First you need to pick your background. This defines what guilds you can join, what races will suit you and generally what will you be good at. There are five backgrounds. Beginning with a certain background might be easier or more difficult than with others.
The magical background contains several paths one can choose including mages who use offensive magic which allows access to specialize in one or more damage types, channellers who major in manipulating mana, psis who use mental attacks. The Inner Circle is an advanced protection guild for those who have already specialized. The Riftwalkers guild offers a possibility to solo by having otherwordly entitites standing between you and your foes.
...has seven guilds. Monks are martial artists and thus warriors, The Followers of Tarmalen use the various healing and curing spells and druids are a blend of offensive, defensive and miscellanous magic with some healing abilities. Sisters of Las and The Templars of Faerwon seek the evil in the world to slay it, nuns by using spells and templars with raw strength. The latest additions include the The Order of Ghost Liberator Paladins and The Guild of Animists.
...offers you lords of chaos, evil priests and the cult of reavers. The Disciples of Chaos is a gateway guild from which one can specialize in the mounted combat of Tzarakk, the poison uses known as the Aelena who follow the scorption, or the masters of the chaos blade known as the Kharim. Reavers focus their energy into destructive forces. There are rumours about a fourth guild, a guild of assassins, but not much is known about those. Even less is known about a fifth guild, and it might be only a legend.
...includes merchants, civilized mages, alchemists, shadow sabres, bards and runemages. The background also hosts the guild of knights. Again people talk about thieves, but finding one will be difficult - and you would probably end up having a dagger buried in your back if you go around asking questions.
The merchant and alchemist guilds concentrate on leeching money off other players and not so much in slaying monsters. Shadow Sabres are fighters with style; imagine D'Artagnan and the three musketeers. This guild might be worth trying even for a newcomer. Civilized mages are geared towards adventuring, but they are not as good at it as their pure counterpart in the magical background. Runemages represent the disciplined and study-oriented section of the magic users. And then there are the bards, often called taletellers, song weavers, troubadours or traveling minstrels. These singers of legends bring happiness and sometimes even sorrow to the realms with their songs and deeds.