As with most RPGs, you're going to begin Guild Wars 2 by creating a character. Your character is going to be your avatar in the game world, but before you can pop in and explore Tyria, you're going to have to get through the ten basic steps of character creation. Technically, you can skip right to the end of character creation by clicking the button in the lower-right corner of the screen--but where's the fun in that?
Race is the first aspect of your character that you need to decide on. Your character's race will determine how that character looks in the game world, as well as where you begin the game and the varieties of quests available to you early on. Your race will also determine how some NPCs react to you; as in most fantasy worlds, the various races of Tyria don't always get along. One thing your race doesn't affect is your choice of profession, though: unlike many RPGs, you can choose to match up any profession with any race. (Some race/profession combinations might be more thematically appropriate than others, however, if you're intent on role-playing.) Your race also doesn't affect your starting stats, either: a female Sylvari warrior will have the same initial stats as a male Charr warrior, for instance. Your race also does not affect your character's proficiency with any crafting skills.
Perhaps the main difference between the races lies in their exclusive choice of racial skills. Each race draws upon the knowledge of their ancestors to effect powerful changes on the battlefield, and knowledge of these racial skills will help you select the race that'll best match the profession you wish to play. We'll give you an overview of these racial skills in the race overviews below, so read on!