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Locked Masteries

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I boosted a character and I have finished my first full bar of experience points. It keeps prompting me about Masteries, but says I have to finish a storyline that is way down the line for me. If I continue to do quests and stuff, what happens to all that experience? Is it lost?

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Yes, you won't be able to gain any more experience until one of your mastery tracks is unlocked (although experience numbers will keep appearing on your screen whenever you would have gained experience).

The Wiki lists the requirements to unlock each mastery track. Since a few of them unlock on entering specific zones, it looks possible to unlock one without doing a story step, although it will probably be a hastle. If you have Heart of Thorns and access to Gilded Hollow Guild Hall, you should be able to get to Auric Basin from there to unlock the Exalted Lore mastery track (and consequently the Central Tyria ones too). Alternatively you could use a Teleport to a Friend (if you have one) to get there or into one of the other maps that unlocks a mastery track.

I don't think it's possible for you to just run through Verdant Brink to Auric Basin without doing the first Heart of Thorns story step, since I believe that you can't get into Verdant Brink without doing that on at least one character - but maybe somebody else can confirm or deny that.

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Once you have a level 80 character, you have to train yourself to view XP different than you would for other games. For 80's, XP becomes a tool to unlock masteries, rather than gain levels. At least until you've maxed all masteries for a zone (core, HoT, PoF) since they have independent tracks. Characters below 80 still apply XP gain to level ups.

So yes, that XP gained when you don't have a mastery track to apply it to is lost, but it's not a big deal. There is plenty more XP out there waiting.

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