Original Post Date: 2016-04-11
Last Updated: 2021-08-02
This guide covers the best classes and burial gifts to select when you first start Dark Souls 3. Experienced players will already know the main advantages and disadvantages of each class and burial item, but new players may have difficulty figuring out what’s best to start with on their long journey through Dark Souls 3. You can play the game a number of different ways, and even reset your stats and appearance up to five times per play through, but it’s still important to get off to a good start.
Each class starts with different stats and unique armor. Your selection will have a great impact on how you play when you first start Dark Souls 3. The available classes are Knight, Mercenary, Warrior, Herald, Thief, Assassin, Sorcerer, Pyromancer, Cleric and Deprived. For new players we highly recommend starting as the Knight class, but let’s take a closer look at each of these classes and what they have to offer.
For more tips, strategy and advice, be sure to check out our Dark Souls 3 walkthrough and guide!
Dark Souls 3 Starting Class Level Chart
The Assassin is another well-rounded class that has a bit higher Dexterity than most other classes. You also have a higher Intelligence stat compared to the other melee classes and you get a spell that prevents fall damage and increases stealth (so you can sneak up behind enemies easier) to go along with that. You also start with a staff so you can use sorcerer spells right from the get-go.
Select the Assassin class if you want to focus on sorcery spells later in the game, but want to start with more melee power and better defenses than the Sorcerer class. It’s a good combination of the two and you can always put more points in Intelligence if you want more of a sorcery focus as you move further into the game.
Starting as the Cleric isn’t a bad idea, as it’s not one of the hardest classes to play as, but it still requires a bit of knowledge to use properly. You start with the highest Faith stat of the starting classes, and a moderate Strength stat to help you in combat. You also get a talisman and two miracle spells, as well as a basic axe and shield for close quarters combat.
The biggest advantage of the Cleric class is that you can heal with miracles instead of relying primarily on your Estus Flask. With the severe lack of healing items in Dark Souls 3, this can be a huge benefit. However, remember that you need to have a few Ashen Estus Flasks or stop at bonfires frequently so you can replenish your FP gauge and continue to cast spells.
If you are a Dark Souls veteran, or simply want a significant challenge from an already difficult game, start as the Deprived class. This is the only class that starts at level one and essentially has nothing. You begin with a low-damage club and shield that’s basically falling apart. You can craft your character however you like, but this will not be an easy journey.
You should not select the Deprived class if you know very little about Dark Souls. You will die early and often as you struggle to find better weapons. Even when you do find better weapons, you will likely need to increase your Vitality stat in order to equip most of them and remain at a good weight. Only true Dark Souls masters should select the Deprived class.
Healing items are few and far between in Dark Souls 3. You have an Estus Flask and not much more to heal yourself during combat. The Herald isn’t the strongest class in the game, but they have a good balance of stats and they start with a healing spell and corresponding talisman so you can use the spell immediately. Like the Knight, you also start with a shield that absorbs 100 percent physical damage and with high Faith this class is also good for anyone planning to use miracle spells, but wants a bit more offensive power than the Cleric.
While you have a healing spell that will come in handy, if you plan to use it frequently you will need to put some points into Attunement early on to increase your FP gauge. Alternatively you can adjust your Estus Flask to Ashen Estus Flask ratio so you can refill your FP gauge more often, but that also gives you less overall healing since you would be sacrificing Estus Flasks in order to carry more Ashen Estus Flasks.
Our recommendation for new players is to begin with the Knight class. You get some of the best (and heaviest) starting armor, as well as a shield that absorbs 100 percent physical damage. That means you can block any physical attack and you won’t take any damage from the hit. However, if you block a magic or elemental (fire, ice, etc.) attack, you will still take some damage.
Starting as the Knight you will have to put some points into Vitality to avoid being too heavy if you want to change your armor or weaponry, but you start with the second highest Vigor (health). This isn’t the strongest starting class (that would be the Warrior), but it’s the easiest for beginners because of the shield and your starting stats.
Starting as the Mercenary is good if you plan to use dual swords or ranged weaponry. Mercenaries start with the highest Dexterity stat of the classes, which determines most ranged weapon damage. Having a ranged weapon is extremely important, especially for newer players who may not be ready to handle several enemies at once.
