I have 8 level 80 characters, one for each profession, a level 72 charr warrior, and a level 42 asura thief.
My first character was a warrior and I leveled him completely through map completion and exploration. I tried to rush through things to get to see all the zones so I could tell which zones I wanted to spend more time in, but it turned out that was the slow way to level. It took me about 80 hours in total and did not feel like a grind, but I wanted to hurry up and see everything. I only had ~75% map completion so I still had plenty to see on other characters. I was over-leveled for most of the zones.
The next few characters (necro, ranger, guardian, thief, ele, engineer) I got smart and figured out better ways to level. First, if you fully explore all the cities you'll start off at level 8, complete a starter zone and you'll be at least at 15, depending on how many events you do and stacking events and hearts together. Then you have a few story missions you can do easily. Mix story, map completion, and crafting and characters level very quickly. Some characters were just more fun to explore with, I hit 85% map completion with my engineer without realizing it. For my ele and thief I wanted to speed things along so I threw more crafting in there to skip from ~60 to 80. I hated playing mesmer so I leveled from 30 to 80 with crafting only with that character.
Then I got a few of those scrolls that start you off at level 20 so I created a charr warrior because I always wanted one and a few other characters I dabbled with but weren't too connected to and ended up with the level 42 asura thief I don't ever play. I liked playing the charr warrior in a different way than I played my original warrior because thematically it made sense so it was like a totally different class to me. I haven't rushed or felt a reason to rush to level the remaining two characters I have, I just jump around zones and see some stuff and then go somewhere else. Their crafting and map completion is very low.
So the only character I felt would be a grind was the mesmer because I didn't like playing that profession, so I opted to skip the grind altogether and craft him to 80. If any one area felt like a grind I'd just do something else or switch to a different character. Now if it starts feeling like a grind I just stop playing.
Edited by Krazzar, 31 January 2014 - 05:26 PM.