Sad, sad face.
I remember ANet talking about how one would get their profession Elites through quests (sad that did not come to fruition). I always dreamed about crossing a barren desert to finally find a deserted monastery containing an old book of death magic -- where upon fighting the undead guardians -- would acquire my new elite skill. Something like that for the precursors.
"Purged in death's shadows, Necromancy wails anew, Life that is breathless."
There are lots of skill checks in the game. Jumping puzzles (a la Skipping Stones and MKT) are one. Other examples would be soloing a champion, reach a certain level in fractals, kill x players on your own in WvW.
Blend these with a "historical lore-filled quest" (CMEPTb) and there you go, got your awesome scavenger hunt.
What's so cool about all of this is that there really isn't anything similar to this in other MMOs, so once again, ArenaNet has the chance to innovate if they do it right.
(IMO Jumping puzzles were one of the greatest innovations of GW2)