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A new blog post from Linsey Murdock describes some of the new "Ascended" gear coming to Guild Wars 2 in the upcoming November update and why it's being introduced. This has become an incredibly hot topic the moment it came out of the oven. Players have stated concerns about future gear progression as well as the role the new infusion slots will have in the game.

You can read this blog post on the Guild Wars 2 official website here, but here's a quick summary for those looking for some answers.
  • There will be a new monster condition called "Agony", which is where the new infusion slots come into play.
  • Players must "infuse" to protect against this deadly new ailment.
  • Infusion slots come in Offensive, Defensive, and Omni protective varieties.
  • In terms of rarity, Ascended items fall between Exotic and Legendary.
  • Currently, Ascended items only come in the form of rings and back slots, but there's room to expand in the future.

Quote

As we watch Guild Wars 2 mature in its Live environment, we have found that our most dedicated players were achieving their set of Exotic gear and hitting “the Legendary wall.” We designed the process of getting Legendary gear to be a long term goal, but players were ready to start on that path much sooner than we expected and were becoming frustrated with a lack of personal progression. Our desire is to create a game that is more inclusive for hardcore and casual players alike, but we don’t want to overlook the basic need for players to feel like they are progressing and growing even after hitting max level. Adding item progression is a delicate process normally undertaken in an expansion, but we feel it’s important to strive to satisfy the basic needs of our players sooner rather than later.

How do you feel about the introduction of a new tier of gear to the game?  What about the new Fractal dungeons or Agony?  Tell us what you think below!
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#1 Sevens

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:29 PM

[quote name='Dokem' timestamp='1352835076' post='2077487']
If you don't want to "raid" this new dungeon, you won't need this new tier of gear. Why the let down? This harder content is not for you.

Let's say you can experience the first  5 floors of the dungeon with exotics just fine, and to be able to beat the 6th floor you need infused ascended gear. Well, if you dont want to explore further, you won't need the gear. You dont need it for the other dungeons, most probabl you wont need it for wvwvw, so why bother? Y U BOTHER??!!!
[/quote]Maybe cause I want to beat it based on my skill....you know like Anet promised us the game was going to be, not a gear treadmill...there are other games that do it much better so if Anet wants to go toe to toe with them im sure it will become a niche game...

#2 ToySoldier

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 12:12 AM

[quote name='Arkham Creed' timestamp='1352848726' post='2077893']
After reading this, and holding my tongue on the subject until this was released, I have come a conclusion; I’m okay with this. There is one very important reason why; no upgrade slots.

You’re basically trading versatility for protection from a dungeon specific mechanic and a slight boost in base power.[/quote]

Versatility can still come in the form of different types of Ascended gear.  The one we saw had magic find, pretty sure there will be other types.  I feel people will want multiple sets of Ascended.

I too have gotten my money's worth.  As I said in my first post in this thread. This ANet move just means I will never buy top end gear again.  Not gonna spend money on gems to trade for gold to buy gear.  My concern is more for ANet.  As far as I know, gem store and possibly expansions are their means at revenue.  Will this end up helping them?  Or hurting them?

My other problem is I can no longer recommend this game to my friends.  I know they can't grind.  They know they can't grind.  Again, it's not a problem for me, or them.  It is more potentially a problem for ANet.

If anyone here thinks I'm just here to knock ANet, you're wrong.  I actually like the ANet staff, and am trying to think for their revenue.  It's up to them to decide.  I myself have practically no problem with this for my own sake, except oh shucks just bought 2nd tier gear. I had skipped rare. I should have skipped exotic too.  No more spending in gem store, problem solved.  This game is easy enough anyone can make it to top level in low quality gear, imho.

It's ANet's decision.  I'm sure they have plenty of data tracking the % of players doing each type of in-game activity.  So far I actually think ANet is the brightest of the bunch of devs in the industry.  Good luck to them.  But I maintain my position in not being fooled again into buying any "top tier gear" when blue does me well.  I feel my obligation is to pay for expansions.  And my requirement will be to play without running the risk of buying top tier gear, only to have it deemed 2nd top a week later to my total surprise.

I won't even hold my breath legendary will last 5 years.

If ANet has to yield to gear lovers in under 3 months, how in the world will the current legendary hold its value for 5 years?  :P   I won't attempt legendary gear now, and not ever.  Chances are now good there will be be Celestial, or some other fancy names coming up in 1, 2, 3, or 5 years that will be more difficult to achieve than the current legendary.  Names like Celestial are cool for that reason.

I'm sure even for Agony, there will be some sort of blue gear equivalent that will ward Agogy adequately for me in PvE zones meant for soloers.  If blue gear won't do, and I'm forced to grind, I'll quit.  Simple. :lol:  I doubt it will get to that. There is a massive population of players on blue gear.  Every one of my friends is in blue gear.  I was the only doh doh who got the bright idea to buy exotic at 80.

