This ship is starting to take on water and Anet had better start taking some serious action soon. If the community perceives the ship is sinking there will be mass exodus.
I've taken a two week break from both the game and the forums (minus some tp posts) and this is going to be my last post, but the break has really given perspective for me.
As much as I hate gear treadmills and ascended (and I still think it's stupid btw), ascended really isn't the reason to strop playing GW2
It's a lot of reasons. Reasons that together make this game really suboptimal, but it's hard to see after the initial excitement of waiting 5 years for the sequel to the game I loved guild wars. It's kinda silly if you've seen my posts, but I really think of myself as somewhat of an arenanet fanboy given how much misplaced excitement I had for this sequel. Many of the reasons can be seen by just comparing the original to this one, others are just general * ups for this game.
1) PvP aside, both games were inevitably about grind. Realistically speaking, you tended to do things that were profitable in the original GW even if some things were less fun, although there were so many ways to do this you could usually find something that was both fun and profitable.
The difference is the grind was open and fun. In guild wars 2, if you want to reasonably grind for something, you honestly only have like 3 or 4 grind options and they're all boring as hell. You can grind orr, now you can grind fotm, you could do ori runs, or maybe you could solo farm in Frostgorge. And you'll be doing this all with a build which you can techincally modify but will ultimtely just be the same damned obvious build as anyone else, even if you choose different traits.
In guild wars 1 even in the beginning you could chest run, run people through areas, farm mursatt, farm any of a million other areas since lack of downscaling meant you could farm just about anywhere for profit, run FoW or UW, holiday farm (since you the required ingredients for holiday collectores reamined the same you could farm for next holiday), and even do PvP for PvE rewards via Hall of Heroes. Now realistically speaking, FoW and UW were no different than any other dungeon of GW2, but all the others were massive fun. Everyone had their own special running build that they worked on and specfically used, and running required quite a lot of skill: You needed to know every inch of your run. Not everyone could do droks (I actually couldn't reliably! although I found marhan's more profitable anyways :3 ) and many of the others were difficult. But you went through it and mastered it and it was quite enjoyable when you could help people out and make money doing it. Especially fun is when you come up with your own runs, like when I figured out how to run captured son in like 2 minutes flat.
And thats just describing running people! There were also these grouped chest runs in FoW which were absolutely hilarious. People who had a warrior in prophecies know what I'm talking about. You basically had 8 warriors join the dungeon all together and just keep running as a group hoping you didn't die, until eventually the group wiped and you opened a bunch of chests along the way. It was incredibly fun, and the rewards were very fun too since you never knw what you were going to get. You could sell the stuff unidentified and make a solid profit, or you could take a gamble and hope for something really great.
And then of course there was standard farming, but even then you used your own unique build. People were always tweaking and messing around with builds and while there were some accepted specific builds for some areas (namely 55s/ bond monks), you could really run whatever you wanted that worked for you, but at the same time it was always incredibly different from everyone else. Ever run sorrows furnace with 8 fire eles and no tank or monks? That's a friggin blast.
For anyone who read all that and is a GW1, you know these were all fun. And compared to what in GW2? Spam 1 in an event. Spam AoEs in frostgorge or grind your one friggin set of fractals with the same build everyone else uses of your profession. Oh and there's ori runs, but not nearly as fun to do solo, and not nearly as difficult or amusing. What a joke. And now you guys are going to be stuck in one place, fotm really.
Furthermore, while there was techincally a gear grind, the top stuff only put you at 1-2% more powerful, and since guild wars was much more skill oriented, aside from running you didn't even notice it in the slightest (and even then, 1-2% is 1-2%!). But this was great, because the few hardcore grinders who needed that top stuff for whatever reason payed through the nose for it, so even the most modest of farms could fund you with the money to pay for several alts' armors and runs to the highest level areas.
tl;dr Grind was still the point of PvE, but it was much more open and fun.
2) Pvp again, in comparison is an absolute joke in Guild wars 2. The excuse given for dumbing down builds so everyone runs the same damned crap and everyone expects the same damned crap is that at the very least it would be easily balanced. The problem? 3 months into the game now and there is still less viable build variety and formats than in guild wars 1. This is an atrocity. I think they realized a bit too late now that roles such as interrupters and prot monks were what kept what balance guild wars had going, and removing them actually made guild wars 2 balance even worse, only now it's dumbed down and stupid to boot. Without profession specific roles, people just choose whichever class runs that role best, and so we see a neverending set of nerfs and Arenanet scrambles to try and bring some semblance of class balance. In the end, we're left with about 20 or so viable builds across all professions, which is truly terrible.
3) WvW, the final format, is a format that fails on a level greater than Hero battles, and considering the latter was actually an attempt to make solo players try and handle 4-5 capping zones by themselves rather than fight, that's saying something. With the substantial amount of AoE in the game, both defensive and offensive, realistically you need large parties to counter anything, and because of the high population size per map, realistically you had to zerg up to take a tower, as organized groups had scouts that could stop small groups. And there's severe population imbalance. And there's no decent reward (negative for new players actually). And there's hacks on a level unseen in guild wars. And you cant even see your enemies names so there's no social value at all. They probably know what they need to do: lower the population queue max all around and force people to spread around, fix outmanned so it's fun to play at odd hours, and increase the towers per map to prevent zerging. But they just don't give a shit.
So to all of those still pissed off at ascended and the gear grind, I challenge you: just take two weeks off from the game and the forums. If you can't take a two week break from it, when you would probably otherwise be playing for months to years, that should be a bit of a warning sign that you're only playing to keep up with the grind in the first place. I actually had a hard time even quitting BEFORE ascended for even a few days because I know I would fall behind on playing the tp from not doing my daily ori runs and stuff and it would put me behind, but I realized this is not a good reason to be playing a game.
And if you do come back after two weeks, and play with all the more fervor, then good for you. You actually do like the game in spite of it's flaws and there's nothing wrong with that, enjoy yourself. But my instinct says most who would take this challenge will never play the game again, not once.