ArenaNet has told us they were working on a new attrition mechanic, after the removal of potions. It appears equipment repair will be said mechanic. What do you people think?
EDIT: Martin confirmed it in the following posts:
Let me explain what is actually happening.
Every time you get defeated (so after you have been downed and failed to rally) one piece of your armor gets damaged. Once all your armor pieces are damaged, they will break - and you will have to repair or replace it.
It is very different from a durability system other games use, as you cannot avoid being hit by opponents - but you can avoid getting defeated by skilled play.
So if you never get defeated, you will never have to repair a single piece of armor.
Hope that helps, we have a blogpost about it coming soon that will get into more details.
One important thing:
Stop thinking in GW terms when thinking about "dying". GW did not have a Downed State.
We have been testing this system for quite a while now, it feels very natural when actually playing and not just theorizing about it (And yes, I know that you all would rather play then theorize, we are working on it ).
To answer another question: Armor pieces do not get destroyed, they just become useless unless you repair them.
Edited by Teste, 19 February 2012 - 09:19 PM.
Adding Martin's confirmation