The first commandment of every seasoned as well as rookie RPG gamer is the necessity to choose between strength and dexterity in initial character building.

This early yet undoubtedly seminal moment, especially in games like Dark Souls or Elden Ring, often turns into the everlasting dilemma or borders on showcasing a closeted split personality disorder. A lumbering bumpkin or nimble snollygoster – that is the question and the kernel of the ‘either/or’ decision one has to make.

The below text will juxtapose both attributes, put forward the differences they imply, let alone demonstrate what stat is better and for whom it may be so, which one is more fun, their evident as well as less conspicuous characteristics, etc. Without further ado, let’s delve into the dex vs str clash.

Terms and Definitions

The common ‘scaffolding’ for dexterity vs strength decision is threefold: first of, both attributes oftentimes – although not universally – accentuate players’ preferences as to their play style. Secondly, players’ own attributes may be easily identifiable with those chosen within the game. Finally, however weird it may sound, games themselves tend to favor the former attribute over the latter and vice versa, with all causality it entails.

When discussing both traits, all three aspects should be taken into consideration, although we firmly believe that the first and the third one are of utmost importance as they show unequivocal intersubjectivity, thus having more viability as arguments.

Dexterity itself not only equals swiftness of moves. It also enables wielding weapons akimbo (it’s a prerequisite for almost all dexterity builds in Elden Ring), allows dodging opponents’ attacks, improves sneaking, picking locks, and enhances the overall stealth.

What’s more, when the tables turn during combat, we may easily turn tail and quickly gulp some healing potion in the nearby bushes. Dexterity is also regarded as a main min-maxing ‘building block’.

Conversely, strength is perceived as a perfectly opposite attribute. It boosts general endurance, allowing to max out on HP. Parrying-wise, heavy armor and huge shield are your go-to items. Strength superbly streamlines your combat strategy reducing it to devastating singular blows.

If you don’t like dillydallying during skirmishes or would like to enter demanding RPGs like Dark Souls with less weeping and gnashing of teeth, building a toughie with Berserk-like sword is definitely an option for you.

Soulsborne strength or dexterity?

Dark Souls series is widely perceived as one of the best open world action RPG franchises ever produced. Its multifaceted system of character building and development, among many other outstanding features, enables players to create many PvE and PvP combat strategies, as well as explore convoluted intricacies of powergaming and metagaming.

The very same applies to Elden Ring. Especially, when besting the boss is in the store. The general consensus claims that it’s easier for builds based on dexterity to fight bosses, because such builds tend to be extremely overpowered (the number of nerfing patches speaks for itself). Also, an agile hero follows the pattern of boss’ attacks far better than the more stationary one.

Afraid of your long-range weapons not being strong enough for Shardbearers or achievement bosses, or that your stamina levels won’t restore itself fast enough? Talismans and other buffs will take care of that.

You shouldn’t underestimate the strength attribute, though. Some of Elden Ring bosses, e.g. Margit, the Fell Omen has exceptionally unpredictable attack combinations, so not only you need to wait for a perfect moment to counterattack, dodging and ducking all along, but also have some tough skin when one of his blows reaches you.

There are hundreds of videos on YouTube about Elden Ring and Dark Souls builds based on strength and dexterity, explaining how to improve them relatively quickly, what strategy details to implement in PvE clashes and PVP showdowns, etc.

Ambidexterous brutes and strengthened quicksilvers

What about other RPGs? Are they also based on the dexterity vs strength alternative, leaving no place for solutions using other attributes? Well, as usual, situation is complicated.

Some of them, like the first two Fallouts, put the emphasis on intelligence and agility. Investing in them and the perks oriented around them, enables you to fully appreciate every narrative nuance. Although being tough-as-nails dimwit also comes in handy while traveling through radioactive wasteland.

On the other hand, in the Baldur’s Gate series there is a “division of labor” – each of your team members is of a specified class that specializes in something. So, you don’t have dilemmas what stat to boost when you level up. Or a strength-biased Diablo which serves as a nice counterbalance to more dexterity-oriented Soulsborne games.

There are many other examples, like Grim Dawn, Pillars of Eternity and Skyrim, which only throw in their two cents to the topic.


Strength vs dexterity – the grandfather of all RPG dilemmas – has been, is, and will always be a game of paths not taken. It is advisable to cherish the undertaken ones, and maximize the opportunities which lay ahead, no matter whether we unify the ring in the Lands Between, roam through the wasteland in search of G.E.C.K., or traverse the city of Athkatla with our team of courageous heroes.