Ascended Is The New Exotic

Guild Wars 2 Designer Explains Itemization Changes

The Lost Shores are feeling a little less lost this morning.

Yesterday, along with the lifting of the press embargo on the event, ArenaNet fleshed out the Lost Shores content page with a new video and some other details about the upcoming patch. We learned about a new dungeon, a new PvP map and perhaps most interestingly a new level of gear rarity dubbed "Ascended" gear, slightly more powerful than Exotic gear.

It's this last item that caused no small amount of confusion and concern in the Guild Wars 2 player community. So, late last night, ArenaNet designer Linsey Murdock took to the Guild Wars 2 blog to offer some clarification on exactly what players can expect from these Ascended items.

Many players were questioning why a new level of itemization was needed so soon in the game's life-cycle, and if this move represents the emergence of the oft-maligned "gear treadmill,", and in true ArenaNet fashion, Murdock addressed exactly that:

"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."

This Ascended gear, however, is only one piece of the puzzle. Along with it, ArenaNet is adding a new condition - Agony. This new condition will be of critical importance for players planning to tackle the new dungeon, Fractals of the Mists. It seems enemies there will make judicious use of it, requiring players to have this "Agony resistance" of Ascended items to make real progress. How do you build this resistance? Through Infusions, of course! Another new system being added to the game:

"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."

But what about Legendary items? Stat-wise, those were on-par with Exotics. What of them? To those of you who already worked your tushes off to acquire a Legendary item, there's no need to fret. Your stats will be bumped up to be in line with Ascended items.

There's a lot to take in with these new changes, and the community is currently well on the task of discussing it. Head over to the Guild Wars 2 blog for the full read, and please let us know what you think here. This is an important milestone in the future of the game!

Bill "Lethality" Leonard


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