While some traits can be overcome, some depend on certain classes, or right-clicky items and this or that.
I know that most things can be overcome, but carrying around all sorts of litle baubles to overcome all these things can be more than annoying.
- Invisibility - some races have it, some don't. Most classes do not have an invisibility or camo skill, so you are relying on a clicky or potion.
- Health Regen - Sure, everyone can buy regen equipment, but the races that start with it will ALWAYS have a higher regen. If you play a class and have to pay 60k plat for an armor piece with Health Regen and decent stats, or you could pay 40k Plat for one without Health regen but with awesome stats ... it DOES make a difference. Even with the new rest options, higher Health Regen still has some advantages, especially for Feign Death classes.
- High primary stats - Granted, if you an dedicated player with maxxed gear, or someone who has played casually for a few years, you can balance any stat differences out. To say there is no difference is really simplifying the issue, as there are many players out there who just don't fit the above characteristics, and stas CAN make a difference.
I prefer gnome myself, for a few of the above reason, despite no innate Invis. for one, they have high INT, so I can hit 200+even as a casual gamer and then focus on other stats. They are small race, so I can run under branches easier, loot corpses easier and so on. They are not as common as many races (High Elves and Dark Elves are a dime a dozen).
My dislikes of the gnome are no insta Invis. While we can cast one, it's still nicer to have it innate, and I occasionally wish I had gone Dark Elf for that ability. Strength is horrible. next to Int, I consider it most important on startup for a gnome (I did 5 STR, rest INT). I cannot tell you how often I wish I had more strenght for carrying loot. I have NEVER said I wish I had more agility or desterity.
NOW, for the true answer. Go thru the fashion charts here on Alla's. It is a great addition to this site. Look for some of the quest armors for the class you want to be and see how they look on each race. NEVER, under ANY circumstance, pick a race you do not like the look of. Some people claim that fashion doesn't matter, but those people are flat out lying to themselves and trying to be elitists. Fashion does matter. Even if you play in first person mode, if you scroll back to do something for a second or two and you think you look stupid, it will take away from your desire to play the class.
Outside of the no frontal Stun trait for Ogres, there is no major difference amongst classes. I would put how you like the look of the clas second, with primary stats and regen third. Depending on the class, the regen could be a bigger factor. Coming up the rear is good versus evil, unless you are a role-player, as these alignments are mostly frivolous or can be overcome. You could even role play against the basic racial alignments and be a real outcast if you wanted to.
Races do matter, though the dedicated players and twinks in the game are less likely to be affected than the casual gamer. It's unfortunate these boards are usually full of questions asked by casual gamers, but answered only for the more dedicated players.