The Laurel system introduced into the game in has allowed players to achieve long term goals on fixed schedules. Laurels are currently rewarded as part of the achievement system, and are a player currency that does not take up inventory space, and is shared across all characters on an account.
Laurels are awarded one of two ways. First, each day you complete all of the daily achievement categories you are awarded one Laurel. Second, if you complete your monthly achievements you will be awarded ten Laurels. This means if you play every day in a month you should get between 38 and 41 Laurels for that month (depending on the days in the month).
With the introduction of Laurels, the daily achievement system changed to rotate everyday. To review the daily achievements you need complete, look either in the top right of the game screen or in your hero panel. The achievement tracker in the top right of the in game screen will show you the percentage of the daily achievements you have completed, and mousing over any of the sub categories will explain what you need to do in order to complete each one.
As it currently works, you need to complete each of the 6 sub categories to receive your daily reward of gold, items, and one Laurel (In a future update you should only have to complete 4 of the 6 for the reward). The list of sub categories changes each day, even if you didn’t complete the previous ones. Achieving partial credit does not carry over towards the next day.
The Monthly achievements work the same way. In order to receive credit, you will need to complete each of the sub categories completely. Like the daily system, these sub categories will change every time one set ends. Monthly achievements tend to be broken into tiers, and you must complete all tiers of each category. These goals tend to take more time complete and you should focus on them from the start of the month to ensure you don’t run out of time to complete them.
Laurels are not stored in an inventory slot and instead function like the other currencies in the game, karma and gold. The only difference is Laurels are shared across all characters on an account. To see how many Laurels you have, your count is shown in the bottom left of the inventory panel of any character.
Laurels can not be traded between accounts, and may only be spent at Laurel Merchants. Merchants are located in each of the major cities in the game and offer a wide variety of items to purchase. The Laurel merchants divide their wares into five categories
- Ascended Gear (Amulets and Infusions)
- Ascended Gear (Rings)
- One Time Purchases
General purchases are the broadest category. It includes crafting materials (for all crafting tiers), harvesting tools, profession specific gear boxes, unidentified dyes, as well as mini pets.
Both Ascended Gear categories provide (current) best in slot gear for players. The items are divided into each of the stat categories, allowing you to pick the stats you prefer. These items do not have agony resistance used in Fractals of the Mist, as those items can only be obtained within Fractals. The Amulet section allows you to purchase utility infusions as well, which can be used to further modify your Ascended Gear.
The WvW section is currently sparse, but allows you to purchase blueprints for laurels. The current cost is a bit high though, so I recommend not using your Laurels for these. You can obtain blueprints from WvW jumping puzzles or gold much cheaper.
The One Time Purchase category allows players to purchase crafting starter kits for their characters. These kits provide a Tier 1 Crafting materials that should make the first levels of crafting easy for any character.
If you want to use Laurels to obtain some of the high end gear in the game, it is advised that you do not spend Laurels on smaller objects at this time. Since the speed at which you can achieve Laurels is account bound, having additional characters does nothing to speed up the process. Since Laurels are non tradable, and can only be obtained at a fixed rate, it is worth setting your sights on your goal early, and not spending Laurels until you can obtain that object from the merchants.
It has been hinted by ArenaNet that in the future, other achievements in the game may reward laurels, but nothing has been announced at this time. The surest way to know for sure is to review the achievement page of your Hero Panel for all the achievement details.