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Elden Ring best starting class and best classes for your skill level

Classes, or Origins, are a key early choice in Elden Ring. But which is the best Elden Ring starting class?

Update: Elden Ring has received plenty of updates since it first launched. so we've updated the infomration in this guide to reflect that. Information is streamlined, with some additional details added to help you determine which starting class is best for you in Elden Ring.

Picking the best starting class in Elden Ring is the first big decision you're going to have to make in this massive open-world action RPG. FromSoftware’s style always gives players an enormous amount of freedom in crafting their character, and the same is true in Elden Ring to a degree that's almost overwhelming, especially if you're new to the series. On this page, we introduce the Elden Ring classes and discuss, briefly, which might be best for you. No matter if you're a novice or an expert Souls player, we've got Elden Ring starting class suggestions for you.

The Origin, which is Elden Ring’s name for the starting class, will determine your starting stats and equipment. While it’s possible to then spec in a different direction as you go or respec entirely, the starting class will have a huge impact on the early hours of the game at the very least. Like choosing the best Keepsake, it matters - but not so much that you'll be backed into a corner by choosing poorly.

Elden Ring starting classes

Before we get into choosing a class specifically, we should first talk about the differences between each of the classes in Elden Ring. With that in mind, let's first take a look at the character class origin stats, which are the primary way, alongside equipment, that each class differs:

Origin Class Level Vigor Mind Endurance Strength Dexterity Intelligence Faith Arcane
Vagabond 9 15 10 11 14 13 9 9 7
Warrior 8 11 12 11 10 16 10 8 9
Hero 7 14 9 12 16 9 7 8 11
Bandit 5 10 11 10 9 13 9 8 14
Astrologer 6 9 15 9 8 12 16 7 9
Prophet 7 10 14 8 11 10 7 16 10
Samurai 9 12 11 13 12 15 9 8 8
Prisoner 6 11 12 11 11 14 14 6 9
Confessor 10 10 13 10 12 12 9 14 9
Wretch 1 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10

It's important to remember that equipment can be replaced, but your starting stats can't - you're stuck with them, and even a respec will only return you to your default state - so your starting class gives your character a real specific start in the world, with you angled towards a specific play-style.

So, although it doesn't matter life-or-death level, it is slightly important. So, we're going to help you to choose by filling you in about the skill set of each class. Read on...

Best Elden Ring Starting Class

As we said briefly in the intro, the most important thing to understand about Elden Ring is that as you get deeper into the game, your choice of starting class will largely become irrelevant. You’ll be able to use Runes (that’s the new name for Souls, series fans) to level up and distribute stats as you wish, and you’ll pick up or be able to purchase a wide variety of equipment suitable for all play-styles from enemies, chests, and loot points out in the world.

With that said, your starting class will dominate the early hours of the game - and to that end, every one of the Origins in Elden Ring is viable for play, though some will make life more difficult than others and are therefore more suited for advanced players. For the most part, however, your choice of origin is about what sort of combat style you prefer.

In a sense, you can break down the ten different origin classes into three core groups: Melee, Magic, and Hybrids. For each of those three, there’s a basic all-rounder option and then more specialized, specific versions of each.

What's more, the Elden Ring starting class you should choose depends on your general skill level in Souls games. We've got a breakdown of class suggestions for beginners and more advanced players so you don't spend hours staring at that class selection screen, frozen with indecision.

Best Elden Ring Class for beginners - What starting class should newcomers choose?

If you’re brand-new to Souls-style games, we’d suggest starting out with the all-rounder class in your category of choice:

  • For melee, the basic starter is the Vagabond. It has a little bit of everything, and enough stats in each area to be proficient with a range of weapons and armor for a strength build, and they start with a shield. It’s a knight, basically. You won’t be able to use any magic without leveling in that direction, however. The other melee classes let you focus more specifically on elements like raw power or speed.
  • For magic, beginners should start with the Astrologer. Consider this your basic Mage, adept at spell-slinging and also equipped with a backup sword for emergencies. The high intelligence stat makes it easier to use some of the best spells in the game early on as well. Here's our best intelligence build.
  • If you want a beginner-friendly hybrid class, look no further than the Prisoner. This class is built quite defensively, with higher endurance and vigor even than the Confessor. It has good strength, dexterity, and intelligence, which means you get both spells and swords, and even bows once you find them. It’s still a bit fragile compared to the more melee-focused classes, though, so you'll want to find some good armor fairly quickly.
  • If you want an all-around solid class for melee with the added bonus of inflicting ailments, the Samurai is for you. It's a bit weaker than the Vagabond, but with higher endurance and, more importantly, much better dexterity. The Samurai starts with the Uchigatana, one of the best early-game weapons that inflicts bloodloss on enemies, and a long bow, which, unlike other clases, you can actually use straight away. It's a good start for building into a dexterity/bleed-focused build, too.

Best Elden Ring Class for advanced players - starting class for advanced Souls players

If you’re a more advanced player, or are feeling like a tough guy right from the off, you can pick one of the more advanced classes:

  • The Hero is the brute-strength melee attacker; all about hitting hard, intelligence and subtlety be damned.
  • The Warrior is a melee-focused counterpart to the Vagabond that’s built around making use of the more complex and specialized melee weapons - things like spears and curved swords. As such, it comes with a lofty starting Dexterity stat.
  • The Bandit is the one of two classes that starts with access to a bow. Otherwise, think of it as a Ranger in traditional RPG terms - all about the bow, daggers, backstabs, and the like. It's a glass cannon, and one for those who trust in their parrying skills, but the high arcane stat comes in handy for some of the game's later weapons.
  • The Prophet takes the skills of the Astrologer but goes for a more ‘pure’ mage built around Incantations such as Flame Sling, Lightning Strike, and dragon spells. It’s a subtle difference to its counterpart on paper, but the differences in play-style are quite large. Most of the best Incantations are only found later in the game and have high faith requirements, though the right Faith build can decimate even the strongest foes.
  • Finally, there’s the Wretch. This class is basically for experts; you start with no equipment except a club, and at level 1, but all your stats start at 10.

Remember that whatever you choose, anything is viable in Elden Ring. You can grind runes and level your character in a different direction, and later on you can respec your character - though not until quite deep into the game. Choose a class with a play-style you enjoy, and then you can gradually spec in a direction you like from there.

Unlike most RPGs, in Elden Ring the concept of ‘class’ is not a hard, immutable one. Over time, you’ll create your own class, and it’ll likely not entirely resemble any of the starters. Choose your class as a starting point, and little else; you’ll then quickly forge your own direction through experimentation.

You can find more help for that and a bunch of other concepts on our Elden Ring guide hub, by the way.

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