Keep in mind that race bonuses are relatively small and that the most important thing to consider when creating your character is how good it looks to you. You will play with this character for many hours, maybe hundreds, even thousands, if you really like the game. There are ways to change the race or appearance of your character, but you won’t get them often, at least not for free (you can get them in the Zen Market). In the end, most of the stat bonuses can be balanced with itemization. The difference between the "best" and the "worst" race for the job is around 4% efficiency (which is barely noticeable, though not entirely insignificant)... but that's really between both ends of the spectrum.
There are races (indicated by the icon : ) you have to buy to be able to play them (in the Zen Market, Auction House, or directly with real money, depending on the race and the platform you play on).
- Human : +3 to any Ability Score, +1% to all 15 main ratings.
- Half-Orc : +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution or Strength, +5% Critical Severity, +10% movement speed bonus at start of combat (for 3s, once every 20s).
- Wood Elf : +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence or Wisdom, +5% Critical Strike, 20% resistance to slow.
- Sun Elf : +2 Intelligence, +2 Dexterity or Charisma, +5% Action Point Gain, +10% Control Resistance.
- Dwarf : +2 Constitution, +2 Strength or Wisdom, +5% Defense, 20% resistance to knock or push.
- Halfling : +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma or Constitution, +5% deflect, 10% resistance to control effects.
- Half-Elf : +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma or Wisdom, +2 to one Ability Score which depends on your class (Intelligence for Cleric, Barbarian, Rogue and Ranger; Dexterity for Warlock, Paladin and Wizard; Wisdom for Fighter), +3% Critical Severity, Deflection, and Gold Gain.
- Tiefling : +2 Charisma, +2 Constitution or Intelligence, +5% damage to targets below 50% HP, when receiving damage : 10% chance to reduce attacker’s attack by 5% for 5 seconds.
- Drow : +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma or Wisdom, +5% Deflect Severity, 10% chance to reduce the Defense of enemies you hit by 5% for 5 seconds.
- Gith : +2 Dexterity, +2 Strength or Intelligence, +5% combat advantage, +3% stamina regeneration. Obtainable from the Gith Race Pack in the Zen Market (6000 Zen).
- Dragonborn : +2 to any two Ability Scores, +3% Critical Strike and Power, +5% Incoming Healing. Obtainable from the Dragonborn Race Pack, which can only be bought with real money on consoles, or in the Zen Market on PC (6000 Zen).
- Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn : +2 to any two Ability Scores, +3% Critical Strike and Power, +3% Incoming Healing, +3% HP. Obtainable via the Sigil of the Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn, sometimes in the Zen Market or in the Auction House.
- Aasimar : +2 to any two Ability Scores, +2% in Power, Outgoing Healing, Incoming Healing, Defense and HP, increases closeby party members'HP by 2% (does not stack). Obtained by completing all 4 milestones of the Zariel episodes after buying all 4 blessings in the Zen Market (not obtainable anymore, will return at some point but not soon).
- Moon Elf : +2 Intelligence, +2 Dexterity or Charisma, +3% Action Point Gain, +3% Stamina Gain, +10% Control Resistance. Obtainable from the Moon Elf Race Pack in the Zen Market (6000 Zen).
- Menzoberranzan Renegade : +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma or Wisdom, +5% Deflect Severity, 10% chance to reduce the Defense and Damage of enemies you hit by 3% for 5 seconds. Obtainable from the Menzoberranzan Renegade Race Pack, which can only be bought with real money on consoles, or in the Zen Market on PC (6000 Zen).
As a Tank
Aasimar > Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn > Dwarf / Human > Dragonborn > Halfling / Tiefling > Gith / Any with Constitution > Any
HP are very important for a Tank, and that makes Aasimar and Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn, the best races for a Tank. The Dwarf and Human races are also fit for a tank, with their bonus to Defense or every stat, respectively. Dragonborn are also pretty good for their Incoming Healing. Not as good but still not bad, Halfling and Tieffling benefit from Constitution, and Deflect or an ability to mitigate damage, respectively. Any race with a bonus to Constitution (and possibly Strength, for the Stamina Regeneration), or the Gith race (for its bonus to Stamina Regeneration) are still viable. Any other would still work, though they would have a bit less HP, so mistakes would be less forgiving if you barely have the level required for the content you are running.
As a Healer
Aasimar > Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn > Dragonborn > Human > Dwarf / Menzoberranzan Renegade / Drow > Half-Elf / Wood Elf > Any
Aasimar is certainly the best race for a Healer because of the Power, Outgoing Healing and extra HP given to the party. Dragonborn races also benefit from Power and can choose both Charisma and Wisdom, and the Critical Strike and Incoming Healing is nice too. The Human race benefits from the 1% bonus everywhere and can have the highest Wisdom of all races (who would have imagined that ?). The Dwarf race is pretty robust with their 5% Defense bonus, while the Drow races can inflict small debuffs to the enemies. the Half-Elf and Wood Elf races are still decent for healers. Any other race would work, though they don't bring much to the table.
As a Damage Dealer
Gith > Human / Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn / Dragonborn / Aasimar / Tieffling > Dwarf > Half-Orc / Wood Elf > Any with Strength or Intelligence and Dexterity > Any
For the Combat Advantage bonus and the fact you can choose between Intelligence and Strength, Gith is the best race for a Damage Dealer. Human, Mettalic Ancestry Dragonborn, Dragonborn, and Aasimar, all have good offensive and defensive bonuses and can be played regardless of the type of damage you deal (pick Strength for a Physical Damage Dealer, or Intelligence for a Magical Damage Dealer). If you manage to cap all of your offensive stats (that's very tough), then Tieffling is actually the best race for those who deal magical damage. The Dwarf race is actually pretty good for Physical Damage Dealers, because even Damage Dealers need some Defense. Half-Orcs make decent Physical Damage Dealers, while Wood Elves make decent Magical Damage Dealers. Any other race with Strength or Intelligence and Dexterity can be okay. The others don't really shine.