*preface* All information here will be based off of the various PC versions balance and performance history.
One of the most asked questions when it comes to BDO is what class you should play.
Most people give you the generic "play what looks fun" answer but im a numbers guy so if you want some solid suggestions your in the right place.
I will go over our starting classes and give you the strengths / weaknesses / and any extra information I feel will help you in making a decision in what to play.
Section 1 : Relevance -
In the current state of BDO's meta only 3 of our starting 6 classes are currently relevant ( a top performing class in at-least one area of the game):
Those classes are : Wizzard / Witch / Sorc.
The current classes that are irrelevant in the BDO meta are : Warrior / Berserker / and Ranger.
If you want to stick to a class from launch to current game, and perform at an optimal level without re-rolling at some point I would recommend sticking to one of the the 3 relevant starting classes.
*explanations of why will be included in the specific class breakdowns.
Section 2 : Class breakdowns -
Since I have listed 3 classes as no longer relevant in the BDO meta I will start with those 3.
The warrior is the slowest grinder of the starting classes. It has great mobility and a high skillcap but lacks aoe (Scars of Dusk having a long cooldown). It has an advantage in 1 v 1 pvp pre-awakened over ranger, wizard, and witch but is countered by berserkers grab and sorcs mobility. In large scale (node wars) warrior acts as a "front line" before awakening. Once awakened the warrior gains a large amount of damage and slightly better aoe clear speeds.
The awakened warrior lost most of its "protection" with a sweeping nerf and have lost its relevance with this hit. It now lacks super armor on most of its abilities and is no longer viable for 1 v 1 or large scale pvp. It is one of the slowest grinding pve classes once awakened as well leaving it with no real role to fill that is not done better by another class.
The berseker is a pre-awakened juggernaut. It has 2 full self heals, more passive HP, a heavy damage grab, great mobility, and very fast grind speeds. It will seem overpowered until awakenings are released across the board. In 1 v 1 the zerk has the advantage over every class except sorc out of our starting classes.
The awakened zerk was also top tier for a long time but was dethroned by a nerf that affected how CC works in BDO, destroying their grab chains. This koocked them down to B tier and the same protection nerfs that gutted warrior also hit zerks giving them a double dose of worthlessness in the bdo metta.
They no longer have protection on most o their abilities, and no longer have their cc chains. This has left them as a weak 1 v 1 class with mediocre grind speeds and no role to fill in large scale in the current meta.
The pre awakened ranger is the fastest grinding class of the starting 6 but relies heavily on mana potions to achieve this. They have great overall damage and a ranged hard CC which is extremely powerful at this stage of the game. This combination makes them valuable in large scale and allows them to melt witch / wiz in 1 v 1. They have a good chance to catch a sorc due to their aoe spam as well. The ranger will die though if caught by a grab from a warrior or zerk. Overall I believe that ranger is the best pre-awakened class out of the starting 6.
That being said it becomes absolute garbage once awakened. It fill no role that most other classes cant fill better. It grinds slowly, gets smashed in 1 v 1 , has little protection, becomes melee based, and is squishy once awakened, maning it can not stand the aoe spam of large scale pvp.
The ranger is the worst of the starting 6 classes to play long term.
Witch / Wiz :
The best classes to start with if you plan to play long term. Both are god awful at 1 v 1 pre-awakend, loosing to any hard cc (which every other class has). Both are amazing aoe grinders, second only to ranger, but do not rely on potions. They are the best support characters in the game by a large margin, healing and buffing any party they are in. They also have a skill called Protected Area which single handedly decides who wins guild and node wars. Once awakened these classes become even more powerful and essential, allowing them to both grind even faster and hold their own in 1 v 1 scenarios. They become the second fastest grinding class (behind Musa) on low DP mobs and are all around an amazing class in every aspect of the game. They also support faceroll gameplay with constant protection on most abilities and straight forward easy to use and land skills.
Sorc is by far the most technical and skill based class of the starting 6 (and debateably of all the classes in BDO). The difference between a good and bad sorc is the difference between being hunted by a kid with a nerf gun or a US Navy Seal. A good sorc is the god of 1 v 1 pvp. Both pre-awakened and awakened, challenged only by a very good ninja (and Striker / Mystic but both of those classes are just broken past sanity). Pre-awakened sorc is the king of 1 v 1 pvp, in node wars it is the assassin that picks off the enemy's witch / wizards and protects their own in the back-lines.
It is one of the slowest grinders, only faster than warrior of the original 6 pre-awakened but becomes one of the fastest once awakened. gaining the spot for fastest grinding class (highest DPS on high DP mobs such as those at Gyfin , Hysteria, Akhman).
Sorc is a god but you need to put in alot of time learning animation cancels, rotations, and situational awareness. You also need very fast reflexes and solid snap decision making skills. Bad sorcs are cannon fodder. Play at your own risk.
Section 3: Maining a non-lauch class:
If you plan to main a class that will launch at a later date I would highly recommend you play a witch or wizard at launch.
They both are very fast grinders, not dependant on potions, and can grind quickly with very little gear investment.
These classes will allow you to stockpile silver and are "safe" classes for world boss farming allowing you to save those boss weapon boxes until your chosen class is launched.
Hope this helps some of you who are trying to decide what to play!