I know that some race / class combos are not allowed but beyound this does it effect game play. Does it matter what race mynew hunter is?
not really, if you go man race you get a nice 1hour heal. If you go elf you get to move in stealth as long as you want every 30min. You should take that race you feel for oh btw, Elves got 20 more agility than the other races, but I think you'll live if you go hobbit, dwarf or man :P
some races are predisposed to play certain classes because of the racial bonuses.
Elves get a 2% bow damage (aimed at hunters) Dwarves get a shield bonus (aimed at Guardians) Hobbits get a silence (aimed at Burgs) etc, but there is no reason why you have to do that. Choose the race that you want to be and then play that. I for one have never really noticed the lack of any of these skills (I have a Dwarf Hunter and a Hobbit Hunter) Towards level cap these bonuses are negligable anyway. Create the character that you want. I'm a bit of an altoholic, and for me the character always comes first.
A few of the racial abilities also devalue when level cap goes up. Most crucially, the Man racial heal. It is always the same amount of morale restored, so back when level cap was 50 and morale boosts were not as abundant, it was a Big Deal™. Now though, with cap of 75 and 15K+ morale tanks, not so much.
Racial bonuses only affect the first 20-30 levels. After that their importance declines and since they don't scale, by level 60+ they are pretty much irrelevant.
Ehhhh...not really, though. The straight stat bonuses and whatnot become pretty much irrelevant at cap, but % bonuses are still percent bonuses. 2% extra damage with certain weapon types can be pretty significant. The dwarf "oh ____!" racial button reduces incoming damage by a percent so might be more valuable than the non-scaling man-heal, while the flat 5% incoming healing on men (that goes over the 25% incoming healing cap) is a substantial benefit at cap.
Then again hobbits can flop and play dead to lose aggro in those 'oh sh**' situations, and elves have a 10 or 15 second ungodly parry they can use once an hour. Every race has some kind of get out of trouble emergency skill on a huge cooldown.
Chances are though, if you're resorting to a man-heal or similar and it's all you've got - it won't save you. It can help, but that's true of all the racial skills.
The differences aren't that relevant in other words. My champs are elves and my burglar and hunter are hobbits, despite the received wisdom that champs and burgs should be men and hunters should be elves. It really, really hasn't hurt them.