Soulsborne games all sport an open-ended combat system that lets players tailor their equipment, spells, and stats to their preferred playstyle. However, each title offers audiences some guiding advice in the form of a class’ starting stats and equipment, and Elden Ring is no different.
Recently, a small selection of gaming news outlets and content creators were invited to take Elden Ring for a spin. These lucky gamers got to wander never-before-seen locations, meet many unfriendly locals, and test drive the game’s starting classes. In true Soulsborne fashion, players can start Elden Ring with one of ten classes, each with their own stat distributions, equipment, and strategies. While players will be free to customize their characters past those beginner builds when the game comes out, those early previewers got to see how each class will affect the early hours of the game.
Here’s what we know so far about the starting archetypes in Elden Ring based on the early preview. Please note that every class starts with a Keepsake, which are functionally the same as Dark Souls’ Starting Gifts, and a Vision of Grace, which lets players return to their previous checkpoint at the cost of all their runes (i.e., money/EXP). Also, since we sadly didn’t get to participate in the early preview, some additional information is not currently available. This article will be updated as those additional details are revealed.
Elden Ring: Every Stat Explained
Before we begin, we should talk about what stats in Elden Ring actually mean. The game has 8 stats in total that determine a character’s combat prowess. These include Vigor, Mind, Endurance, Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Arcane. Here is how each stat functions:
Vigor: Increases HP and resistance to fire and poison
Mind: Increases FP (aka mana) and resistance to sleep and madness
Endurance: Increases stamina, physical defense, and resistance to hemorrhage and frostbite
Strength: Increases physical damage and the total weight of equipped items a character can carry
Dexterity: Increases physical damage and reduces spell casting time and fall damage
Intelligence: Increases magic attack and defense; Sorceries scale with this stat
Faith: Incantations scale with this stat
Arcane: Increases the odds of finding items on dead enemies and resistance to Instant Death; Sorceries and Incantations scale with this stat
Elden Ring: Hero Class Starting Stats and Equipment
If players wanted a melee class that focused on health, stamina, and crushing blows during the Elden Ring network test, they probably selected the Champion. That class has seemingly been supplanted by the Hero, which starts off at level 7. The Hero begins with 14 Vigor, 9 Mind, 12 Endurance, 16 Strength, 9 Dexterity, 7 Intelligence, 8 Faith, and 11 Arcane. Moreover, this class comes equipped with a battle axe and leather shield.
While the Hero isn’t quite the most durable class in Elden Ring, it is still up there in survivability and ideal for players who want to demolish enemies without worrying too much about character fragility. Plus, their Arcane stat gives them more magical aptitude than the average melee fighter.
Elden Ring: Bandit Class Starting Stats and Equipment
In many fantasy games, bandits, thieves, and rogues are all stealthy classes that are extremely adept at finding loot and ending fights with a knife in someone’s back. The Bandit in Elden Ring is no different. This class starts at level 5 and sports 10 Vigor, 11 Mind, 10 Endurance, 9 Strength, 13 Dexterity, 9 Intelligence, 8 Faith, and 14 Arcane. Bandits also start the game wielding a knife, short bow, buckler, and bone arrows (fletched).
Since the Bandit isn’t durable, they can soften up enemies from afar (the Bandit is one of only two melee archetypes that starts with a ranged weapon) and finish them off with a well-placed strike. Moreover, because of their stats and equipment, Bandits excel in parrying blows, and their high Arcane stats give them a solid boost to all magic spells. However, odds are a Bandit’s Arcane stat will mostly be used for finding treasure.
Elden Ring: Astrologer Class Starting Stats and Equipment
Most fantasy games sport a stereotypical mage class that is physically frail but can nuke enemies from afar with devastating spells. The Astrologer appears to fill that role by focusing on Sorceries. This class starts at level 6 with 9 Vigor, 15 Mind, 9 Endurance, 8 Strength, 12 Dexterity, 16 Intelligence, 7 Faith, and 9 Arcane. Moreover, the Astrologer begins their adventure with a staff (a crucial component for Intelligence-based spells), shortsword, and shield.
There’s not much else to say about the Astrologer at the moment. The class’ high magic stats lets them defeat (or cripple) many enemies without getting their hands dirty, but once an Astrologer’s mana runs out, they are in trouble.
Elden Ring: Warrior Class Starting Stats and Equipment
The Warrior was also one of the starting classes in Elden Ring’s Closed Network Test. While the class will make it to the game’s final release, they will start off with negligibly different stats. Despite what the name implies, Warriors are not quite sword-and-bard tanks but instead whirling dervishes that land blows faster than other melee classes (albeit not as hard). Warriors start at level 8 with 11 Vigor, 12 Mind, 11 Endurance, 10 Strength, 16 Dexterity, 10 Intelligence, 8 Faith, and 9 Arcane. Moreover, Warriors come equipped with 2 scimitars and a buckler.
