Dark Souls 3 Quality Build
Dark Souls 3's quality build should be considered the top build in the game. Most quality builds are evenly split between STR and DEX, but some builds have lower STR to put those points somewhere else and force themselves to two-hand heavier strength weapons.
The starting class for this particular build is the knight, but the deprived or warrior starting classes are also good options. If you went with deprived, your SL 150 stats will be skewed a little bit (30 END, 10 LCK) and the perfect SL 125 build won't work. The warrior gives you one more point due to the extremely low ATT, FAI, and INT but I'd rather have the attunement slot.
Pay careful attention to the notes below, because the SL 100 and SL 150 versions have different stat requirements than the SL 125 build. You will have to respec at some point if you don't plan accordingly.
Starting Class: Knight
|Stat||SL 6||SL 100||SL 125||SL 150|
* Only level INT/FAI if you plan on leveling to SL 150 (or SL 127), otherwise leave INT and FAI alone and put the points into VIG (or possibly DEX, but you don't need the extra dexterity at that level).
** You'll want to level INT and FAI to 10 and keep VIT to 30 at SL 150; if you decide against this suggestion, spend the points in END. This allows you recruit Orbeck of Vinheim and the option to use Carthus Flame Arc, Power Within, Magic Weapon, or Spook in your attunement slot (or Heal, Replenishment, or Caressing Tears with a Priestess Ring).
The highest strength requirement in the game is 50 for the Fume Ultra Greatsword and the highest dexterity requirement is 28 for the Darkdrift. Equipping a Carthus Milkring gives you +3 DEX, so 25 is a good stoping point for DEX as you level your character.
Intelligence and faith requirements are a little harsh for certain weapons, but a 10/10 split will work in most cases (Demon's Greataxe being the exception at 12/12, so adjust the build accordingly if you want to use that weapon).
Tears of Denial Variation
Starting Class: Knight
|Stat||SL 6||SL 100||SL 125||SL 150|
The Tears of Denial variation has the same premise as the traditional quality build, but makes room for a miracle called Tears of Denial. It's a permanent self buff that prevents your character from dying one time and is particularly useful in PvP to prevent deaths from backstabs. Since the spell requires two attunement slots, your character's starting stats are even more imporant so from a min/max point of view, it's only worth doing if you start out as a knight.
Tears of Denial (2 attunement slots, 15 FAI)
After buffing yourself, a lethal hit will reduce your HP to 1 and remove the buff (keeping you alive for one more attack). As mentioned earlier, great in PvP to prevent being one shot and it's useful in PvE for prevent death from falls (assuming the fall wouldn't kill you from 100% health anyways).
One of the biggest benefits to playing a quality build is that virtually every weapon is available to you. It's great for newer players to figure out their weapon preferences and is flexible for experienced players to get extra practice with weapons that they might struggle against.
The only important thing to know is that you'll want to infuse your weapons as refined or possibly heavy (rarely sharp). Pretty much every weapon scales differently, so you'll want level a regular weapon to +9 or +10 before you infuse it, then check which infusion provides more damage for your particular stats.
Shields and other Off-Hand Equipment
Grass Crest Shield
The Grass Crest Shield is your go-to shield. It provides additional stamina regeneration, making it extremely important for melee-focused builds, like the quality build. The parry weapon art is an added bonus even though you'll often find this shield on your back while you two-hand a heavier weapon (you'll still get the stamina regeneration bonus).
Simple-infused Cestus (or Parrying Shield/Dagger)
Sorry for the winded title, but the best option for an off-hand that isn't the Grass Crest Shield is a simple-infused Cestus. The two points are the following:
- The cestus is the best parrying weapon in the game, it's better than a buckler, target shield, or parrying dagger.
- Simple-infused weapons gradually restore FP and weapon art will deal 100% damage as long as you have at least 1 FP. This will pretty much guarentee that you are able to use your weapon art.
Like the Grass Crest Shield, you'll still get the passive FP regeneration if this weapon is in your off-hand while you are two-handing a weapon.
100% Block Shields
There are a bunch of 100% block shields in the game, but keep an eye out for any of the crest shields not already named Grass Crest Shield. These shields will provide extra resistances to some sort of elemental damage in the game.
Note: Shield of Want is heavy and requires 18 STR, but is nice to have for the bonus experience. Have it on hand for boss fights and switch to it before the souls are rewarded from killing the boss (you'll have about 5 seconds from when you kill the boss to equip it).
For the most part, armor is up to you. Some guidelines for equipping armor is the following:
- Always equip four pieces or armor. Even if they provide very small benefits, it's still better than nothing and the bonuses almost always outweight the equipment load.
- Keep your equipment load under 70% so you can medium roll. Slow rolling is very bad in Dark Souls 3 and you'll know when you are slow rolling, it takes forever to recover.
