Guild Wars 2 has a refreshing perspective to traveling throughout Tyria in that it becomes incredibly easy to move around the world once you've unlocked various travel points. I find this rewarding for two reasons. First, exploration provides tangible results by unlocking waypoints that you can instantly travel to from anywhere in the world. Second. you don't waste tons of time running from the far side of a zone to the opposite side to do a quest or take part in an event. I hate the slow traveling methods in most MMOs in that I want to spend my time heroically playing and not feeling like I'm playing Never-Ending Sprinting: The MMO!
Traveling in Guild Wars 2 is simple and relies upon two types of transport: waypoints and asura gates. Waypoints are fixed locations throughout a zone that are unlocked when a player moves close to it. They are marked on your map with a diamond shape and are filled in when discovered. Waypoints appear as a floating stone marker that has a glow around it. Whenever you load into a zone, you can see the number of waypoints you've unlocked at the bottom of your loading screen. Once you've unlocked a waypoint, you can always travel to it by opening your map and clicking on the particular waypoint you wish to go to.
There is a monetary cost to travel to a waypoint and the cost increases the further away the waypoint is from you. You are not locked into any particular zone with waypoints and can travel to other zones by use of waypoints. Traveling within a city by using waypoints is free. Some waypoints may become contested if there is fighting going on in the vicinity and you will be unable to use them. You also cannot travel whilst you are in combat. If you die in combat, you can be revived at any waypoint by paying the associated travel cost. If you have no money, you'll be revived for free at the closest waypoint.
Asura Gate Travel
Asura gates are the other side of the travel coin in Guild Wars 2. They are free to use and provide instantaneous transport to other asura gates. Most asura gates are found in the cities, with Lion's Arch having a particularly large number of gates, but can be found in the wilds. In appearance, they are circular gates that have a glowing purple circle in the center. Unlike waypoints, you don't have to rely upon discovering asura gates to use them. You can travel from Divinity's Reach to Lion's Arch without ever having stepped foot into the latter city before. Asura gates are also used to transport players into World-versus-World battles. You can find asura gates on your map as they're shown as a purple swirl.
Direct PvP Travel and General Notes
While you are able to use asura gates to travel to both the Heart of the Mists - the main structured PvP lobby - and World vs. World zones, you can also do so more quickly through more direct travel methods.
To travel to the Heart of the Mists to test your build concepts on a variety of target dummies and NPCs, or to participate in either hot join or tournament PvP games, you can do so via the Hero window [H]. In this window you will want to open the PvP tab which will be found on the left side of the screen. In this view, there will be a clickable button towards the top labeled "Go to the Heart of the Mists". Clicking on this will instantly transport you to the PvP lobby from anywhere in the world.
The direct travel method for World vs. World zones is similar, only it will instead be found in the World vs. World Stats and Bonuses window [B]. Clicking on the "Go to World vs. World" button at the top of the window will bring up a drop-down list, allowing you to select whether you want to travel to the central contested map (The Eternal Battlegrounds), or one of the three Borderlands maps.
The last mode of traveling in Guild Wars 2 is your humble feet. Yes, while waypoints and asura gates allow for instantaneous travel, the sad fact remains that you will have to explore the world of Tyria mainly on your feet. You'll have to walk many a league to unlock the various waypoints in each zone, but the lure of exploration is its own reward. Who knows what you'll find as you explore the nooks and crannies of the world?
While the bulk of your traveling time will be spent on foot, the ability to use waypoints and asura gates allows you to travel quickly across the world once you've unlocked the various waypoints. This allows you to quickly get to the action, especially if you're doing your personal storyline, and not waste time tramping from one side of the map to the other over and over again. Spending a few coins is a small price to pay to instantly travel to another waypoint. Playing Guild Wars 2 should be about taking part in a glorious epic fantasy, not wasting time trudging around to get to the adventure.