Yeup, I understood what you meant. What I meant was how powerful, how "good" would a new set of gear have to be to make it of consequence, when it's no longer 'fluff'? What if Ascended 2.0 was released and it was 3% stronger than the previous? Well, how about 30% stronger than exotic? What about 60%?
That line right there - the point where it's "too good" - is really murky, and it's a line I fully expect ANet to pursue at a point in the future. That's my main concern with introducing more vertical progression to the game.
I wouldn't even need to do that. Look at the free content we've received for almost two years and the gemstore, put two and two together and it's fairly obvious that GW2's reward-driven focus is doing very well for them. But, I'm not sure which is driving more player interest: The 'content' or its rewards, and I doubt the game would be at the same place if it focused solely on one or the other.
Personally, I'd like to hope most people are more interested in the gameplay that arrives with this free content. Then again I'm not a terribly extrinsically reward driven player. Maybe that's why I find that the game has incredibly little replayability.