Elden Ring character classes guide: Samurai, Prisoner, Vagabond & more
Blaidd has already become of of Elden Ring’s most iconic characters.
Starting your first playthrough of Elden Ring? Here’s a breakdown of every character class you can use and what they’re best suited for.
Like every other Souls game, Elden Ring has a selection of character classes that help start your build and guide it down a specific path. Fancy playing the game as a spell-slinging sorcerer, a bold knight, or a deadly assassin? Then you’re in luck, you can be all of those things and more in Elden Ring.
You can also select a class that allows you to be a mixture of various classic Souls builds, picking a starting character that has a foot in two different camps when it comes to offensive capabilities and more. Perhaps you’d like to be a warrior-mage or a heavily armored holy cleric?
Whether you’re starting a new run or jumping into the DLC, here are all the starting character classes in Elden Ring.
- Elden Ring character classes: What’s different?
- All character classes in Elden Ring
- Former starting classes
Elden Ring character classes: What’s different?
As most people already know, Elden Ring is the latest entry in FromSoftware’s ‘Souls’ series, serving as a spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls (1-3), and Bloodborne. While the game is the start of a new franchise and universe, it bears much resemblance to what’s come before, including starting character classes.
However, there are some differences to previous Souls games this time around which could even stump Souls veterans. When it comes to Elden Ring’s character classes, certain terms and skills now mean something different things from what they meant in earlier games. For example, just because Arcane existed in Bloodborne doesn’t mean it’s serving the same purpose in Elden Ring. These changes have been identified below.
All character classes in Elden Ring
There are 10 character classes available in the Elden Ring. Here’s an explanation of each:
This is a class for seasoned Souls players or those that enjoy playing as a heavily armored tank or a powerful knight. The Vagabond resembles the Strength-based builds of Dark Souls, equipped with heavy armor and large swords.
The build makes use of strength, vigor, stamina, and little else, ignoring magic, faith, and dexterity in favor of pure physical dominance with a large health pool. While the starting class has been made with veteran Souls players in mind, new players who enjoy tank builds in RPGs will find a lot to like here.
However, it’s possible to build a templar style build by creating a Vagabond knight who also uses incantations to buff themselves and allies.
The Hero is equipped with light armor and a large axe, they are berserker-like warriors who hit hard up close but also use magic to blast enemies from a distance. In some ways, the Hero borrows elements from all the other classes, allowing the player to tailor them as they see fit.
They aren’t suited to heavy armor as they value maneuverability, but they make up for it with a large health pool and raw strength. The class risks becoming a Jack of all trades and a master of none in the wrong hands, but players that find their groove with the Hero are likely to create an effective build in PvE and PvP.
The class has a lot in common with the Vagabond in that they can be strength builds primarily, but there’s more room to tweak and customize a Hero. they’re well-suited for blended builds.
The Warrior is a classic Dexterity class in Elden Ring. In previous Souls games such as Demon’s Souls and the Dark Souls trilogy, the Warrior class was associated with strength and vitality. The sort of class that would swing a two-handed axe with Barbarian-themed armor – like the Hero class above.
However, in Elden Ring, the Warrior class is now more associated with roguelike qualities such as curved swords and bows. This is a class that typically moves quickly in medium armor, attacking enemies with a range of melee and projectile-based attacks. If you’re opting for a build that wields two swords or is a champion swordsman, then this is the class for you.
The Warrior doesn’t have as much health as some of the other classes and their combat style is based on agility and skill. It’s a risky starting class for beginners to Elden Ring, but the rewards follow in time. They can work well as warrior mages as their high-dexterity decreases casting time. This is a great class for a dexterity-intelligence build.
The Prophet is essentially a faith-based mage in Elden Ring, specializing in Incantations to either buff themselves and allies or to damage and curse enemies. Incantations are similar to Miracles from earlier Souls games and work a little differently from standard sorcery.
As far as gear is concerned, the Prophet will wear light armor to stay mobile and will generally avoid close combat. They will also have limited health, making them vulnerable to strength-based opponents. However, from a distance the Prophet is deadly, and the hard part is getting close to them.