- Fast rolling doesn't provide as much of a benefit as it did in other Dark Souls games, so it's no longer required to be under 30%.
- Your equipment load determines how far you roll, so 50% equipment load will allow you roll further than 60%. Toy around with your equipment load to figure out the distance that you prefer.
To help you out, some of the popular armor sets that you might want to try out are Dancer's Armor, Alva's Armor, and Armor of the Sun.
Ring of Favor (Increases HP by 3%/4%/5%, stamina by 10%/11%/12%, and equipment load by 5%/6%/7%)
This ring does everything. A miniature Life Ring combined with a mini Havel's Ring. It's also the only ring in the game that increases stamina.
Cloranthy Ring (Raises stamina regeneration by 7/8/9 per second)
Better stamina regeneration means less time between attacks, dodges, and casts. More useful against mobile enemies (including players), but still kind of nice to have.
Carthus Milk Ring (Increases DEX by 3 and obscures rolling)
A PvP ring that's mainly used for hiding the direction that you roll. It increases your DEX by 3, it's especially useful if you want to use this build with Darkdrift at SL 100.
Havel's Ring (Increases equipment load by 15%/17%/18%)
Since your equipment load is rather high, the percentage equipment load increase from Havel's Ring is pretty good for this build. It's especially useful if you are two-handing a heavy weapon.
Leo Ring (Strengthen thrust weapon counter attacks by 15%)
If you are using a weapon that has the thrust weapon type, you'll want to equip the Leo Ring.
Lloyd's Sword Ring (Increases attack rating by 10% when HP is full)
Another free damage boost, but it can get turned off rather easily.
Hornet Ring (Increases critical strike damage by 30%)
If you like backstabbing or parrying attacks, this ring is fantastic. It gives you 30% additional damage with no drawback (and might even let you make some more friends because some old school players despise this ring).
Priestess Ring (Increases FAI by 5)
The Priestess Ring allows you to use some miracles for PvE. If you have 10 FAI and you equip this ring, you'll have access to Replenishment, otherwise this ring opens up Heal, Caressing Tears, and the option of using the chime's Gentle Prayer weapon art.
Silvercat Ring (Removes fall damage)
Since the fourth ring is swappable, the Silvercat Ring is nice to have when you plan on taking fall damage. Fall damage is rather common in PvE and can lead to some very funny situations in PvP.
This section only really applies if you have 10 INT and 10 FAI. If you decided against leveling those stats, you're extremely limited in options and just put Fireball or Fire Orb in your attunement slot and call it good if you want damage. Flash Sweat (vs fire damage), Profuse Sweat (general PvP), or Iron Flesh (probably not) offer some utility depending on what you are doing.
Note: You won't be able to even equip a chime or talisman without 10 FAI, so you're extremely limited on that front. You can't even use Heal Aid or the Chime's Gentle Prayer weapon art.
Carthus Flame Arc (or Magic Weapon)
If you are using a weapon that can be buffed with resin or rouge, this is a great option for your attunement slot.
Note: Magic Weapon is an option early in the game, but you'll want to switch to Carthus Flame Arc once it's available. Magic Weapon only provides 75 + (Spell Buff / 100) additional magic damage. Carthus Flame Arc provides 82 + (Spell Buff / 100) additional fire damage.
This buff increases poison, bleed, frost, and curse resistances by 80 points. This spell is a lot better than I would have expected because of the flat bonuses; heavier armors tend to lack resistances in favor of reducing damage, so the flat bonus is great (especially in PvP where you might run into more bleed build that you'd like).
This buff provides an additional 30% bonus to fire resistances. Unlike Profuse Sweat, you'll see greater benefits from this spell if you are wearing armor with high fire resistances. Basically, if you have good fire resistances, this is a great spell, otherwise skip in in favor of Profuse Sweat or Spook.
Spook reduces your noise and prevent fall damage. It's basically on this list because you have the attunement slot and you might as well use it. Use this spell if you are using a weapon that cannot be buffed with Carthus Flame Arc.
This buff increases all damage by 20% and increases your stamina regeneration by 30 at the cost of 30% of your total HP over 15 seconds.
There's nothing particularly interesting about gameplay for the quality build. Use a 100% block shield in PvE until you get comfortable with avoiding damage by rolling and parrying. In most cases, two-hand heavier weapons and one-hand the smaller weapons. Get familiar with all aspects of your weapon's movesets, including rolling attacks, jump attacks, quick attack spamming, strong attack spamming, and weapon art.
It will take a fair amount of trial and error to get things right, but this is the best approach to Dark Souls 3 right now. Find out what weapon works for you and go from there.
A video of this build might be coming soon. If you have a video of you using the build, let me know and I might feature it here.
That pretty much wraps up this guide. As mentioned earlier, the quality build is one of the strongest builds in the game and is the best build for starting out your Dark Souls 3 experience. Try out the build and let me know what you think.