- Elden Ring is the highly anticipated next souls-like game by FromSoftware
- The different classes offer wildly different gameplay and decide how you approach combat
- The closed network test had five playable character classes and we help you decide which one is best for you
The Elden Ring Closed Network Test offered us a glimpse into the game’s future and as you can read in our first-impressions article, we are pretty optimistic about its chances as a serious contender for Game of the Year 2022. While there most people were focussing on beating all of the bosses and discovering all of the hidden secrets, we spent most of our time trying out the different classes.
Most of the FromSoftware soulslikes have around ten classes to choose from at the start of the game, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. While the beta only had five of them available, we’ll do a deep dive into what makes them tick and hopefully help you make the correct choice when the game launches on February 25th.
The Warrior is the class with the most Dexterity of them all. You’re starting equipment is two scimitars, making it the only dual-wielding starting class, capable of quick hits in rapid succession. In melee fights, the Warrior prefers multiple quick attacks for low damage over slow but powerful blows.
Because of your light armor and lack of a shield, you’re going to want to dodge roll as often as possible or keep enough distance between yourself and the enemies. Your DPS is high, but you’re also more vulnerable.
Despite the melee loadout, you’re going to want to find a bow as quickly as possible because Dexterity builds like this one are ideal for it. More Dexterity means bigger damage from your ranged weaponry so that will also be the main attribute to invest your points in.
Recommended for: Veteran soulslike players who can easily master the timing on dodges
The Enchanted Knight is the class with the highest Intelligence and despite the appearance, it is the closest thing to a mage you can pick. It comes equipped with a staff and the default magic attack is homing spells that can hit enemies from a large distance.
Because of its high strength, you can also equip rather heavy armor and it even had the best shield in the network test, making it a great build for tanking some damage.
It seems similar to my first ever Dark Souls character build in that it could deal a lot of magic damage from afar but if needed could also use that magic to enchant physical weapons in case you come across a boss with high magic resistance.
This is the perfect build for players who don’t have the fastest reflexes and love to cheese enemies with long-distance spells as they get stuck in the scenery. Out on the open, it’s also one of the easiest classes to use on horseback as the spells zoom in on their targets while you stay far away from any danger yourself.
If you level up, be sure to spend points on Strength and Intelligence first and foremost.
Recommended for: Starting players who like to keep a distance from enemies. But this class can still take some damage as well thanks to the shield.
The Prophet is kind of the monk character class you may know from other games. Instead of Sorcery & Intelligence, this build has most of its skill points distributed among Faith & Mind and uses a different kind of spell: incantations. Instead of using straight-up damaging spells, you can expect things like buffs and debuffs.
That’s not to say it can’t deal a lot of magical damage as the Beast Claw attack it has available will do medium-range damage to multiple enemies and is perfect for taking on groups of them. Because of its high Mind stat, you also have a larger FP bar which means you get to cast more spells, in fact, you’ll pretty much be relying on them constantly, so make sure you have enough Cerulean Flasks on you to refill that bar.
When you level up, you’ll probably end up investing most of the slots into Faith, but I’d also recommend upgrading the vigor a bit so you offput the lower defense by having more HP.
Now, this doesn’t impact the gameplay all that much, but I personally wasn’t a big fan of how their gear looks, so if you care about aesthetics at all, that may also be a consideration to keep into account. FromSoftware titles typically don’t have any transmog options so whatever your equipment looks like: it will keep looking like that.
Recommended for: Players that like to buff themselves or other players and who also like to do a lot of damage to large groups of enemies.
The Champion is similar to the Prophet in a few ways: it also uses incantations and even has one of the most effective ones from the beta in the Dragon Breath attack. It’s similar to Beast Claws, but trades damage output for additional spread and rage. (it also looks really impressive)
It takes a bit longer to charge though, but if you wanted you could keep on casting it by holding down the attack button and it will just empty your FP bar and trade it for damage. This is also the main reason I would recommend investing points into Mind when leveling up.
Where I had a remark on the Prophet’s look, I have one on the sound here. Repeatedly using the Dragon Breath attack is going to be your main offensive option, and while it looks and sounds cool, the sound effect will get annoying FAST.
Visually, you look more like a barbarian as well and you come equipped with an axe that has significant damage output, so when you do empty your FP bar, you can still go on the physical offensive.
Recommended for: Players who want to look like a badass who breathes fire. It’s perfect for dealing with groups of enemies and because of its range, you can also cheese a fair amount of bosses with it.
The Bloody Wolf is about the most all-around physical character you can pick in Elden Ring and feels like a classic Dark Souls knight, despite its cool new name. This is the class with the highest Strength and Vigor stats, making it perfect for surviving enemy attacks, blocking them with your shield, and countering with heavy damage output.
Because of how many groups of enemies you’re facing in Elden Ring, the progression with this class will feel significantly slower than if you’re using any of the classes with AoE attacks. You’ll need to take it slow but steady, but at the same time, combat also feels more rewarding.
You can somewhat counteract the lack of magic spells by enchanting your sword with Ashes of War, particularly the Thunderbolt one to give you a medium-ranged spell against smaller enemies or the Glint one to grow your weapon to even larger proportions and thwack even bosses for large chunks of their health bar.
When leveling up, keep spending most of your points into Strength to increase your damage output, but it also comes with the added bonus of letting you equip heavy armor without sacrificing mobility.
Lastly, and this is very much a personal opinion, it also looks really awesome.
Recommended for: Players who are seeking the classic Dark Souls experience with blocking, dodge rolling and up-close sword-wielding. Best for somewhat experienced players.
We hope this character class overlook has given you some extra insights into Elden Ring and will make the choice easier when the game launches in February or when FromSoftware and Bandai Namco decided to do an open beta before then.
Elden Ring is truly a game worth looking out for and will keep players entertained for many, many hours as the different character classes offer a lot of replayability to the game.
Want to read more? Be sure to check our hands-on preview article as well!