How to Pick Your Starting Class in Elden Ring


Jason Gallagher

Writer and Storywriter


Are you about to begin your journey across The Lands Between? Elden Ring offers ten unique starting classes and the option to choose a ”Keepsake” as a starting gift. Some classes might be vaguely familiar to gamers who have experienced FromSoftware’s Dark Souls franchise. Still, there are enough new options here that it is understandable if you are stuck at the character selection screen, debating which class you want to be in.

How to Pick Your Starting Class in Elden Ring

But we have got your back. Here is a quick crash course on all 10 Elden Ring classes and how they differ during the early portion of the game to pick the class that suits your preferred playstyle.

Make Your Foes Taste Steel or Smite Them With Spells

Character stats in Elden Ring are stretched across multiple attribute categories, including Strength, dexterity, faith, and many more. Each of the ten classes will start with its own unique attributes build. Some classes will favor attributes designed for melee combat, and others will focus on spell casting or ranged combat. There are also options to go the jack of all trades route, with a character that can do a little bit of everything but will not be especially strong in any particular area, at least during your few hours of play. Finally, the Wretch option offers minimal stats across the board for gamers who want an extra challenge.

Another way Elden Ring’s starting classes differ from each other is through the gear you receive at the start of the game. Melee-heavy classes that will be getting up close and personal with enemies will have more armor to help protect them and a melee weapon like a sword, while magic-users and ranged classes will have lighter armor and weapons more suited for damage from afar.

One great thing about Elden Ring is that a class that starts in melee combat can eventually become a spell caster over time if you upgrade the right attributes while leveling and find the right kind of weapons or armor.

Picking the right starting class for your preferred playstyle is the most important thing for the early portion of Elden Ring. All classes will run into difficulty against harder enemies in the first few hours, and playing your class the way it was designed to be played will make your life much easier. By the end game, all ten classes will be capable of doing damage in various ways. The Faith-heavy Confessor class might technically be able to melee something to death, but the Hero and Vagabond will do it better due to a higher starting strength attribute.

What Do All These Attributes Really Mean?

The eight Elden Ring attributes you will be leveling up throughout the game are Vigor, Mind, Endurance, Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Faith, and Arcane. Figuring out how those attributes change your character is obvious in some cases but may not be so clear-cut for others. Here is a quick primer:

  • Vigor: Health points. The more Vigor you have, the more damage you can take before dying.
  • Mind: Focus points for spells. The more Mind you have, the more spells you can cast in one go.
  • Endurance: Stamina for wearing equipment. Gear in Elden Ring has a weight rating. The more stamina you have, the more gear you can wear without having your dodge or movement slowed.
  • Strength: Required to equip heavier physical weapons like Greatswords and increases weapon damage.
  • Dexterity: Required to equip faster physical weapons like spears and increases weapon damage.
  • Intelligence: Required to cast Sorcery spells and boosts magic power, emphasis on damage. Improves magic resistance.
  • Faith: Required to cast Incantation spells and boosts magic power, emphasis on healing and curing.
  • Arcane: Boosts the Discovery stat, which improves your luck. Increases your chance of finding loot on enemies you kill. Required when using certain Sorceries or Incantations.

Here is a rundown of each class with its starting attributes, gear, and tips on which class might be the right choice for you.

How to Pick a Starting Class in Elden Ring Vagabond
Elden Ring’s Vagabond is one of the best classes for gamers new to “Soulsbourne” style games.


Level 9

Starting Attributes: VIG: 15 / MND: 10 / END: 11 / STR: 14 / DEX: 13 / INT: 9 / FTH: 9 / ARC: 7

Starting Weapons and Items: Longsword, Halberd, Heater Shield

Starting Armor: Vagabond Knight Helm, Vagabond Knight Armor, Vagabond Knight Gauntlets, Vagabond Knight Greaves

The Vagabond is a great starting class for someone new to ”Soulsbourne” style video games. High Vigor, Strength, and Dexterity mean you can take a few extra hits without dying and hit harder with your physical-based weapon at the start than some other classes.

