|My asura had a tree climbing phase.|
Let me go over the basics.
After you know your character looks great, a quick introduction story gets you a easy to follow tutorial where you start already playing with people. From there you're dropped off at a starting place for your race and free reign to explore!
The tasks that you can pick to gain experience are scattered all throughout the map, indicated with gold hearts. As you get close it'll let you know what you can do to help with the task, which is usually one of several things. Yes you can get significant XP without having to kill everything in site, and you don't get punished severely if you do just want to kill everything you can. You also get rewarded for reviving other players and NPCs, and for crafting.
Oh man crafting. You can cook, sew, build, smith, and smelt a ton of items that you'll find around the Guild Wars 2 world. Cooking is popular for helping you level up fast, and jewelry is a craft people like to take to they can make some serious coin. I personally like being able to make my own armor. It's also super easy to pick up and learn how to make new things. You'll be given some basic recipes but soon you'll be able to discover a ton more. Not sure what to do with that new shimmering dust you got? See what ingredients you can mix with it! You can only practice two crafts at a time but if you leave one for a while and pick it back up, you'll start where you left off.
And if none of that convinced you, I will leave you with a video of all the different dances of Tyria. There is no shame in buying a video game merely to have your character dance. No shame I tell you!