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ArenaNet explains new Guild Wars 2 Ascended Gear and item progression

13 Nov 2012  by   Paul Younger
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Following yesterday’s reveal of new features for the Lost Shores update which included mention of the new Ascended Gear, Guild Wars 2 players started to show some serious concern over the game’s apparent new direction when tackling high-end content and gear.

In  a lengthy update to explain the changes, ArenaNet’s Linsey Murdock  issued a new developer blog to try and ease any concern. The main points in the post read as follows:

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.

We have always worked hard to create a sense of satisfying progression rather than gear grind and this new item progression initiative is no exception. By adding challenging new combat mechanics to end-game content and ways to mitigate those mechanics through gear progression for high-end players, we can add personal progression without making the game feel like an endless treadmill of gear that is just out of your reach. Original Guild Wars fans may recognize that we took a familiar approach to our new progression. The first end game mechanic we will introduce is Agony, which will be encountered in the Fractals of the Mists dungeon, and is mitigated by Infusions.

This is just the beginning. In November, we’re only adding the first level of Infusions and Ascended Rings and Back slots, so that leaves us a lot of room to build upon these levels of Item progression in future content.

As we release more new end game content in the future, you’ll see more Infusions and Ascended item types being added to the game.  Eventually, you’ll be able to kit yourself out with a full set of Ascended gear and high end Infusions to help give you the edge in end game content.

You’ll also see more Legendary items in the future and an update to our existing Legendary weapons. Legendary items were always intended to be on par with other “best-in-slot” items. So fear not, all existing Legendary weapons, which are currently on par with Exotics, will be upgraded to be on par with Ascended weapons at the same time that we add Ascended weapons to the game. Thus Legendaries will remain “best-in-slot” items. All Legendary items going forward will be of Ascended power. 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.

The new additions in November are just the start of our item progression initiative. We’re going to add tons of new high-level content to Guild Wars 2 in the future. As we introduce the new high-level content, we’ll also roll out complimentary Ascended and Legendary items (to say nothing of the other rewards you can earn by playing the content).

The community appears to be quite split on the changes, on the one hand some are saying it is going against the game’s design philosophy while others see it as natural progression for the game and high-end content. No doubt the debate will rage for days.

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