Pro tip: Un-equip your helm at the start of the game. The Vagabond does not have great Endurance, which means your gear weighs heavily on you, slowing your movement. But the Vagabond also receives heavy armor to mitigate some damage but is not doing you any favors given your low Endurance.

In the early game, being able to dodge incoming attacks is more important than pure damage mitigation. Take off your helm, and you will reduce your load and can dodge attacks faster. You can put a helm back on after you level up your Endurance stat.


Level 8

Starting Attributes: VIG: 11 / MND: 12 / END: 11 / STR: 10 / DEX: 16 / INT: 10 / FTH: 8 / ARC: 9

Starting Weapons and Items: Scimitar Riveted (x2), Wooden Shield

Starting Armor: Blue Cloth Cowl, Blue Cloth Vest, Warrior Gauntlets, Warrior Greaves

The Warrior is designed to be a dual-wielder that focuses on fast and physical attacks thanks to that high Dexterity stat. You will want to use lighter weapons like your starting Scimitars or a Katana.

If you want to get up in melee combat but be more nimble and quick on your feet, the Warrior can allow you to get in, strike your foe quickly and get back out. You will need to work on your Strength stat if you eventually want to wear heavier armor or use heavier weapons.


Level 7

Starting Attributes: VIG: 14 / MND: 9 / END: 12 / STR: 16 / DEX: 9 / INT: 7 / FTH: 8 / ARC: 11

Starting Weapons and Items: Battle Axe, Large Leather Shield

Starting Armor: Champion Headband, Champion Pauldron, Champion Bracers, Champion Gaiters

The Hero is Elden Ring’s pure melee class. High Strength and Vigor are on offer like the Vagabond, but you also have more Endurance, so your gear will not weigh you down as badly at the start. You can use a one-hander and shield. If you want, the Hero is the best class for those who want to swing a giant two-hander with reckless abandon. Get up close and personal and hit it until it’s dead.

The Hero is not an excellent option for anyone looking to cast spells, as it will take quite a bit of work to get your Intelligence or Faith up to a respectable level.

How to Pick a Starting Class in Elden Ring Bandit
Elden Ring’s Bandit Class has a high Arcane stat providing good luck and good loot.


Level 5

Starting Attributes: VIG: 10 / MND: 11 / END: 10 / STR: 9 / DEX: 13 / INT: 9 / FTH: 8 / ARC: 14

Starting Weapons and Items: Great Knife, Shortbow, Bone Arrow (Fletched), Buckler

Starting Armor: Bandit Mask, Bandit Garb, Bandit Manchettes, Bandit Boots

Most of the Bandit’s starting stats are not great but look at that Arcane attribute. If you want to start with a little more luck on your side, the Bandit can help you gear up faster by finding more loot from the enemies you kill.

You will be doing quick, physical damage with a dagger or attacking with a bow and arrows from afar. The Bandit is great for people who want to be stealthy and sneak up on their foes from behind.


Level 6

Starting Attributes: VIG: 9 / MND: 15 / END: 9 / STR: 8 / DEX: 12 / INT: 16 / FTH: 7 / ARC: 9

Starting Weapons and Items: Glintstone Pebble, Glintstone Arc, Short Sword, Astrologer’s Staff, Scripture Wooden Shield

Starting Armor: Astrologer Hood, Astrologer Robe, Astrologer Gloves, Astrologer Trousers

Would you like to weave in some spell casting with your melee attacks? The decent Dexterity stat will let you use faster, physical weapons, but you will also have excellent Intelligence for dealing magical damage through Sorceries. The Astrologer is another decent option for newcomers.

Do not forget to level up your Mind attribute to increase your pool of Focus Points and keep casting spells without taking a break or using an item in the middle of a battle.


Level 7

Starting Attributes: VIG: 10 / MND: 14 / END: 8 / STR: 11 / DEX: 10 / INT: 7 / FTH: 16 / ARC: 10

Starting Weapons and Items: Heal Catch, Flame, Short Spear, Finger Seal, Rickety Shield

Starting Armor: Prophet Blindfold, Prophet Robe, Prophet Trousers

The Prophet is great if you intend to play multiplayer with others, as the high Fatih attribute makes this class an excellent healer and support.

