The 8 playable races are divided into the Dominion and Exiles. The factions are pretty self explanatory. The Dominion is the Empire (probably evil, but I suppose it's a matter of perspective) and the Exiles are the forces that oppose them. It's adorable that the devs prepose that they haven't created a good/evil divide in the factions, but truly Dominion forces are agressive oppressors that have created the opposing Exiles by trying to take over those races home planets and in the case of the Aurin pretty much destroying the planet because they were giving food to Exile Humans. (Ahem, evil.)
Anyway, you have to pick. Your character has to be something, and aside from the very cool and or cute aesthetics there are back stories to each of the races.
|Image from WildStar-Online.com|
As part of the Dominion you can play Cassian, Mechari, Draken, or Chua.
Cassian are "humans" born on Cassius and chosen by the Eldan* to establish the Dominion. They lead the Dominion and can play every class in the game.
Mechari are actual robots made by the Eldan. Literally killing machines. Mechari can play Warrior, Engineer, Medic, Stalker
Draken look demony, and are "savage, blood thirsty and brutal". They are a vital part of the Dominion military force. Draken can play Warrior, Stalker, Spellslinger
Chua are adorable or scary as heck. They don't have a gender, so you can't choose male or female. The Chua love science. Chua can play Engineer, Esper, Medic, Spellslinger
As part of the Exile you can play Human, Granok, Aurin, or Mordesh
Humans are "Cassians" that have fled Dominion's totalitarian rule. Just like Cassians they can play every class in the game.
Granok are living moving rock people. They like a good fight and to drink beer. Granok can play Warrior, Engineer, Medic
Aurin are just cute as heck, from the tops of their ears to the tips of their tails. They are also quite capable fighters. Aurin can play Esper, Stalker, Spellslinger
Mordesh are space zombies. They have robotic bits which help deliver the Vitalus Serum to their bodies, to stop them from trying to eat their friend's brains. Mordesh can play Warrior, Engineer, Medic, Stalker, Spellslinger
*I don't know much about the Eldan, so don't feel bad if you don't either. Seems they disappeared a long ass time ago and faded into myth, until Nexus was found. Nexus is the Eldan home world and filled with technology that each side wants to use and not be killed by. (maybe?)