The Guild Wars 2 Lost Shores update is right around the corner, but that isn't all that ArenaNet has planned for the future of the franchise. In response to data collected from watching the game in a live environment, the developer is planning various tweaks to the end-game to help players enjoy themselves after hitting the level cap.
A blog post details the changes, which are all connected and meant to work together.
When the Fractals of the Mists dungeon launches, a new monster condition called "Agony" will come with it, which slowly chips away at player health and can't be cured through normal means. The only way to save yourself is to build up resistance with another upgrade, called Infusions. These are special upgrade components that can be slotted into special Infusion slots. They'll come in Offensive, Defensive, and Omni flavors. But, they can only be slotted into a new rarity rating for gear, called Ascended. This gear has Infusion slots instead of upgrade slots, and the stat upgrades normally achieved through upgrades are inherent to the gear itself. Some rarer Ascended gear also comes with its own Agony resistance.
"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," said developer Linsey Murdock. "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."