I think the Guild Wars 2 world blew up yesterday. At least that's what it sounds like if you visit the official forums, unofficial forums, fansites, and blogs. It's seriously chaos out there right now, and I'd advise you to just stay away unless you seriously want to voice your opinion.
At the center of it all Ascended gear. Gear that seems to be a step up from exotic gear, that is meant to fill the void between Exotic and Legendary gear progression. This gear features infusion slots, which are to be fair, poorly-described by ArenaNet, and stats that are essentially slightly better versions of exotic gear. With the new patch, there will be three Ascended pieces that we can obtain for ourselves: a backpiece, and two rings. If you look at it initially, it doesn't sound too harmful. So what is everyone angry with ArenaNet about? It's the implications of this gear.
1) First and foremost, ArenaNet has broken their manifesto.
"Here’s what we believe: If someone wants to play for a thousand hours to get an item that is so rare that other players can’t realistically acquire it, that rare item should be differentiated by its visual appearance and rarity alone, not by being more powerful than everything else in the game. Otherwise, your MMO becomes all about grinding to get the best gear. We don’t make grindy games — we leave the grind to other MMOs."
-Made by none other than the president of ArenaNet, Mike O'Brien.
They have broken a promise. Even if this new tier of gear does not add to the grind, it certainly makes an ascended item differentiated by being more powerful than what was known to be best in slot for months, exotics. In MMOs, when a company breaks a promise, they are held accountable for a very long time. ArenaNet, if you release this tier, be prepared to weather the storm.
2) Secondly, dungeon gear will now be more powerful than any other gear that can be acquired from other places in the game. This includes WvW, crafting, and existing explorable mode dungeons. World vs. World players were specifically promised that they would never have to leave the Mists to be competitive. Rewards in both WvW and PvE was promised to be on-par with each other. Another broken promise with dangerous implications for WvW players.
3) Even less participation in existing explorable mode dungeons. The only people participating in these dungeons would be people wanting to achieve a legendary or attain a set of gear from it.
4) A gear treadmill. Other Ascended item slots will slowly be added over the next couple of updates. If we are already seeing a new tier just over 2 months after launch, when will they add the next? What happens when everyone gains Ascended gear, do we now have to grind for another set? Guild Wars 2 dared to be different and innovate many features of existing MMO conventions. Among these innovations was to never include a gear treadmill, and increasing rarity was only aesthetic.
5) Guild Wars 2 was about skill by players. Now, it seems that instead of skill, it's slowly leaning towards who has the best gear. Stat differences may start out small, but as you gain more and more pieces of Ascended gear your stats will become an estimated 5% higher. This is without including the infusion slot bonus. While we know this slot is supposed to combat Agony, a PvE condition only, they told us that these slots could also be offensively and defensively based. If this includes damage and/or defensive bonuses, this could easily expand into WvW territory. Even worse, all end-game PvE content afterwards will likely include it as well.
6) In one of the biggest blantant "We are breaking our own promises", you had the press tell us first. You actually allowed the press to tell us about ascended items before even yourselves. Not understanding that this would be a huge deal to players is a flashing neon sign that you are not aware of player concerns.
7) Which leads me to my final point. ArenaNet, you appear to be out of touch with your players. If you are truly the company that cares about us, why not make an open discussion/poll about it? Why not ask the players for what they want, instead of just throwing it at us?