If you have browsed through my build suggestions, you may notice that most of my builds are hovering around level 70 and 80. These are not challenge builds that I intentionally keeping my character's level "low", rather I level up when needed and I find myself beating NG between level 70 and level 80 since my second build. (Remark: I level up freely on my first build so that I can afford to try out almost all the weapons and spells. Just part of learning process.)
These so-called level 120 limit for PvPers' are ideas carried on since Demon's Souls. In Demon's Souls and Dark Souls 1, players needed to have significant trade-off to maximize their character's ability even at level 120. However, in Dark Souls 3, as well as Bloodborne, level 70-80 would be more appropriate to beat NG, and players are required to have significant trade-off among various stats to maximize offensive and defensive abilities. At level 120, there will be no trade-off and easily overpowering in NG PvE.
Don't believe me? Try it out yourself using one of my PvE suggestions, especially, if you are willing to learn each PvE enemy's attack pattern and weakness. No summoning phantom is required.
A non-caster build that is effective in both close range melee and long range. Also, player can experiment with larger variety of weapons. Please remember that two handing a weapon would reduce strength requirement, thus you can use most strength based weapons. With 30 dexterity, you can use almost all dexterity-based weapons effectively as well.
Right Hand Weapon 1: Raw Long Sword, Fire Lucerne, Refined Claymore, Executioner's Greatsword, Drakeblood Greatsword
Right Hand Weapon 2: Composite Bow, Black Bow of Pharis, Dragonslayer Greatbow, Onislayer Greatbow
Left Hand Weapon 1: Silver Eagle Shield, Grass Crest Shield, Spirit Tree Crest Shield
Left Hand Weapon 2: Pyromancy Flame/Talisman
Armor: (light armor sets that keep <70% total weight ratio)
Undead Legion Armor
Undead Legion Gauntlets
Undead Legion Leggings
Heal Aid/Carthus Flame Arc (if you don't want to carry too many resin.)
Charcoal Pine Resin
Gold Pine Resin
Human Pine Resin
Resistance ring depending on situation or stat enhancement ring
Stat leveling suggestion:
1. Level up endurance to 20 first.
2. Level up strength and dexterity to 20 each.
3. Level up vitality and/or vigor a little bit, if needed.
4. Level up strength and dexterity to 30 each.
5. Level up vigor to 20 and you can easily finish first playthrough with ease.
Well, quality weapon or quality build is Demon's Souls' term. There is no quality gem in Dark Souls 3, thus I use appropriate term and call this refined warrior for this warrior is suited for refined gem infused weapons.
Similar to all of my PvE build suggestions, I level up endurance early on, as I prefer hitting more often with enough stamina to roll away as early as I can manage.
Due to limitation of infusion gems in Dark Souls 3, you will need to rely on raw infused weapon or the Deep Battle Axe for early part of High Wall of Lothric. Truth be told, raw infused weapon or the Deep Battle Axe are good weapons that can carry you well into Farron Keep.
I switched to Claymore as soon as I acquired it though. You can surely choose different weapon of your liking, preferably those can be infused with refined gem.
(An easy way to shoot the dragon at High Wall of Lothric is by running toward the gate below the dragon before it starts breathing fire, proceed onward to the Tower on the Wall bonfire. Then, you can backtrack to the gate below the dragon. Simply equip a light crossbow or Knight's crossbow with 99 wood bolts, and shoot the dragon's chin to wound the dragon enough for him to fly away; takes about 80 wood bolts. You can retrieve the claymore easily afterward.)
Since there is limited number of titanite shards and large titanite shards for almost half of the game, you want to level up your preferred early weapon to +3 before Farron Keep and +6 before Anor Londo. It doesn't matter which one, stick with the one you like and upgrade it to +6 with refined infusion. I was carrying the refined claymore +7 all the way up to Dancer of Boreal Valley. Infuse the Lucerne found in High Wall of Lothric to fire and upgrade it to +3 after Claymore or at least before Cleansing Chapel. Fire weapon is very useful to deal with Writhing Rotten Flesh, Corpse-grub, and Rotten Slug.
Executioner's Greatsword is a strike weapon and it is more effective against enemies and bosses after Dancer of the Boreal Valley. You will find the Executioner's Greatsword at the graveyard next to Cleansing Chapel. After acquiring Dreamchaser's Ashes and Easterner's Ashes, in order to upgrade Executioner's Greatsword, you may need to do some souls farming to purchase titanite shards and large titanite shards. You want to reserve titanite chunks acquired at Lothric Castle to upgrade Executioner's Greatsword to +9.
About range weapons, I purchased Composite Bow as soon as it is available. Composite bow is my go-to range weapon for the whole playthrough, as it deals more damage at mid-range using cheap wood arrows. Black Bow of Pharis is for occasional sniping.
Dragonslayer Greatbow or Onislayer Greatbow is useful to deal with King of the Storm during Nameless King boss fight or even with Nameless King, if you summon phantoms who can keep Nameless King away from you. Be aware that you can equip maximum 50 Dragonslayer Greatarrows and maximum 30 Onislayer Greatarrows between bonfire rest, be frugal shooting those greatarrows.
Drakeblood Greatsword is designed for Nameless King boss fight, as it has lightning damage for King of the Storm and fire damage for Nameless King. It is light enough that I can equip it with Onislayer Greatbow plus Spirit Tree Crest Shield and end up with equip burden rest at 64.4.
Since I chose Deprived as starting class, I can afford to equip heal aid for added healing option.
I did acquire and upgrade many weapons with this build. One quick way to farm souls is equipping following items to maximize souls absorption.
1. Symbol of Avarice.
2. Covetous Silver Serpent Ring.
3. Mendicant's Staff on off hand, of course. This staff is dropped by serpent-man summoner at Archdragon Peak.
4. Covetous Gold Serpent Ring, if you also wishing to farm covenant items.