My first character was the knight (I think? The one who starts without a shield) and it wasn't too bad. I spend the majority of my time dodging anyway, and the lack of a shield means I have less weight.
I haven't played in a while now. I got the Elite Knight Armour and ended up stopping in uh. Dead Man or something. I forget. I didn't boost my stats much so dodge-rolls are now half-assed frontflips, I love it
As much as I love quick-roll build, it's pretty suicidal on first playthrough, when you don't know when and what is going to attack. Any tight passages or bosses whose attacks you can't simply dodge are giving me hell.
But I guess that's part of the proper Dark Souls experience! The harder it gets, the more satisfaction you gain.