Guild Wars 2's developers at ArenaNet are expanding its end-game content with new gear progression in an effort to keep high-ranked players engaged.
Some high-end players have already hit a wall with item progression, unlocking the game's Legendary gear and then becoming frustrated at the lack of opportunity for further growth. "We designed the process of getting Legendary gear to be a [long-term] goal," said game designer Linsey Murdock, "but players were ready to start on that path much sooner than we expected."
Murdock pointed out that MMO developers don't usually tackle item progression until they're making a full-on expansion, but said, "We feel it's important to strive to satisfy the basic needs of our players sooner rather than later."
The developers are introducing a new enemy condition, Agony, that will be lethal enough to require significant defensive strength. Players fighting a beast in Agony will see their health percentage points dropping continuously, and they won't be able to stop it except by building resistance with Infusions, a new upgrade. Slots for Infusions are only available on new Ascended gear. Ascended items are rarer than Exotic but not quite as special as Legendary.
The first Infusions and Ascended items will be added to Guild Wars 2 later this month, but Murdock promised that more progression is on the way.