Sword and board all the way
Dark Souls II is launching today, and so begins the all important (at least, initially) decision on what character class to choose at the start. After a short intro, you'll have the ability to pick from the Warrior, Knight, Swordsman, Bandit, Cleric, Sorcerer, Explorer, and Deprived classes. Keep in mind this is just a template, as the game still allows you to customize your stats as you level up and build into anything you want.
Me? I'm all about the sword and board [shield] as soon as possible, with a medium based armor set so I have the ability to roll around. Eventually I like to buff my endurance and equipment load though so I can slowly scale up to heavier pieces of armor and still keep my agility. Having a shield up at all times with 100% damage mitigation and a high endurance bar helps keep me safe, and cuts down on deaths -- albeit with a reduction in damage output.
For all three Souls games I've created a character named Magnalon using this methodology, followed by my second character -- Roc the Sorcerer. So the question remains -- what's your favorite Souls build and why?