Another frustration with MMOs is the feeling of “the grind” – that in order to level up your character, you have to constantly “Kill X boars” in order to gain enough experience points (XP) to move up to the next area of quests or get better stuff. GW2 handles the grind in a couple of different ways. First, when you are presented with a new area, a hollow heart icon on the map shows you where you can help out non-player-characters with quests – but instead of the quest-giver assigning you one task, you are presented with several different options. For example, at one area, you can help a farmer by fighting the bandits who are attacking her crops, or you can feed her cows, water some corn, etc. Doing these things build up a progress bar – once you’ve done enough of those tasks, the heart icon fills up, giving you extra experience points and a chance to purchase some items from the quest-giver.
If the heart-shaped icon quests feel like a grind, there’s still ways to gain XP without doing those missions. A lot of times, dynamic events will begin within each of those heart-icon areas, and kills/work done during the event count towards your progress within that area. I’ve entered areas where I haven’t even met the quest-giver, yet I get the credit for that area because I participated in events.