The lights are on
Q: This is my first playthrough of Dark Souls. What classes are the best for newcomers?
A: Sorcerer, Pyromancer, Warrior, and Bandit are the best classes for beginners.
Q: Why are these the best classes?
A: Sorcerer starts with the EXTREMELY useful "Soul Arrow" spell, the Pyromancer starts with a powerful "Fireball" spell and a very good hand axe, the Warrior starts as a class that can wield almost anything and is a good mix of offense and defense, and the Bandit has good offense and defense and starts with a nice battle axe.
Q: Can I create a custom class?
A: Yes and no. While there is no official option for a custom class, once you start the game, you can level up your character however you want. If you want a Hunter that's also skilled in Pyromancy, have at it. Be warned that your character will have a harder time with certain perks other classes have.
Q: Perks? What are perks?
A: Perks are what majorly set the classes apart, besides weapon and armor.
Q: What are "gifts"?
A: Gifts are items you start the game with. Every one of them except for the "Master Key" can be found in game. Here is a list of gifts and what they do.
Q: What is "humanity"?
A: Humanity gives you life, allows you to kindle a bonfire, and increases your item discovery rate, as well as summon NPCs and other players into your game for help. You will collect these as items, and gain little bits of a whole one with each kill.
Q: What's a "bonfire"?
A: Bonfires are checkpoints scattered across the world. Coming to one will reset the word, meaning enemies (except bosses) come back to life, and refill your magic and potions automatically. At bonfires you can level up and sacrifice a humanity to kindle. Kindling allows you to hold five more potions in your Flask.
Q: What's a "covenant"?
A: Covenants are just factions. Speaking to specific NPCs gets you in. There are nine covenants: Way of White, Princess's Guard, Blade of the Darkmoon, Warrior of Sunlight, Forest Hunter, Chaos Servent, Gravelord Servant, Path of the Dragon, and Dark Wraith. You can level up four ranks. You usually get helpful items for doing what your covenant leader asks of you.
Q: What happens if I die?
A: In Dark Souls, you have one chance to make it back to your body. When you die, all of your souls, which are used to level up and to buy things, vanish. If you can make it back to the spot where you grabbed, you can save your souls. If, however, you die, then the souls will be lost forever. You can not lose items though, hence the popularity of suicide runs.
Q: So what's a suicide run?
A: A suicide run is when you take your character out to die at the reward of getting loot. See, while you may lose souls when you die, you don't lose ANY equipment or items. If a strong enemy is blocking a shiny, just do a suicide run, take it, die, then restart at your last visited bonfire.
Q: What do status effects do?
A: Status effects are effects inflicted on you by enemies or the environment and can severely harm you. There are four status effects and each new one is worse than the other before it. Poison slowly drains your health until it wears off, Toxic slowly drains your health and makes you stamina regenerate slower until it wears off, Bleed instantly takes off a certain % of your max hp, and curse will kill you and permanently put you at half of your current hp, curse can also be stacked up to four times, until you are at 6% max hp.
Q: What's the max level?
Q: What are equip loads?
A: The weight of all the items you have equipped is your equip load, your equip load determines how fast you move. at 0% equip load you will move as fast as possible, less than 25% equip load will mean you move as fast as possible with equipment on, 25% to 50% equip load will mean you move average at speeds, above 50% will mean you move slowly, and at 100% you cannot sprint, dash, roll, or backstep at all.