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ArenaNet on Ascended gear: “Adding item progression is a delicate process”

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With the announcement of The Lost Shores, ArenaNet have slowly been feeding us all information on it’s upcoming content update. One of those additions are a new tier of items called “Ascended”, a level above the current “Exotic” tier. Panic immediately ensued across the community, scared that ArenaNet were going backwards on their anti gear grind moral. Linsey Murdock however has taken to the Guild Wars 2 forums to calm the masses and explain just exactly what this new tier is all about.

And it’s nothing to be worried about.

Linsey Murdock a game designer from ArenaNet, primarily works on crafting and items. It’s only natural then that she is very familiar with any new items that will be finding their way into the game. It turns out that after looking at player feedback, changes needed to be made to how progression worked “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.” she said. “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.”
The November will see the first implementation of Ascended items “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.” she said. “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 Ascended items however are not just for additional progression. They feature exclusive Infusion slots that are the only defense against a new monster condition called Agony, which will be found in the new dungeon Fractals of the Mists. “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.”
So these infusions are going to be key if players want to push into the higher difficulty levels of the new dungeon, but what exactly are infusions. “Infusions are a special new type of Upgrade Component that can only be slotted into special Infusion slots on gear.” says Linsey. “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.”
As for the future, Ascended items seem like they are going to have a bigger impact on end game progression. “This is just the beginning.” Linsey said. “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.”

Due to this, legendary weapons are also receiving updates to bring them inline as the most sought items “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.” she said. “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”
Told you there was nothing to worry about, ArenaNet seem to have their heads in the right place. If you’re like me, your nose will already twitching at that mention of “new” legendaries. Check out our everything we know of The Lost Shores for more details on Fridays update.

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