With Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet has polished the entire MMO experience into something seamless and beautiful. Advancement in the multitude of systems in Guild Wars 2 is as simple as playing the game however you normally would…
…with one exception.
The crafting system in Guild Wars 2, while pretty simple, is tuned in such a way that actually leveling it up at the same rate as your character takes some planning and a little discipline on your part. In most MMOs, leveling up crafting is a case of finding the cheapest but highest-level recipe you can craft, and making it over and over again until another cheap, high-level crafting option opens up.
Guild Wars 2 still has some of that, but with the recipe discovery system — which requires you to semi-blindly place recipes into a crafting window and hope for the best — the big emphasis, and the fastest way to level your crafting, is on experimentation.
With the exception of the Chef skill, which has its own set of patterns, all of the crafting skills have a fairly easy method for advancement. It sounds strange, but the best way to boost your crafting is to craft as infrequently as possible.
As tempting as it might be to use your materials as soon as you acquire them, the best way to advance is to only refine raw materials until you no longer advance from it (you can stop when the option becomes blue too, usually), then do the same for creating the crafting components from those refined materials. This is where it gets a bit tricky though, because a lot of crafting professions have a lot of options here.
To make the absolute most out of the materials you have, you need to spread your crafting out across virtually all of your options. Discovering new recipes, which is best done by using the same dozen refined materials and components in different combinations, awards vastly more experience than repeatedly crafting the same item, even if it’s a strong one. So, if you’re a leatherworker, you would want to refine all your cloth and leather scraps into bolts and leather squares until you gain little or no experience from it. Then you want to go through your list of possible crafting options (shoulder padding, shoulder straps etc) and spread your materials fairly evenly across them.
This includes making insignias, because that’s where most of your discoveries come from. Be very careful with the insignias, too: the materials are expensive. Once you’ve got, say, three of each crafting option and several of each insignia, it’s just a case of systematically making as many new combinations in the discovery tab as you can. You should get a couple skill levels per discovery, and it should get you up to the next tier of materials, or at least very close.
The downside to this method is that most of those crafted goods are likely to be several levels lower than whatever enemies are dropping. But you can simply sell the goods on the Trading Post, or break them down back into their raw materials and sell those instead.
The upside, and its a pretty massive upside, is that you should always be caught-up in crafting by the time you reach the next tier of materials in your exploration. You should also even get a few free level-ups just from crafting, and it’s one of the easiest ways to fulfill the experience-without-dying requirement for your monthly achievement.