Prophets are well suited to wielding Seal weapons which buff their incantations and make them extra deadly. They’re a mage of sorts, but Incantations work differently from standard sorceries. It’s possible to make a build that uses both, but most players like to focus on one of these disciplines and pour everything into them.
Every Souls game has a ‘naked’ starting class. One where the player character has a broken weapon, no weapon at all, limited stats, and starts the game wearing nothing but a loincloth. In Elden Ring, this is the Wretch character class.
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This class is for seasoned players who want to make the game as challenging as possible. Elden Ring’s director, Hidetaka Miyazaki has even cautioned new players against using this class in their first run – it would be wise to listen to him.
Elden Ring’s creepy-looking Prisoner class resembles a 19th-century diver, wearing a helmet that looks like it may have been sculpted around the character’s head rather than placed over it. Although, it can be removed in the game like every other helmet.
The Prisoner is also a Dexterity build, but one most suited to casting status aliments on their enemies like bleed and Scarlett Rot. Like the Warrior, they work well as dexterity-intelligence warrior-mage builds, even more so, in fact, as this is the primary purpose of the class rather than being a duelist character like the Warrior.
This is a class for Souls veterans who know what they’re doing and know exactly what build they want to create. However, anyone can try their hand and create something deadly from this Elden Ring starting class.
WARRIOR: A nomad warrior who fights wielding two blades at once. An origin of exceptional technique. PRISONER: A prisoner bound in an iron mask. Studied in glintstone sorcery, having lived among the elite prior to sentencing. Pre-Order #ELDENRING: https://t.co/oooEiDTmRv pic.twitter.com/IyzMhb8ZAt
— ELDEN RING (@ELDENRING) February 8, 2022
The Bandit starting character is another classic Dexterity class that’s well suited to using bows, daggers, and using stealth to sneak up on enemies. As the class evolves, they’ll become more reliant on special skills and abilities rather than using brute strength. They can also be used to create custom builds with sorceries and incantations, but their main draw is as a class roguish character, peeping enemies with arrows from afar.
BANDIT: A dangerous bandit who strikes for weak points. Excels at ranged combat with bows.
ASTROLOGER: A scholar who reads fate in the stars. Heir to the school of glintstone sorcery.
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— ELDEN RING (@ELDENRING) February 11, 2022
The Astrologer is the classic wizard/caster starting character in Elden Ring. While the Prophet relies on incantations (miracles for Souls veterans), the Astrologer will be for those who want to go all in with elemental magic – known as Glintstone sorcery in Elden Ring.
While Glintstone sorcery replaces Souls magic in Elden Ring, it’s essentially the same thing. Though those that build a caster in Elden Ring will be proficient will all sorts of magic spells and can become incredibly dangerous from a distance. Staves make up their weapon of choice but there are also lots of magic buffing sorts on offer in the game.
VAGABOND: A knight exiled from their homeland to wander. A solid, armor-clad origin.
HERO: A stalwart hero, at home with a battleaxe, descended from a badlands chieftain.
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— ELDEN RING (@ELDENRING) February 4, 2022
The Confessor class is a faith and dexterity build which as previous Souls players will tell you, can be deadly in the right hands.
It’s also a class players have often had to build for themselves, so it’s great to see FromSoftware finally offer such a blend as a starting class. Expect these characters to be nimble on their feet, dangerous from a distance, and constantly casting buffs.
While some classes above, like the Prisoner, are well suited to Dexterity and Intelligence, the Confessor is a dex class for those who also want to use faith to Smite their enemies. A Confessor build is likely to have a light weapon in one hand and a Seal in the other.
CONFESSOR: A church spy adept at covert operations. Equally adept with a sword as they are with their incantations.
SAMURAI: A capable fighter from the distant Land of Reeds. Handy with katana and longbows.
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— ELDEN RING (@ELDENRING) February 15, 2022
All former Souls games have flirted with a samurai build, many of them including an Eastern NPC with matching armor and a katana.
Their quests were similar and cliched, with that character hunting for a certain sword which you inevitably find, only for them to battle you to the death for it. Elden Ring may include such a quest, but it’s awesome to see FromSoftware finally committing to a starting Samurai class.
This is a Dexterity build that also makes use of heavy armor, so you can take down your enemies with rapid-fire strikes and skill, and still take advantage of health, endurance, and power.
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