"slightly higher stats" than others in its category.
For most MMOs this isn't a problem; it's the way of things, however Guild Wars 2 is meant to cater to both casual and hardcore gamers. This meant armour was designed to be 'future proof'.
The trouble is that the hardcore is always looking for that next 'progression fix' to sate them, and the community had attained the best gear 'ahead of schedule'.
"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'," began the studio's explanation.
"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."
What the community fears is for Guild Wars 2 to descend into the usual trappings of the MMO arena and have players just keep on grinding for better and better gear, which leaves those who prefer a more casual experience to fall by the wayside over time because of their inferior gear as dungeons ramp up difficulty.
"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," continued ArenaNet's Linsey Murdock.
"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."
In Guild Wars 2 the highest level armour tier is Exotic, with Legendary acting as a cosmetic choice or applies a specific effect. The newly announcedthough actually edges out ahead of all previous Exotic gear in stats.
Studio design director Chris White echoed Murdock's statement, attempting to reassure the community that it's not going to descend into an arms race only the hardcore can enjoy.
"Our goal is not to create a gear treadmill," he said. "Our goal is to ensure we have a proper progression for players from Exotic up to Legendary without a massive jump in reward between the two."
"We will slowly add the remaining Ascended gear items and Legendary items in future updates to allow people time to acquire them as we add exciting new content that deserves exciting rewards. We will not be adding a new tier of gear every three months that we expect everyone to chase after and then get the next set and so on."
This new Ascended set of items won't be interfering with PvP where all players are set to level 80 and equipped.
"PVP will remain unaffected to ensure our intended PVP balance going forward," added White. "We are also working on other reward and progression systems for the game that tie into current and new content and features."
The Lost Shores update hosts a one-time world event in Guild Wars 2 as a serious of scheduled tasks play out over the weekend. Also due in November is the Fractals of the Mists dungeon, a new PvP beta map called Temple of the Silent Storm, and the Ascended gear and Infusions.
ArenaNet responds to 'item grind' fears in Guild Wars 2, "a delicate process"
15 November 2012 | By Simon Priest