FTH builds.

Dark Souls 3 Pyromancer Starting Class

Pyromancer Stats Table. 

The Pyromancer specializes in fire-based spells and is a top choice for those who prefer fiery attacks. Starting with a Hand Axe, Caduceus Round Shield, Pyromancy Flame, Great Swamp Ring, Fireball spell, and Pyromancer armor set, this class excels in dealing with damage.

The Pyromancy Flame allows casting Fireball spells, with a Combustion weapon art for close-range high damage. The Hand Axe serves for melee combat and can be infused with fire later. The Caduceus Round Shield is better for parrying than blocking.

While the Pyromancer armor set offers underwhelming physical resistance, it provides average-high magic-based attack resistance.

Ideal for players who invest in both INT (Intelligence) and FTH (faith), Pyromancers can create versatile builds by incorporating miracles and spells, making them a great choice for those seeking a “Jack of All Trades” approach in Dark Souls 3.

  • Best for players investing in INT and FTH builds
  • Offers versatile playstyle
  • The Pyromancer armor set offers low physical attack resistance and an average high-magic-based attack resistance
  • The Caduceus Round Shield isn’t best for blocking

Related Pyromancy Guide: Dark Souls 3 Pyromancer Build

9. Cleric

Best Spellcaster Class.

Why did I choose Cleric?

I choose Cleric because it has high FTH (faith) and is one of the best spellcaster classes in the game offering balanced stats for FTH builds.

Dark Souls 3 Cleric Starting Class

Cleric Stats Table.

The Cleric excels in faith-based miracles and is among the best starting classes for spellcasting and faith-scaling weapons. It boasts high faith and decent strength, offering a well-rounded start for faith builds.

Starting with a Mace, Cleric’s Sacred Chime, Blue Wooden Shield, Heal and Force spells, and the Cleric armor set (minus the headpiece), this class is well-prepared.

The Mace is a mid-game STR weapon effective against armored foes, while the Cleric’s Sacred Chime features an HP Regeneration Weapon Art. The Blue Wooden Shield is primarily for blocking, not parrying.

The Cleric is one of the few classes that starts with a healing spell, outperforming the Herald in this regard. The light Cleric set, like others on this list, isn’t designed for tanking physical blows from enemies or bosses.

  • One of the best starting classes for spell-casting and FTH scaling weapons
  • Well-balanced stats for faith builds
  • Features HP regeneration weapon art
  • Starts with the Healing Spell
  • The Blue Wooden Shield isn’t best for parrying
  • The Cleric armor set isn’t a good choice for tanking physical attacks against enemies

A Similar Read: Dark Souls 3 Best Faith Weapons

10. Deprived

Best Class for Personalized Builds.

Why did I choose Deprived?

I choose Deprived because even though it doesn’t start at a high level like other starting classes, it’s an ideal choice for players who prefer to allocate attributes with freedom, resulting in a more personalized build.

Deprived Dark Souls 3 Starting Class

Deprived Stats Table.

The Deprived class gives a blank slate, granting players complete freedom to allocate character attribute stats as they prefer. It starts with minimal equipment, including a Club, Plank Shield, and Loincloth.

The Club, though dealing modest damage, shares its weapon art with the Battle Axe, allowing for damage boosts after triggering the weapon art. The Plank Shield is of limited utility, and the Deprived lacks an armor set, having only a Loincloth.

Unlike other classes that begin at a higher level, the Deprived starts at level one, with attributes evenly distributed. Playing as the Deprived makes the early game challenging, resulting in numerous deaths.

However, it provides an opportunity to build a character from scratch, making it suitable for a quality build.

  • Provides freedom to players to allocate attributes according to their preference
  • Gives a great chance to build a character from scratch concluding a personalized build later on
  • Starts at level 1 unlike other classes
  • All attributes are evenly distributed; specializes in none
  • Due to lower levels and attributes, this results in numerous deaths

My Opinion

If you are new to Dark Souls 3, I recommend going with The Knight as the starting class. It has excellent starting armor with a great weapon and shield that has 100% physical damage absorption.

This starting class is by far the most balanced one you can ask for in the game. Other than that, if you want to steer clear of brute melee playstyle and want to switch towards an arcane experience, then Sorcerer would be a better fit.

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