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Dark Souls Remastered class and leveling guide

QLOC/FromSoftware/Bandai Namco

Dark Souls Remastered always has the advantage. It’s purposefully, unrelentingly difficult, and often the only way to survive is by trying and failing over and over again until you figure it out. It’s a long, grueling process, but the feeling of defeating the insurmountable makes it all worth it.

Our Dark Souls Remastered class guide is designed to tips the scales in your favor — to a point. In every Dark Souls game, the fun is the challenge. We’re not here to take that away from you. Instead, we’ve designed this guide to teach you (or reacquaint you with) the language of the series — and the faster you become fluent in the languages of classes, combat, leveling and more, the better.

The difference between classes

Dark Souls Remastered divides its characters into classes. Many of the character classes will look familiar to RPG veterans, but Dark Souls Remastered has its own twists. In this section, we’ll help you choose a starting class.

The biggest differences between the starting classes are the points poured into their various attributes — Vitality, Attunement, Endurance, Strength, Dexterity, Resistance, Intelligence and Faith. Even the gear you start with is basically an affirmation of those stats.

Sorcerers, for example, have a bunch of points allocated to Intelligence, which makes sense since you need that to cast spells. Knights have relatively low Intelligence, but they have more Strength than anything else, which is what you’d want if you’re planning on swinging, say, a gigantic, two-handed club while wearing armor as thick as rhino skin. A Thief, on the other hand, has a lot of Dexterity and Vigor, perfect for swinging little, light weapons like a dagger. You can check out a gallery of the starting classes below to get a look at them and their stats, too.

How to choose a class

Which class you choose in Dark Souls Remastered depends on how you want to approach combat. You might want to fight up close, from a distance or some mix of the two.

If you’re a brawler, choose a Knight. If you prefer to fight from a distance, choose a Sorcerer. If you’d like a balance between the two, the Pryomancer is a good choice. If you want to be nimble, rolling in and out of risky fights, then a Thief is up your class. If you’re up for an even bigger challenge but you want to custom build your character, go with Deprived.

You can gain an enormous advantage early in the game by building a non-traditional Sorcerer. (More about that below.)

A strategy for leveling up

OK. You’ve chosen your class. Now what?

Every character levels up, becoming more powerful as you allocate points into eight attributes — again, Vitality, Attunement, Endurance, Strength, Dexterity, Resistance, Intelligence and Faith.

As you play Dark Souls Remastered, you’ll earn Souls, which serve as a universal currency. (These mostly come from killing enemies, but you can also find them as items scattered around the world.) You can just as easily spend Souls to level up or purchase armor and weapons. Early in the game, you should stick to your starting weapons and focus on leveling up.

So there you are, sitting at a bonfire, and you’re all ready to level up. It can be intimidating, looking at a screen full of numbers and vague descriptions, but there’s a simple rule you can employ when leveling in the early game: Look at the starting stats for your character and pump your first levels into the attributes with the highest numbers. Higher numbers are better for your class, and pumping Souls into them is nothing more than playing to your class’ strengths.

If you’re a Sorcerer, then pour points into Intelligence. If you’re a Pryomancer, Intelligence and Faith are your friends. You can’t go wrong giving a Bandit more Endurance and Strength.

What you shouldn’t do, though, is spread your attribute points across all your stats in Dark Souls Remastered. You’d just end up equally underwhelming in every attribute. Instead, focus on your already-strong stats and keep bumping them up — that will just keep making your Sorcerer better at spell casting or your Knight better at hitting things. It’ll actually make your game easier, too. You won’t have to choose between a lot of options when you react to an attack — you’ll only have your (limited) strengths to work with.

You’ll still have to bump up other stats from time to time — things like Vitality to make you less of a glass cannon or Endurance so you don’t get winded running up every flight of stairs — but keep focusing on your strongest stats whenever you can.

Break a tie with weapons

What if you can’t decide between attributes? Break the tie with your weapons.

Each weapon in Dark Souls Remastered becomes more powerful when you pour your Souls into certain attributes. This is the weapon’s ParamBonus. If you find that your weapons like certain attributes, then you now know what to level up.

QLOC/FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

ParamBonuses run from “—” to “S” alphabetically —, E, D, C, B, A, S. The Image above shows the Club, which has a ParamBonus of A to Strength (the strong arm icon). Level up your character’s Strength stat, and your Club will deal more damage.

Suggested build: The strong Sorcerer

Now that you understand leveling and class basics, which class should you choose?

If you’re looking for a suggestion, we’ve got one handy: Sorcerers and their spells have a big advantage in the early game. They don’t make it easy, but they can make it easier.

It’s difficult to overstate the advantage of of having ranged weapons like the Sorcerer’s Catalyst. They open up entire universes of possibilities.

A class like a Thief has exactly one way to fight an enemy you can’t sneak up on and backstab: getting up dangerously close and hacking away with a little dagger. It’s perfectly valid, but it’s a lot more dangerous than firing blue magic at them from a dozen yards away.

Ranged weapons aren’t a requirement, but being able to strike from a distance will make your life immeasurably easier when you begin the game as a weakling (like every class does).

To be a strong Sorcerer, you’ll be dumping a lot of Souls into your Intelligence stat so that your spells deal more damage.

This is where the other benefit of Sorcerers becomes apparent: They’re almost ready to wield a surprising number of other Strength- and Dexterity-based weapons. (Strength and Dexterity are related stats in Dark Souls Remastered that govern certain weapons. In broad strokes, Strength is for simple, blunt force trauma weapons like Clubs. You really only need to be strong enough to raise and whack someone with a club. There’s no finesse involved. Dexterity is for weapons that require strength and a bit of finesse — you have to be strong and nimble to use stabbing weapons like rapiers.)

With just a point or three of strength (and a quick trip to the shop), you’ll have a scimitar- or club-wielding Sorcerer. Alternately, you can drop a couple points into Dexterity and wield a rapier instead.

In short, a strong Sorcerer pours points into Intelligence for magic use and Strength (and possibly Dexterity) for powerful weapon use.