The Prophet does not pack a massive punch with physical attacks, but it is great as a hybrid class for solo players. You will slowly melee down the enemy while being sure to mend any damage with healing spells. Those heals could keep you in the fight if you are not great at avoiding damage.

How to Pick a Starting Class in Elden Ring Samurai
Elden Ring’s Samurai offers a top-notch starting set from a cosmetic standpoint.


Level 9

Starting Attributes: VIG: 12 / MND: 11 / END: 13 / STR: 12 / DEX: 15 / INT: 9 / FTH: 8 / ARC: 8

Starting Weapons and Items: Uchigantana, Longbow, Arrow, Fire Arrow, Red Thorn Roundshield

Starting Armor: Land of Reeds Helm, Land of Reeds Armor, Land of Reeds Gauntlet, Land of Reeds Greaves

High dexterity and a kick-ass katana mean fast melee attacks if that is your thing, but the Samurai is also pretty good at raining arrows from a distance.

Pick and choose whether you attack up close or from long range, depending on the battle. You’ll also look pretty good no matter how you choose to fight, with the Samurai having one of the better cosmetic armor sets for the start of the game.


Level 6

Starting Attributes: VIG: 11 / MND: 12 / END: 11 / STR: 8 / DEX: 14 / INT: 14 / FTH: 6 / ARC: 9

Starting Weapons and Items: Magic Glintblade, Estoc Glintstone, Staff, Rift Shield

Starting Armor: Prisoner Iron Mask, Prisoner Clothing, Prisoner Trousers

The Prisoner is undoubtedly one of the freakier-looking classes with that Iron Mask in your starting set. This is another hybrid class that can sling spells with high Intelligence and deals quick, physical damage thanks to 14 starting Dexterity points.

The Prisoner is notably weak in both hit points and Endurance, so let’s hope you know how to dodge and generally stay out of the line of fire until you can start leveling up those stats.


Level 10

Starting Attributes: VIG: 10 / MND: 13 / END: 10 / STR: 12 / DEX: 12 / INT: 9 / FTH: 14 / ARC: 9

Starting Weapons and Items: Urgent Heal, Assassin’s Approach, Broadsword, Finger Seal, Blue Crest Heater Shield

Starting Armor: Confessor Hood, Confessor Armor, Confessor Gloves, Confessor Boots

The Confessor is another great option for a new player, with the highest starting character level giving you a bit of an edge on some early enemies. The Confessor’s Faith attribute is a good fit for the whole holy or priest-like vibe they have going on, and you can heal yourself while dealing good damage with your choice of both heavy and more nimble physical weapons.

Watch your health meter, though, as your starting Vigor is not doing you any favors until you can get some better gear. Just make sure you always have the next Incantation ready to get your health back up.

How to Pick a Starting Class in Elden Ring Wretch
Elden Ring’s Wretch class will have a hard time in The Lands Between with no armor.


Level 1

Starting Attributes: VIG: 10 / MND: 10 / END: 10 / STR: 10 / DEX: 10 / INT: 10 / FTH: 10 / ARC: 10

Starting Weapons and Items: Club

Starting Armor: Nothing. We hope you know how to dodge.

The Wretch is not a recommended starting class for someone new to ”Soulsbourne” style video games. The class starts at Level 1, far below all other options, and is only equipped with a lonely club for a weapon and no starting armor. That is right. You will be venturing forth into The Lands Between in your underwear. Starting attributes are low across the board, with no clear strength.

The Wretch is here for those players who want to make the game as hard as possible. You will have to be an expert at dodging or running away as you fight to find your initial gear. No armor means no damage mitigation, and even one blow from some enemies might be enough to take you out.

Once you get going, though, the Wretch is easy to build into whatever kind of character your heart desires, and when you finally beat the game, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you did it in the hardest possible way.

When you get to the character creation screen, which Elden Ring starting class are you picking? Let us know in the comments below.

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