Choosing the best starting gift and class in Dark souls is the same you'd face in any new role-playing game. Which one-time choice should I pick when I don't even know what I'm up against?
Thankfully, whatever choice you make - or have made if you are reading this after the fact - won't make a real impact on your playthrough.
You can still use the same skills other classes have, while the other gifts can be found on your adventure through other means.
That said, there are advantages to some options over others, which we explain with our picks for best class and best gift in Dark Souls.
Dark Souls classes - why Pyromancer is our choice for the best class to start with
When starting Dark Souls, you'll be presented with a big chart while you create your character asking what class you'd like to pick. This can be daunting to more than a few players, with lists of stats and charts full of options that you might not be able to get your head around.
The classes are as follows:
|Warrior||Weapon expert, high strength and dexterity|
|Knight||High HP, solid armour, not easily toppled.|
|Wanderer||Wields scimitar, high dexterity|
|Thief||High critial hits, has the Master Key|
|Bandit||High strength, wields heavy battle axe|
|Hunter||Wields bow, weak with magic and decent at close range|
|Sorcerer||Casts soul sorceries|
|Pyromancer||Casts fire spells and wields a hand axe|
|Cleric||Wields a mace and casts healing miracles|
|Deprived||Unclothed, only armed with club and old shield|
Be aware that your starting class does not dictate what skills or abilities you're able to use, and instead is only a 'starter' build to help you out at the beginning of the game.
As such, we'd recommend that you start with the Pyromancer class. It might not have the shiniest armour out of the gate, but does however have a large number of options and skills available to them.
The most notable of these is the Pyromancy Flame, with Fireball in your Spell Slot as soon as you start the game. Equip the Pyromancy Flame in your offhand once you've completed the tutorial, and you will be able to hurl ranged fireballs that do some pretty decent damage.
The other benefit of this is that you will be kiting enemies out of areas, and the Fireball is an excellent lure to get them out of their spots and potentially stop an ambush.
Other classes, such as the Sorcerer and Hunter also have ranged options, but none of them are anywhere near as effective as the Pyromancy Flame from the start of the game.
Additionally, you will be able to free a Pyromancer in the Undead Burg, who will then upgrade your Pyromancy Flame to do even more damage.
The best part? You don't even need anything else other than souls to upgrade it to a decent level, and you will also have access to a number of other spells to equip.
Other than the Pyromancy Flame, the Pyromancer also has access to the Hand Axe, this will also help you out a lot during the start of your journey, as a weapon that has decent-enough range to take on close-range enemies and versatile in sticky situations with its varied one handed and two handed movesets.
If you're looking for more help, our Dark Souls walkthrough and guide can help with all other areas of the game, including the dreaded Taurus Demon, Capra Demon, Ornstein and Smough bosses. Meanwhile, we have explainers on how to access DLC Artorias of the Abyss, the best gift and best class in Dark Souls, Dark Souls' best weapons, Dark Souls Covenants, Dark Souls Estus Flasks locations, Dark Souls Titanite Slab locations and NPC quests including Lautrec of Carim.
Dark Souls gifts - Why the Master Key is the best starting gift to choose
As well as the choice of a class, you can pick one of many gifts to help you on your adventure. These are:
|None||Start with no gift|
|Goddess's Blessing||Fully restores HP and status|
|Black Firebomb||Explodes upon impact; more deadly than standard bomb|
|Twin Humanities||Gives you two humanity|
|Binoculars||User to peer at faraway sights|
|Pendant||No effect, but can be traded with Snuggly the Crow for Souvenir of Reprisal|
|Master Key||Opens any basic lock|
|Tiny Being's Ring||Grants a small increase to HP|
|Old Witch's Ring||Trade with Snuggly the Crow for Sunlight Maggot helmet; can understand Quelaag's sister when equipped|
There is nothing here that will make or break your game (and contrary to what the game says, nothing is truly useless), so you are free to pick whatever you like without missing out.
However, given the choice, we recommend going for the Master Key. This will let you unlock most locked doors in Dark Souls, and also allows you to break the traditional path that most players use to finish the game in order to get something that'll see you through the first half of the game - the Crimson Set.
Beware, this path is not for the faint of heart, as you will likely die trying to get this loot a fair few times.
From Firelink Shrine, turn around after getting to the bonfire and head down, from there, you will eventually find a lift, leading to New Londo Ruins.
Once you arrive, make your way down the stairs and ignore the docile hollows and hang right until you see another lift. This lift will take you back up and to a locked door. Unlock it with the Master Key and you will arrive in the Valley of Drakes.
From here, hang left and go across the small wooden bridge and into the cave you see ahead of you. From here, there are three trolls that will definitely want to kill you, speed past these, and head into Blighttown.
Run towards a ladder heading down, then go down the next four ladders you see until you encounter a giant firebug. Hug the wall and walk off (trust us here!) and you will then land on a platform, head left from here and across a branch, where poison knives will be thrown at you, so run ahead as fast as you can. From here, you will encounter another Firebug that will try to kill you.
Just ahead, and you will find the Crimson Set, which is incredibly light, which allows for a decent light roll early on, and is better than any starting armour. You can also find a remedy spell here. Now, you can either try to make your way back up, and die to spawn back in Firelink Shrine.
Follow these steps, and you will be fully kitted out for a pretty easy ride through the Undead Burg and Undead Parish to ring the first bell. If you're struggling, or if it's your first time playing, then maybe getting to this Bell first and learning the mechanics, then attempting this run, will suit you better.
Even if you don't use this route, the Master Key will allow you to open other doors on your adventure, and is much more useful compared to the common or one-use gifts you're otherwise offered.