Choosing a class in Elden Ring is pretty much like choosing how you want to experience the game. It's not something rigid though, it's just a base. Any class can have any type of gameplay with enough levels and with the right gear. The problem is that it can take you a bunch of hours to get it right, so it pays to choose wisely from the start. So there is no best class per se, just the one that will help you get started. The most important thing is to choose a class you want and a way to play that you like.
Classes for beginners
If Elden Ring is your first FromSoftware game, a great adventure awaits you. It takes a bit of time to get used to the studio's rather particular approach to many gameplay elements. Purists tend to recommend playing a melee class in these games, since they're usually designed for melee, it provides a fairly intense and balanced experience. This means that you're rarely going to run into a boss made trivial by melee play, but you're also not going to run into infeasible bosses by playing that way.
The Vagabond : the most robust of all. It is well equipped, with good weapons. It can immediately be played with the very comfortable sword and shield combo, for beginners and experts. It can also be played with the Halberd, to gain reach and attack power. Thereafter, it can be used for almost any type of build in the game, making it both a solid and universal base. Just remember to remove the weapons you don't use to avoid fat-roll.
A good alternative is the Samurai : quite robust and equipped with a katana, it is great for melee. It does, however, favor rolls and dodges more than the default shield, which is good if you want to prepare for bosses and PvP. It has an excellent bow from the start, which opens up quite a few gameplay possibilities if you prefer to use this type of weapon. The bow allows you to kill certain enemies in a group before engaging a fight, or to face a boss by taking much less risk.
A totally different way is to play mage. It's generally considered as the easy mode in Dark Souls, and Elden Ring is no exception, especially with the addition of summons. By selecting Astrologer or Prisoner, you're going to be very weak at first, but after a few levels spent increasing your health, you shouldn't encounter too much difficulty, at least compared to other classes.
Finally, the Confessor is an excellent choice too, since it offers a character with high attributes, good equipment with a shield and, above all, an emergency healing spell. It is a fantastic complement to healing potions which are very limited at the beginning.
The class to play Guts from Berserk or equivalent
The famous manga Berserk heavily inspired Miyazaki and the studio. This can be seen in the Souls, and Elden Ring is the heir. It's incredibly fun to walk around with a giant two-handed sword (or equivalent) then turn normal enemies into crepes, and slice bosses. As a bonus, you can even hold a giant weapon in each hand to unleash new attack types. You have two choices that stand out. The first is once again the Vagabond, which is fairly balanced and well-armored at the beginning. The other option — considered a bit inferior — is Hero, which favors brute force, and neglects Dexterity, which prevents him from using quite a few weapons.
Classes to play a spellcaster
As mentioned above, playing a mage is often easier in Souls, but it would be reductive to limit the gameplay experience to that. It's a radically different way to play, with its own satisfaction. Depending on the spells used, there can be a great diversity in the ways of playing. Some are used in melee for example. It should still be noted that spellcasters are generally less good in PvP. The most appropriate class for this type of gameplay is the Astrologer. You can also choose a character that is a little better balanced and able to fight in melee too, like the Prisoner, which can give you a more varied playing experience, even a little easier in some cases.
Alternatively, you can choose to use Incantations. This includes the Pyromancer's techniques and even draconic abilities in Elden Ring: in other words this promises to be incredibly rich, and that it is not limited to the Miracles we had in previous games. It remains to be determined exactly what awaits us at high level, but it is certainly not limited to playing healer or support.
To play an agile character, who fights ranged or with agility
Fighting with a rapier, two scimitars, two daggers, even two whips or a bow is just as viable, with or without complementary spells. Many classes have a good amount of Dexterity, or can easily make this stat grow. This mainly includes the Vagabond, the Prisoner, the Warrior and the Samurai. The Confessor can also be included in this list.
Let's also mention the Bandit, which can be an interesting choice for an exotic build based on throwing explosive jars, daggers, etc.. He can also take the path of dragon spells for example. The options are not lacking, and the builds of the game promise to be as numerous as they are rich, so do not feel constrained by your class.
The class for those who love challenges and freedom
Whether you're a veteran or an absolute newbie, it's legitimate to look for both of these in a FromSoftware game. Unfortunately, there is no option to assign attribute points to a completely blank character, but a class comes close : the Wretch. Level 1, with 10 in each attribute, and with a club as the only piece of equipment: the beginning of your adventures will be complicated. Its attributes and its reduced level make it able to quickly adopt any type of build, even if getting your hands on the equipment required for it is pretty hard. This can be quite frustrating if you are looking for a particular weapon or spells, so think carefully before choosing this class.
To help friends or other co-op players
In order to end this article in the best way, let's also mention the fact that it is possible to play multiplayer, even if it is not something practical, since as in Dark Souls, it is limited to an area and to a boss each time, and the mount is disabled. By using a multiplayer password, however, it is easy to play with your friends. Fighting effectively while summoned is already a good thing and all classes can do it, but if you want to go even further and help other players survive, then the Prophet with his group healing spell is your best bet.
You don't have Torrent, the Spectral Steed, at the very beginning of the game, so here's a walkthrough guide on how to get it as fast as possible, then how to use it in FromSoftware's new open world game.