I'd also like to apologize if this thread belongs elsewhere; I searched and hadn't found anything even remotely exhaustive pertaining to ascended items.
First of all, the goal of this thread is to provide a relatively sound prediction of the stat increases provided by the (relatively) new ascended tier of items. This is not a discussion of how incredibly game-breaking or difficult/expensive the gear is to acquire, nor is it a place to complain about some perceived "slippery slope." What this is, however, is a math-centric discussion where I wanted to project a reasonable estimation of the stat gains of ascended versus exotic tiers.
The first, and most obvious, problem is determining the power of the ascended tier relative to the others. The wiki provides a nice summary, but the data for the tier we want to examine is missing: http://wiki.guildwar..._rarity#Quality. We can draw two conclusions from this. Either the ascended tier will follow the pattern found between the rare and exotic tiers, providing a 185% power increase, relative to the base tier, or we could find a suitable regression. Obviously, to help choose our assumption, we can look at the already-released ascended items. Namely, the backslot items and the rings.
Exotic: 67 + 48 + 48 = 163 + 55 = 218
Ascended: 108 + 68 + 68 = 244
Note that the extra 55 for the exotic piece comes from the stats provided by the jewel. I am also ignoring the agony and the extra stats provided by the upgraded infusions.
% Difference = (244 - 218) / 218 * 100% = 11.927%
Exotic: 22 + 16 + 16 = 54 + 48 = 102
Ascended: 56 + 35 + 35 = 126
Note again that the 48 is from the stats provided by the orb. Once again, the infusion stats are ignored.
% Difference = (126 - 102) / 102 * 100% = 23.529%
According to the wiki, if the 20% relative power increase pattern continues, the ascended tier should be 12.12% more powerful than the exotic tier. Proof:
Since the backslots tend to have reduced consistency stat progression-wise than rings (6.25% between rare and exotic, compared to 10.10% between rare and exotic for the rings), I chose 12% as my overall conversion factor to approximate the ascended tier stats.
Next, I wanted to compare the exotic stats to the ascended stats. However, it is important to understand that you cannot compare the stat increase that the ascended tier provides over the exotic tier. This is because a very large and very significant portion of your stats are inherently provided by your character itself. At level 80, you have 916 base points in the four main attributes, and an additional 1400 that are gained via traits.
Character Based Stat Points = 916 * 4 + 1400 = 5064 stat points
The following are the calculations for the stat points for the gear tiers:
So, for the exotic tier, your gear provides 43.05% of your overall stats.
The ascended gear provides 45.89% of your overall stats.
To easily compare the two, we'll just find the difference.
45.89% - 43.05% = 2.84%
If, instead, the ascended gear turned out to be 20% more powerful than the exotic tier, the difference is 4.34%. If the ascended gear happened to be 40% more powerful than the exotic tier, the difference then becomes 7.70%.
To me, this seems like an awfully small stat increase to be complaining so much about. Furthermore, considering Agony resistance will undoubtedly become more and more widespread, I severely doubt it'll be anywhere near game-breaking. It may gate some content, but it's hardly the end of the world if you have to progress through earlier content to unlock further content. You didn't just start effectively traipsing through Orr at level 10, now, did you?
There are a few flaws, namely that I assumed zero stat point contribution via orbs placed in armor. However, since we are extrapolating the ascended gear stats off of their exotic counterparts, the results would be identical had we included the orbs. Furthermore, the rings show that the ascended tier shows an approximate 12% increase over the previous tier, including the jewel stats. Therefore, I believe it is a safe and accurate assumption to ignore the orb contribution.
Additionally, runes and sigils were ignored throughout. This was mostly to create an easier approximation and to form a sort of maximum "stat potential." That is, the effects of sigils and runes are far too diverse and varied to quantify into stat points.
In closing, please comment and correct any mistakes you find, or provide your own numbers/calculations so we can contrast and compare.