In the list of hidden message conspiracies, don't forget the theory that Fractals of the Mists was named so that any player who has any experience with MMORPGs sees it abbreviated and reads "Flavor of the Month".
...But I said before though, what I am bothered by is that fact that when I enter a map, I can't uncover 30 or 40% of it: I need to uncover 100% of it just so that I am able to keep up, not only with the map I am doing, but also with the level requirement for the next map...
And that's where the the game starts to feel like grind.
Ah, gotcha. Although I suppose you could hit other, similar leveled areas if you wanted to. Do 40% of two or three zones around your level, say. There's a little bit of option there. The only things I could see fixing this would be a completely levelless game (and idea exciting to a few of us, but still quite shocking to many) or developing additional content for sub-80 characters. Honestly, for the longevity of the game, I'd rather they spent the vast majority of their time making level 80 content.
It occurs to me that I'd probably have no feelings of grind if I wasn't so prone to switch characters. I have one level 80 in full exotics with a few ascended trinkets, and have no need to do anything grindy for him. Unfortunately, I got tired of his playstyle and am looking to try another profession for a while, which means I'm back to caring about laurels, gold, and tokens.
Even knowing I could just play a new character and not worry about "finishing" him, I'll eventually want BiS gear so I might as well work toward it now.
I am once again going to disagree with this: I think that the areas are way too small for a character to be able to play through them, without being forced into additional activities to keep up with the area. If you do all the content the game throws at you in a specific area, killing trash, DEs, hearts, crafting, exploration, ... there's still a decent chance that by the time you complete those activities and move onto the next area you will be under-levelled for that area.
While I do not disagree that the game throws XP at you for everything you do, I do feel that the game does not throw enough XP at you.
I've seen this stated many times, but it's the polar opposite of my experience.
Could be due to being on a higher-populated server, though I mostly play at lower population times. I've got two 80s and several others at 50+ and I'm always over-levelled simply completing zones and gathering along the way.
I don't know if it's due to having access to more DEs because of population, or if I'm simply inefficient so I spend more time in an area than others, but my first two toons dinged 80 with only about 40% map completion and most of the 60+ areas untouched.
When GW2 feels grindy to me, it's because there are limited ways to get the things I need.
For example, when I'm leveling a toon, the game doesn't feel grindy at all. Pretty much anything I do will dump XP on my head, from WvW to completing zones, to gathering, to crafting. I can play whatever I'm in the mood for on any given day, and I will advance my character.
Examples in the other direction are numerous.
If I'm currently trying to get enough gold together to buy something off the trading post, I need to either farm dragon events, run dungeons, or run around in Orr. If I choose to WvW I will make a tiny trickle of money or break even depending on how well my server is doing. If I run around a zone that is rated for less than level 70, I won't make significant money.
If I'm currently trying to finish out my gear with BiS trinkets, I can do my daily, run fractals, or do my guild missions for the week. Anything else will not get me closer to that goal.
This is when it starts to feel like grind. When I choose what to do with my play time based on the reward it will give me rather than on what seems to be the most fun, that is grind.