Lords of the Fallen has nine classes, each with a different melee weapon, ranged weapon, and item.
While it shows you the stats of the character, those might not make sense if you're not familiar with souls-like games.
And even if you are you don't get stats on the weapons, it doesn't show how much stamina each attack cost and you don't know how long things like windup animations take for each weapon.
After playing the opening with every class, there are three which stood out as the best, though two of them require getting a particular Lords of the Fallen Item while you're still in the tutorial.
A quick note: two factors that didn't come into play for determining which class is best were Armor and Starting Health.
At the first boss and beyond, most things do so much damage. It doesn't matter which class you pick. Getting hit was almost always a reason to panic, so one class taking slightly less damage didn't matter nearly as much to survival as their damage output.
If you want to focus on dealing damage, pick the Orian Preacher.
Despite some middling initial stats, the Orian Preacher Hammer and its two-handed combo attack easily makes them one of the best starting classes. But that's not the only thing making them great.
On basic light and charge heavy attacks, the hammer deals decent damage doing both physical and holy damage, which is a separate type of damage, like fire damage.
While even light attacks carve a chunk out of your stamina, it deals more damage than most other starting weapons and is even faster than several of the weaker ones. So, just using normal attacks, the Orian Preacher is still among the best.
But what makes it arguably the best starting class is the Orian Preacher Hammer's two-handed combo attack. In Lords of the Fallen, using L1 + R2 does a unique multi-hit attack, which changes whether you have one weapon in an empty hand, a weapon in each hand, or two-handing a single weapon.
While it costs all of the Preachers' stamina until you start leveling it and has a lengthy animation, it delivers three consecutive attacks that devastate enemies. The first two deal about as much damage as your normal two-handed attacks, but the third does around double that amount.
If you can time it correctly, you can one shot many of the enemies at the opening. You will also get a lot of Lords of the Fallen Vigor from this.
That said it does have drawbacks. You're vulnerable during the combo. So, if you don't stun an enemy, they may power through your attacks and hit you before you can finish. You're also exposed after the attack since it takes up so much stamina.
Thankfully, the hammer is still an incredible weapon. So, a cautious approach single hit dodge roll repeat strategy works well against strong and sturdy enemies as long as you're patient.
And finally, it short range means if you want that hit, you'll need to get close. But the Orian Preacher also has a great ranged attack thanks to Magic. The starting spell deals at least as much damage as the mid-powerered range attacks from the other classes.
But the real kicker being able to shoot the spell 17 times, which is far more than the number of times. You can use the ranged attacks on non-magic classes.
Udirangr Warwolf & Blackfeather Ranger (For More Mobility)
But if you want more mobility at the cost of less damage, try the Udirangr Warwolf or the Blackfeather Ranger.
Keep in mind, they'll only get close to the Orian Preacher's damage output after you find the Wooden Cross.
During the tutorial, when you get the prompt about how to use ranged weapons, look for a body hanging above a nearby enemy. If you hit that body with a ranged attack, it will drop the Wooden Cross weapon.
While the the item description for the Wooden Cross says "not designed as a weapon", that's a lie. It is more powerful than several starting weapons. And the L1 + R2 combo attack when using both the Wooden Cross and the starting weapon of the Warwolf or the Blackfeather Ranger in each hand makes for a powerful pairing.
While less damaging than the two-handed hammer combo, those two classes have more starting stamina than the Orian Preacher. So, you'll still have stamina after that big combo attack finishes, allowing for a follow-up attack or dodge roll.
Whether you want the strength of the Warwolf, the fashion of the Blackfeather Ranger or the raw power and magical abilities of the Orian Preacher, you're likely to have an easier time starting Lords of the Fallen with one of them.