It would be interesting to see truthful responses as to why people pick certain races.
Coming from tabletop roleplaying (and I actually mean roleplaying, not dicerolling), my race choice goes hand-in-hand with the character. If I come up with a good backstory, I'll pick the race that fits. If one of the designs catches my eye for whatever reason, I'll come up with a setting-appropriate backstory to work with the character. I usually come up with a rough idea for the character first, then pick my race and whatnot afterwards, though that isn't a hard-and-fast rule. One of the things that frustrates me about most MMOs is trying to develop a good character with little to no information on the setting.
In XI, I played both an Elvaan (Austreven; my main) and a Hume (Khauven; a sorta-alt, sorta-mule). Austreven is a retired Royal Knight who is currently employed by my wife's character's parents to keep her safe until she settles down and goes to one of the magic schools like a good Tarutaru. Khauven is a sleazeball used car salesman of a trader who's out for adventure, cash, and fame, in that order. He's lived in Bastok most of his adult life, having moved there as a child to escape the war. Both are journeying with a "business organization" that's been set up to make its slightly maniacal leader rich. Austreven hates her. Khauven thinks she's a riot.
As for why I picked the races I did: Khauven was my first character, and the unaffiliated for-profit wanderer archetype is pretty easy to adapt to work in any setting. Hume seemed to fit that the best, so I went with that. He did get deleted and rerolled about a year after I started playing him so he could get a new face. Started with the dreads-and-facepaint face, and ended up going with the blonde beard. Austreven was my second character, and became my main pretty soon after I realized that playing two characters in XI was suicide. Having a bit more knowledge of the setting, I got to create a bit deeper backstory for him. I've always been drawn to the crumbling nobility theme, and the Elvaan are a unique enough take on the typical fantasy elf that I figured it'd be neat to play one (despite the gumpy ape thing and the worst city music in the game). The rest of his story was built around the choice of race.
Oddly enough, despite having fairly detailed backstories and personalities for both my characters, I don't RP in game at all. Typing is way
too inconvenient for anything other than "flavor" RPing.
I've got a rough-in for an young Elezen pirate, and that's it so far. As more information is released, I might come up with something else, but that's my plan currently.