Essentially, the Warrior is ideal for players who want to channel the strategy of “death by 1000 cuts.” The class’ durability and magic stats leave something to be desired, but their speed cannot be denied, especially in a game where killing enemies is only half as important as quickly backing away from their attacks.
Elden Ring: Prisoner Class Starting Stats and Equipment
Prisoners are a sort of hybrid class that combines the spellcasting of an Astrologer with the deftness of a Bandit. Prisoners begin their journey at level 9 with 11 Vigor, 12 Mind, 11 Endurance, 11 Strength, 14 Dexterity, 14 Intelligence, 6 Faith, and 9 Arcane. They also start with an estoc, a staff, and a shield.
If players can’t decide between a melee class and an offensive magic build, the Prisoner might serve as a decent compromise.
Elden Ring: Prophet Class Starting Stats and Equipment
The Prophet is another class that made it out of the Closed Network Test and into the final build of Elden Ring with only slightly altered stats. As the name suggests, they utilize faith-based magic that can heal allies and damage enemies. This specialization makes Prophets the game’s other dedicated spell class, this time for Incantation spells. Each Prophet begins their pilgrimage at level 7 with 10 Vigor, 14 Mind, 8 Endurance, 12 Strength, 8 Dexterity, 7 Intelligence, 16 Faith, and 11 Arcane. Moreover, Prophets come equipped with a spear, finger seal (a necessary catalyst for Faith-based spells), and rickety shield. They start the game with the spell Heal (which is self-explanatory ) and a Beast Claw, which rakes the ground in front of them with five damaging waves.
Even though the Prophet isn’t as durable as other classes, their magic makes up for their shortcomings. That’s especially true of the Heal spell which should be incredibly valuable since curative items in Elden Ring are, in classic Soulsborne tradition, short supply. However, like the Astrologer, once the Prophet runs out of mana, they’re in trouble.
Elden Ring: Confessor Class Starting Stats and Equipment
If the Prisoner is a mix of Bandit and Astrologer, then the Confessor class combines the Hero and Prophet. The Confessor starts the class at level 10, the highest of any beginning archetype, and sports 10 Vigor, 13 Mind, 10 Endurance, 12 Strength, 12 Dexterity, 9 Intelligence, 14 Faith, and 9 Arcane. In their journeys, Confessors bring along a broadsword, a shield, and a finger seal.
The Confessor can be considered a demi-replacement for the Enchanted Knight class from the Closed Network Test, albeit with a focus on Incantations rather than Sorceries. Still, much like the Prisoner, the Confessor is another good choice for players who can’t decide between magic and melee.
Elden Ring: Vagabond Class Starting Stats and Equipment
While most melee classes are geared towards stats that let them quickly defeat opponents, the Vagabond instead focuses on survivability. This tank class starts at level 9 with 15 Vigor, 10 Mind, 11 Endurance, 14 Strength, 13 Dexterity, 9 Intelligence, 9 Faith, and 7 Arcane. Moreover, Vagabonds begin with a longsword, halberd, and shield.
The Vagabond is geared towards players who like to play defensively with heavy armor. That doesn’t mean the Vagabond can’t cleave enemies effectively, just that they are better at shrugging off blows than other classes.
Elden Ring: Samurai Class Starting Stats and Equipment
Many starting builds in Soulsborne games are geared towards a certain playstyle, but some players prefer to play as a jack of all trades: a class that doesn’t excel in any one strategy but can easily adapt on the fly. In Elden Ring, that class is the Samurai. This archetype sports fairly balanced physical stats with an emphasis on dexterity. The Samurai starts at level 9 and comes with 12 Vigor, 11 Mind, 13 Endurance, 12 Strength, 15 Dexterity, 9 Intelligence, 8 Faith, and 8 Arcane. Moreover, Samurai are decked out in the equipment of their foreign homeland, including an uchigatana, a longbow, a Red Thorn Roundshield, bone arrows (fletched), and firebone arrows (fletched).
Each of the Samurai’s weapons comes with a Weapon Art (aka. a skill) that lets them unleash damaging, single strikes. While these skills aren’t as visually impressive as others in the game, they make for solid attacks and guarantee the Samurai is deadly at any range.
Elden Ring: Wretch Class Starting Stats and Equipment
Soulsborne titles are known for their tough-yet-fair difficulty, but some players want to start with an even bigger handicap. Dark Souls and its sequels have the Deprived class, while Elden Ring offers the Wretch. Like the Deprived, the Wretch starts at level 1, but instead of having stats that are 11 across the board, the Wretch’s stats are all 10. Plus, Deprived all have a shield and club; the Wretch only has a club to their name with no shield in sight.
Players who want an extra, hair-pulling level of challenge will likely start as a Wretch.