I cannot claim to represent all the dissatisfied players, but for those who don’t get why the update upsets many of us so much let me try to explain.
The biggest issue with ascended gear is not what is currently in the game, but rather how it goes against what Anet has said previously along with what it may mean for the future.
Anet advertised the game heavily as being a game without grind either for levels or for gear. This attracted many of us who like to spend our time doing anything we want in the game without worrying if we could be doing things more efficiently by getting better gear. The introduction of ascended gear is completely opposite to this idea.
It does not matter if the difference in stats is small, the very fact it exist is a mental sore for many of us. It leaves you constantly aware that you could be doing things better or easier than you are now, and when you barely lose a tough fight it makes you wonder if you could have done it if you had the better gear to give you that slight edge.
It makes the game future much less clear, this makes it difficult for me to enjoy the game playing as I want as it might set me back in the future. Sure I can play with just my exotics for now, but if in the future another dungeon is added with the agony condition then suddenly I can’t play it with my friends because I don’t have the gear for it. So while I might not need the gear, the fact that I might need it in the future is a great concern for many.
It also leaves the door open for future gear tiers. Instead of adding new horizontal content to give players more options, new expansions/content may instead become focused on the next big gear item or even a new level cap that must be reached to do these areas effectively, which for many, I want to “have fun instead of preparing to have fun”. The combination of a new gear tier currently only available in one area of the game combined with the new area being very lackluster (at least currently) concerns me greatly at is seems to say that Anet thinks it’s players would rather grind boring content for better gear instead of playing great content with mediocre rewards.
The game was advertised as being focused on horizontal content development with lots of options to what I could do where I wouldn’t have to worry about farming or grinding things to keep up with everyone else. Instead the game has become more and more of a grindfest with the only additional content currently being very underwhelming. If Anet does not go back to what they originally claimed, they will lose the players they advertised the heaviest towards and only be left with standard MMO grinders who will leave as soon as the next big name MMO comes out. If this trend continues I will not be surprised to find out GW2 is going completely f2p within the next year or two.