Getting a bit more damage out of your ranged attacks is good, but being able to get more damage out of dual-wielding can be even more beneficial. Just remember you won’t have a proper shield if you end up dual-wielding, which makes it a bit more advanced than some other weapon options. This is a decent starting class, but much better if you decide to dual-wield later on down the line.
If you want to use some magic, but don’t really like miracles or sorcery, the Pyromancer is the way to go. As a Pyromancer you start with the basic pyromancy weapon and spell, along with a short-range axe and a basic shield. Most of your damage early on will come from your axe, but you have a moderately high Strength stat so you can get a bit of damage from your axe attacks.
Leveling the Pyromancer is a bit trickier than some of the other classes because you need to strike a balance between Intelligence and Faith for your pyromancy spells, and Strength and Dexterity for your melee attacks. In addition, you will want to put some points into Attunement to increase your FP gauge and the number of spells you can use at a time. This isn’t for the Dark Souls newcomer, but it’s also not overly difficult to learn.
If you’re experienced with Dark Souls and plan to focus on sorcery spells, the Sorcerer is the best class to start with. You’ll still have a basic sword and shield to go along with the two sorcery spells and staff that you get at the start, but with the highest Attunement and Intelligence of any starting class you are built to cast spells frequently.
It’s important to remember that Dark Souls 3 uses the FP gauge to control how frequently you can cast spells. Every time you cast a spell you use a bit of your FP gauge, and that means you will want to use Ashen Estus Flasks quite a bit to replenish that gauge. This cuts into the amount of normal Estus Flasks you have available to you, which cuts into your healing a bit. This isn’t the best class for new players, so only experienced sorcerers should apply.
Do not start as a Thief if you’re new to Dark Souls. This is a class that works well if you have a firm grasp of how the Dark Souls combat engine works. If you’re not all that familiar, selecting the Thief could mean a difficult road ahead. You start with a dagger, which has limited range and attack power, but good speed. Ideally you want to get behind you enemies and back stab them for big damage, but if you’re new to the game that could be easier said than done.
You also start with a bow and some arrows, which means you have a ranged attack right off the bat. This is a huge benefit, but it also means you’ll be spending souls on arrows fairly early on. In addition, you start with higher Luck than any other class, which means you’ll get better and more frequent drops from enemies.
Start as a Warrior if you want as much attack power as you can get. The Warrior class begins with the highest Strength stat of any class in the game, but they also favor heavier, slower weapons. If you want to eventually move to a two-handed weapon such as a greatsword or even an ultra greatsword, the Warrior is a good starting class for you.
More than likely you’re going to want to put some points into Vitality so you can carry more items, but overall this is a good pick if you want to wield heavier weapons. Keep in mind these heavy weapons attack slower than most other weapons, so you need good positioning to make sure you don’t get interrupted by enemies.
In addition to selecting your initial class, you can also select a burial gift, which is essentially an item you begin the game with. We recommend starting with the Life Ring because it’s the only item you can potentially use for the entire game, but let’s go over all of the options available to you.
Black Firebomb - This one time use item works well as a ranged attack against most enemies.
Cracked Red Eye Orb - This one time use item allows you to invade another world and initiate player vs. player battles.
Divine Blessing - This one time use item fully restores your health gauge and removes all status ailments. With limited healing items in the game, this isn’t a bad choice for emergency use.
Fire Gem - This one time use item allows you to upgrade a weapon with the power of fire. This is useful because many enemies in the game are weak to fire-based attacks.
Hidden Blessing - This one time use item full restores your FP gauge. It’s a good item to go with if you’re starting with an FP-based class such as a Cleric or Sorcerer.
Life Ring - Equip this ring to increase your health gauge. As long as you have the ring equipped your health will be higher than normal, making this our recommended choice for your burial gift.
Rusted Gold Coin - When you’re farming for items this one time use item can be very helpful by increases your Luck stat for a limited time so you get better and more frequent drops from enemies.
Sovereignless Soul - If you start as a Deprived class this one time use item is a good choice. It gives you a small number of souls that you can use to level up your character or purchase items.
Young White Branch - This one time use item is primarily used to help you blend into the environment so it’s harder for enemies to spot you.
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