Bottom line, in the this is about ANet's gem store revenue, and about players who wish to trade gold for gems. I'm cutting both off when I protect myself.  [Edit add: And the truth is, I am a really average consumer.  There will be lots like me.]

#3 borovnica

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 12:35 AM

I don't like that they are adding new rarity of gear, but if this is a last one, then I'm ok with it. I just hope they don't make this game into lighter version of gear treadmill because of idiotic people. Also I'll still play this game even if they do, it's so much fun, even after 300+ hours :D worth every $ I spent on this game :)

@ToySoldier... lol for blue armor/weapons. You should be wearing at least green ones, ffs it isn't hard to craft one, or even buy one, they are so cheap.

#4 ToySoldier

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 12:45 AM

[quote name='borovnica' timestamp='1352853318' post='2078037']
@ToySoldier... lol for blue armor/weapons. You should be wearing at least green ones, ffs it isn't hard to craft one, or even buy one, they are so cheap.
[/quote]

Hehe thanks for the tip.  I found it cheapest to buy blue armor/weapons in BTP. They can all be transferred to my alts and friends. We have a bank filled with blue stuff from lvl 1 to 75.  We try to upgrade every 5 levels, but one pal is lazy and does it every 20 levels. No problem hunting at all for him.  Last he soloed 4 mobs 1 level above him in blue 20 levels below his lvl. Crazy guy.. and he is handicapped with 4 missing fingers on one hand.  Yay for him! :lol:  He's my hero.

#5 Xodiak

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 01:05 AM

You need new stuff, shinier, better, upgrades.. awesome news and I hope they continue along this path.

#6 IsThisNameTaken

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 01:07 AM

Whoever says that ascended is a level between exotics and legendary needs to quit smoking whatever he/she is smoking. Exotics "used" to have the same stats as legendaries. Because ascended will have better stats now, you obviously can't have legendaries with lower stats than a quality grade lower than it. So now ascended gear is the new "exotics". And not are there "normal" ascended... There are different rarities of ascended... With infusion slots... And this is only the beginning. Seriously, 1.5K armour in GW1 was the best design philosophy ever.

#7 razor39999

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 01:14 AM

Catering to the gear grind crowd while alienating the base consumers that made Anet the company it is today. GG
Hint - gear grinders will still leave you when they reach the next plateau.

#8 AstralPhoenix777

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 02:21 AM

[quote name='ToySoldier' timestamp='1352853917' post='2078049']
Hehe thanks for the tip.  I found it cheapest to buy blue armor/weapons in BTP. They can all be transferred to my alts and friends. We have a bank filled with blue stuff from lvl 1 to 75.  We try to upgrade every 5 levels, but one pal is lazy and does it every 20 levels. No problem hunting at all for him.  Last he soloed 4 mobs 1 level above him in blue 20 levels below his lvl. Crazy guy.. and he is handicapped with 4 missing fingers on one hand.  Yay for him! :lol:  He's my hero.
[/quote]

Blue (fine) weapons and armour may be sufficient for lolling around PvE zones, even Orr, but if you come up against me wearing my exotic equipment, I have a full +25% armour rating over you, and my weapon does 25% more damage. You're dead meat; this is why gear-grinding is important, and shows how ANet really betrayed the more casual gamers (despite what their PR department spins).

Casual gamers are actually much better off playing the original Guild Wars, where you can reach level 20 and get max-stat gear within 20-30 hours easily...or can just buy into it with a PvP pack. By comparison, it took me 250 hours to get my full exotic equipment at level 80 in GW2. Sure, it can be done a lot quicker than that, but I was taking my time playing the game like I imagine most people do.

#9 Mordachai1977

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:08 AM

[quote name='adra12' timestamp='1352823454' post='2076900']
At what % is it not ridiculous? Have you rolled a level 10 in WvW and tried to kill a level 80? Stats do play a role and for ANet to say you could build an character equal character without ever having to kill a mob in the PvE world and then introduce items with higher stats only available from a dungeon completely goes back on one of the main principals of their Manifesto, because that model equates to play more = win more.

I for one will be doing the dungeon because it will be fun, but for ANet to appear to go back on one of their main principals behind this game just feels like a sucker punch.
[/quote]

WvW being unbalanced as it is, it is a poor example to use. Not to mention that there has been a new statement about the ascended gear becoming available in wvw.

#10 sjaggy

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:13 AM

Hey Anet, thanks for letting me waste my money.  Bought a full ruby orichalcum accesory set (Necklace, rings and earrings) like a week ago and now you're bringing a better set..... Give me my 12g back?

