For me, style changes based on scenario and time. On days when you do not have endless time, smaller achievable tasks are the desired route. Rewards are not always gear or skills but sometimes it is simply quality of life. Example might be a quick travel hub access or get to the high point (hill top) and now you “reveal” your map or more of a map. Just small, but measurable, achievements that are not necessarily based on time.
Then there are days when you can dig in. I have no issue with putting time in, but dislike timers. Grinding comes into play here, and though no one likes a long repetitive grind that is followed by a new shiney grind, there will be a need for it. Be it to build experience, or skills for crafting… repetition is going to happen. On the deep dive day, I want to be able to reach one of these repetitive grinding skills. Be it a new level, or a new skill. Often they come together as a final win!!! TA DA, you are now level 11 and can shoot fire arrows. Why doesn’t the skill improve as you level? At level 10, you have a fire arrow skill but it is only 10% full strength. As you build through that next level, it grows. So, before you hit level 11, you could have a 90% strengthed skill. Once again, just small mile markers that a player can shoot for (pun intended) during their game play.
Grouping. Mixed. When time is limited, grouping can be a time sink. It can also be a way to get through more content or hit a larger goal. It really depends on the group. Running with a guild/kinship is typically more fun then any pug (pickup group).
Raiding. I enjoy the rewards. I hate the time sink. I will never lead one but appreciate those who do. There is a time and place for them. I HATE with a passion the elitism of raiders. Raiding does not have to be a profanity filled hour on hour long rant by keyboard warriors. This has more to do with the players then the game. Just an observation.
PVP is not my first choice for game play. (see above for similar reasoning). Basically, I want to enjoy a game and pwning someone or being ganked really doesn’t do it for me). Forced PvP is a non-starter for me. Full loot PvP guarantees I will run naked but not really enjoy it. I guess, there is a time and a place for it, but definitely not my first choice of play style.
Any tool that helps build community is a good thing for me. Chats, notes, inscribing crafting items, guilds/kinships, etc.