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So it looks like along with the content patch arriving in just a few days a new rarity class of items will be gracing us with its presence and stats; that new rarity class is the "Ascended Gear", fitting in place between exotic and legendary. The interesting thing about this class of gear is that the extra bonuses you get from gems and the like and now built into the base stats of the "Ascended Gear".

Since the Arenanet team intend to shake up dungeon combat and functionality differently then the current dungeons with their new dungeon "Fractals of the Mists", they have introduced a new condition called "Agony" which will drastically affect the way you and your party progress through the dungeon, and this is where the "Ascended Gear" (and the new upgrade component which I will get on to in a moment) fits in, it will serve to mitigate the effects of "Agony" and help parties progress through the new dungeon. The condition "Agony" seems to tick for a predetermined period of time and for each tick a percentage of the players health will be taken away and it can't be cleansed via normal means (uh oh...).

And complimenting the new rarity class, a new upgrade component has also been introduced, "Infusion" upgrades. Infusion for now will only be available for the new rarity class armor, the "Ascended Gear" (which will only be rings and back armor for now) and recipes for it can be acquired through the Mystic Forge (I wonder if I could create a Powerpuff Girl through the Mystic Forge, all I need are sugar, spice and everything nice right? Oh wait, there's "Chemical X" as well =O, now where could I get my hands on some, hmmmmm). Infusion will be used to increase resistances against "Agony" and whatever other nasty conditions pop up in this new dungeon.

Interesting changes coming up this November but I wonder how exactly everything is going to play out as, it could so easily fall into the category of "well its just more things to farm". Hopefully the balance between challenging and attainability reaches a level where the "fun" is still alive and thriving. The reason I don't care about legendaries and why I can't be bothered working toward one is because it's just too much effort involved in attaining one and farming and grinding really aren't my thing, I'm perfectly content running around in blue and green gear doing what I want (which is how I also played World of Warcraft). I just hope "Ascended Gear" isn't an objective too far for me to want to reach toward =/.

Anyway here is the full post made on the Guild Wars 2 site (I bolded the important bits and underlined the even more important bits within that):

Linsey Murdock Unveils New High End Ascended Gear

Linsey Murdock wrote:
Greetings citizens of Tyria! My name is Linsey Murdock. Some of you may remember me as the Guild Wars Live Team Lead before the lovely and talented John Stumme took up the cause so I could work on other projects. As a game designer for Guild Wars 2, I primarily work on crafting and items, which is why I am here to talk to you today about some exciting new features coming up for items progression that my team has been working on.

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.

New Condition: Agony

In the upcoming Fractals of the Mists dungeon, we’ll introduce a new monster condition called Agony.

This extremely dangerous condition ticks percentages of player health away and can’t be cleansed by normal means. Players who wish to delve deep into the Fractals will find that Agony makes progress increasingly difficult, until they reach the point where some defense against this condition is a must. The only way to mitigate Agony damage is by building up resistance through Infusions, a new type of upgrade component that can be acquired in the Mystic Forge.


New Upgrades: Infusions

Infusions are a special new type of Upgrade Component that can only be slotted into special Infusion slots on gear.

There are multiple types of Infusions and Infusion slots. In November, we’ll introduce Offensive, Defensive, and Omni Infusions of Fine rarity from new Mystic Forge recipes. Infusion upgrade types must be paired with their like slot, with the exception of the rare and versatile Omni Infusions which can be slotted into any type of Infusion slot.

For now, Infusions slots can only be found in gear of a new rarity type: Ascended.

New Rarity Type: Ascended

In November we’ll unveil the first Ascended items. This new rarity type falls between Exotic and Legendary on the spectrum of rarity and has slightly higher stats than Exotics.

Ascended gear works a little bit differently than other gear types. The stats and functionality normally added to gear through upgrade components are actually built into Ascended items. Instead of upgrade slots, Ascended gear has Infusion slots, and rarer versions of the items also come with additional Agony Resistance built into them. Players will be able to acquire Ascended Rings in the Fractals of the Mists dungeon, and Ascended items worn on the back can be acquired through special Mystic Forge recipes.


The Future of Items Progression

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).

I hope you are all as excited about these new items as I am!

Also once discussion of these changes end here and the content arrives in the game, this thread can be used to talk about "Ascended Gear" in general if you guys feel like it =/.

Anyway, thanks for reading and let's hope I'll see you during this 3 day event coming up this weekend.

-Syphin [tracking down Professor Utonium in hopes of acquiring "Chemical X"]-
Everyone's throwing their toys around in the official forums over this, those against and those for it … i don't mind either way. I don't plan to go out of my way to get ascended gear since i don't dungeon crawl much it doesn't affect me, as long as they don't force them on me via a contrived gaming mechanic outside of that particular dungeon i've got no issues with it.
Darkshaunz wrote:
Looking forward to more medium gear that isn't some leather trenchcoat bullshit.

aka bikini.

But I agree, there sure are a lot of trenchcoats for medium class armor, although I believe the individual race cultural armor offers something different, though I've only looked at the Norn cultural armor pieces so far (tier 3 is amazing, basically the armor which Eir is wearing, but that price for the set...RIDICULOUS...).
You are damned right, Syphin.

I would hand over my wallet to Arenanet if they gave my ranger girl bikini armour. Just take my credit card, here...I'll even swipe it for you. Mostly because it isn't a trenchcoat.

Instead, rangers and thieves get maybe 2 or 3 sets that are not trenchcoats. The rest look like some kind of wild west bandit / matrix fanfic gone wild.
Looking forward to gear that is hopefully earnt with difficulty.
The ease of todays dungeons is a joke, which makes the harder ones not worth doing.….
The funny thing now is everyone will want these new items for stats/skins.

Cant wait for more changes though, not regarding looks and gear. It only means ppl will come back, grind and farm then get bored again. We need actual game play and content changes. 'Agony' isnt enough.…..
It shouldnt be a condition, its a thing ive seen in several games, so players need skill to learn how to deal with it. Interesting skill for a game with no direct heals though haha.
I would probably try the dungeons once or twice, see what the fuss is about, then stop. I can't really be bothered to grind much more. I'm not an appearance whore, so I guess the looks don't really matter much to me.
Oh well back to tomb raiding for me then, I need to replace my bucket looking tanking gear anyway. So yeah I'm game. Steyr, Nick, Syphin you guys game??
On personal thought, I hope they churn in more "carrot in a stick" appeoach so that a sense of progression can be achieved, not buy 2 win approach qq.

Renryn "Rara" Croft
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