#11 Zhahz

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:20 AM

Odd. I could've sworn one of the reasons I got into this game was because it wasn't going to have gear tiers and and endless loot carrot, and this person is saying they want to appeal to hardcore progression types, which wasn't any part of the original plan and manifesto (and apparent BS) that I bought into.

Basically, ANet is completely full of crap, which I guess should be no real surprise.  Thinking they might be different was probably just pretty stupid and naive.

#12 Majic

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:38 AM

[b]Agony And Gloom[/b]

[quote name='Shayne Hawke' timestamp='1352780812' post='2075540']
[*]There will be a new monster condition called "Agony", which is where the new infusion slots come into play.
[*]Players must "infuse" to protect against this deadly new ailment.[/quote]

This appears to be functionally identical to the [url=http://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Radiance]LOTRO Radiance system[/url], which was used to gate high-end dungeons. Without the necessary Radiance gear, some content was effectively unplayable, in the same way described by ArenaNet.

Replace the LOTRO term "Gloom" with "Agony", and there's no meaningful difference between them. Just as in LOTRO, gear is being used to gate high-end content and exclude players who don't have it.

Despite LOTRO being a game based heavily on grinding, in which level caps are periodically raised and players' expensive legendary items become obsolete in the process, Turbine abandoned the Radiance system a year and a half ago after realizing it was a huge mistake. Even players who had spent immense amounts of time grinding for Radiance gear were, by and large, happy to see the system removed. It has not been missed.

The use of special gear to exclude players from content runs in diametric opposition to the philosophies expressed by Eric Flannum and Colin Johanseon in [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIExN1GZK_Q]this video.[/url] Then there's the [url=http://www.arena.net/blog/guild-wars-2-design-manifesto]Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto[/url]:

[quote name='Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto']
So much of traditional MMO combat is rote and repetitive. You execute the same strategy over and over again, just augmented over time with better and better gear. After a while it starts to feel like you’re playing a spreadsheet.[/quote]

Do tell.

After five years of playing LOTRO, which is very much a "traditional MMO", I left it all behind to play GW2 and consider GW2 to be superior in virtually every way. Yet here we are seeing a game feature being introduced which even a "traditional MMO" considered to be too much of a grind and a bad idea in the end.

It's like an unwanted, hand-me-down mechanic being shoehorned into an otherwise innovative and forward-thinking game. Did ArenaNet not know about this? Are they going to have to learn a lesson Turbine already learned the hard way well over a year before GW2 launched? Why are we only hearing about this now, from a company which purports to base so many key decisions on "player feedback"?

Why didn't they ask [i]me?[/i]

I don't want to go back to LOTRO, and I really would rather ArenaNet not bring LOTRO back to me.

#13 ToySoldier

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:55 AM

Whoa Majic,(snip quote on your full post) love your post.  Well said!

[quote name='AstralPhoenix777' timestamp='1352859663' post='2078155']
Blue (fine) weapons and armour may be sufficient for lolling around PvE zones, even Orr, but if you come up against me wearing my exotic equipment, I have a full +25% armour rating over you, and my weapon does 25% more damage. You're dead meat; this is why gear-grinding is important, and shows how ANet really betrayed the more casual gamers (despite what their PR department spins).

Casual gamers are actually much better off playing the original Guild Wars, where you can reach level 20 and get max-stat gear within 20-30 hours easily...or can just buy into it with a PvP pack. By comparison, it took me 250 hours to get my full exotic equipment at level 80 in GW2. Sure, it can be done a lot quicker than that, but I was taking my time playing the game like I imagine most people do.
[/quote]

Thanks and well said!  This is why I worry about my WvW friend.  Hopefully zerg will help him survive.  I myself had bought exotic gear with trying out WvW in mind, but so far I haven't gone.  I'm just not competitive.  Having much more fun wandering around rezzing people haha.  Relaxing and leisurely for me.  WvW is a good ideal in my mind.  Wish I can join that fun and watch skilled people.

[quote name='Zhahz' timestamp='1352884823' post='2078619']
Odd. I could've sworn one of the reasons I got into this game was because it wasn't going to have gear tiers and and endless loot carrot, and this person is saying they want to appeal to hardcore progression types, which wasn't any part of the original plan and manifesto (and apparent BS) that I bought into.

