Getting your character all the way from level one to eighty requires a lot of time, work, and, of course, experience. Unlike most MMOs, Guild Wars 2 does not chain you down to just one or two methods to earn xp for your character. In fact, there are quite a few different ways for you to harvest those xps laying all around Tyria. Whether you use all of them, or just some of them, depends upon how you wish to play the game. Let's take a look at the multitude of ways to bring your character from zero to hero.
The most obvious way to earn xp in Guild Wars 2 is to kill every creature you see. You get xp for every monster you slaughter, and with the game's scaling mechanism, everything you face will yield some xp. You can maximize your xp harvest from combat by traveling to out of the way locations in that Guild Wars 2 rewards you bonus xp if you kill a creature that's been alive for a long time. So it would behoove you to hit those lonely areas of a zone where few players travel. However, grinding out xp by killing creatures is probably the slowest way to earn xp overall. It is worth it if you're looking to do an achievement, but I wouldn't recommend that you solely focus on killing mobs to grind out levels.
The second way to earn xp is to fill up Renown Hearts. These are fixed quest locations in every zone marked by a big heart on your map. You'll perform a number of different tasks associated with that area, and once you're finished with those tasks, you'll be rewarded with xp and some Karma you can spend at vendors.
Dynamic events are quests that will pop up as you travel through the various lands of Guild Wars 2. These events will show up on your map and can different forms. One of the most common events is providing escort to either a trader or for some person looking to get from one place to another. Naturally, there'll be plenty of attackers spawning along the way. Other events include defending local citizens from attackers or helping to gather items that need to be turned in to an NPC. The more you participate, the more xp your character will earn.
Players can earn xp by going into dungeons, which are instanced areas that are group-based. You can replay the various dungeons as many times as you wish, but there are two modes to them. The first time you enter a dungeon will be story mode. This mode has cutscenes and follows a linear path. Once you've finished story mode for a dungeon, then you can play it in explorable mode. This second mode tends to follow the events of the story mode and has more options open to the players as they explore the dungeon.
Another obvious way to earn xp is to play your character's personal storyline. As your character plays through their personal storyline, you'll gain xp for each successful quest.
Scattered throughout the lands of Guild Wars 2 are various skill challenges. These can take the form ranging from simple communion with an object to single combat to fighting through a mob of creatures to trigger an item. Completing a skill challenge will earn you some xp and, perhaps more importantly, a skill point to spend on your slot skills.
While normal PvP doesn't result in any xp gain, you can gain xp by partaking in World-versus-World (WvW) PvP. You'll earn xp by defeating enemy players in combat, taking keeps, and doing dynamic events.
Guild Wars 2 definitely rewards players for exploring. You'll gain xp for discovering new waypoints, vistas, and points of interest. You'll see points of interest on you map represented by small squares, waypoints as diamonds, and vistas as red arrows. The more areas you explore, the more likely you'll also come across or trigger an event.
There are a number of daily achievements that a player can do to rack up some xp. These include doing a number of events, gathering a certain amount of resources, killing a specific number of creatures, and killing a number of creature species. These achievements reset each day so you can gain this xp every day.
You can earn a small amount of xp by reviving NPCs or other players. This is a nice touch as that it adds a little bit of incentive for players to heal each other as opposed to just running past their broken bodies.
Our final method of earning xp in Guild Wars 2 is through gathering and crafting. What is nice about the system in the game is that gathering resources isn't tied to any particular crafting ability. All you need is a gathering tool (pick, axe, or sickle) to harvest resources. Once you have resources, you can earn more xp by crafting items and discovering new recipes.
While there are lots of different ways to earn xp in Guild Wars 2, the beauty of the system is how it works together. While doing an event will net you xp, you'll also gain them by defeating creatures during the event. Escorting a merchant might take you to a new area, which will result in more xp for discovering a new point of interest. Loot drops may contain resources you'll use to craft, thus reaping in more xp. PvE not your cup of tea? Then head off to world-versus-world and start gathering xp there. Guild Wars 2 allows you to earn xp depending upon your own particular playstyle and the result is a rather elegant system.