Basically, ANet is completely full of crap, which I guess should be no real surprise.  Thinking they might be different was probably just pretty stupid and naive.
[/quote]

Maybe ANet is not getting enough revenue.  In the end every game is a business.  They are obviously no longer in tune with a large segment of their intended customer base.  They started out with a passionate manifesto, and are now bending their own vision.  Kind of sad to watch.  I do like the people in ANet.  But they are not being considerate enough toward players who bought exotic gear in the last 2 months.  Players had invested in exotic thinking it would be their dream gear to enjoy for a long time.  This lack of consideration for their customer can end up alienating the customers.  I personally feel ANet's pain may lie in economy.  There are always demands for revenue.  Hope ANet will figure out how to do the right things to keep both their vision and revenue flowing.

I myself am a victim of this move, having just paid a chunk of gold for my exotic armor armor and weapons.  Won't be doing that again, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.  This kind of move can end up negatively impact ANet's revenue down the road.  :huh: I'm a bit concerned for them, but they are professionals. Their fate is in their own hands. Wishing them the best while protecting myself.  :lol:

#14 ToySoldier

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 11:03 AM

P.S.
[quote name='Majic' timestamp='1352889501' post='2078723']
[b]Agony And Gloom[/b]



This appears to be functionally identical to the [url="http://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Radiance"]LOTRO Radiance system[/url], which was used to gate high-end dungeons. Without the necessary Radiance gear, some content was effectively unplayable, in the same way described by ArenaNet.
[/quote]

Great insight.  Thanks for bringing it up.  This is all going back to raid gear acquisition all over again.  In EQ it was resistance gear as gate for raid mobs, combined with superior stats.  Hehe the new gear coming indeed already reminds me of old Everquest raid gear.  Astounding to see we are back to EQ type of gear too.

#15 d_fens

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 11:51 AM

[quote name='Majic' timestamp='1352889501' post='2078723']
Despite LOTRO being a game based heavily on grinding, in which level caps are periodically raised and players' expensive legendary items become obsolete in the process, Turbine abandoned the Radiance system a year and a half ago after realizing it was a huge mistake. Even players who had spent immense amounts of time grinding for Radiance gear were, by and large, happy to see the system removed. It has not been missed.
[/quote]
And yet they later introduced another mechanic called Finesse, which works in similar way, although not that severe. Looks like laziness is permanently settled in devs minds (being software developer myself I know that feeling :D), no matter what game they are creating.

#16 Majic

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 12:12 PM

[b]Sometimes You Need A Little[/b]

[quote name='d_fens' timestamp='1352893908' post='2078811']

And yet they later introduced another mechanic called Finesse, which works in similar way, although not that severe. Looks like laziness is permanently settled in devs minds (being software developer myself I know that feeling :D), no matter what game they are creating.[/quote]

Yeah, Finesse is basically "Radiance light", but at least you can play without it and not immovably cower in fear. You can also get gear with Finesse fairly easily in LOTRO without doing any raids at all, making it relatively meaningless as a gating mechanic.

My solo-only Hunter has loads of Finesse.

Yay him. :P

#17 Wikid

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:57 PM

I do not like the Agony condition as it will force players to the Ascended gear to delve into higher level content, I like the idea. I'm hoping that  "[font="CronosPro, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"][color="#000000"]We also have plans to add more fun ways to acquire Legendary precursor items with a more “scavenger hunt” feel than they are acquired currently." is meant for all precursor items and not just the forge weapons. The Mystic Forge is very unnecessary and is so random that it makes the process frustrating and kills the fun. The complexity of creating Legendary weapons is so taxing that it loses all relevance for a large percent of the population especially if Ascended weapons are their equal in stats. I still wonder if they will introduce Legendary armor and accessories as I was under the impression that Legendary was higher than exotic. Now Ascended and Legendary are equal. I just hope the skins for Ascended armor are better than the ones for exotics. I haven't really found a single armor that I feel is a must have yet. [/color][/font]

#18 Tzu Qui Jinn

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 05:39 PM

When did Guild Wars 2 become, Gear Wars 2?  I thought I stopped playing World of GearCraft.

THIS
[quote name='Zhahz' timestamp='1352884823' post='2078619']
Odd. I could've sworn one of the reasons I got into this game was because it wasn't going to have gear tiers and and endless loot carrot, and this person is saying they want to appeal to hardcore progression types, which wasn't any part of the original plan and manifesto (and apparent BS) that I bought into.

Basically, ANet is completely full of crap, which I guess should be no real surprise.  Thinking they might be different was probably just pretty stupid and naive.
[/quote]

#19 Samarin

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:00 PM

If the agony is unique to the Fractals of Mist and you get the infusion gear by playing it, I don´t see it becoming too much of a problem if implemented wisely. Whether implementing such thing was wise in the first place, it´s another thing.

If Ascended armor is statwise much superior to exotics, it surely could potentially kill WvW. Somehow I don´t believe (or at least I truly hope) that Anet didn´t take that into account.

On monday we are much wiser on this, now just wait for event launch and enjoy some tropical shores.