So far the only difference this gear will make is with Agony. Everything else can be done without Ascended gear, and we don't even know if the Fractals can be done without Infusions. The stats on Ascended gear are no more than a few points per attribute higher than Exotic gear. All this talk about how it is ruining the game is premature because you are all making assumptions.
If this does make a major difference in the gameplay in EVERY aspect of GW2, then I think it is cause for concern. But as long as you can still do pretty much everything regardless of gear, I think this freaking out about how the game is doomed is just absurd. Plus, exotic gear isn't hard to get. I don't forsee Ascended gear being hard to get either.
Chill out, people. This game is not ruined, it won't be the end of the game, and they are not turning their backs on their design philosophy. Yeesh.
The issue isn't the gear itself. It's the fact that this gear is essentially going to gate the dungeon's content. "LFG fractal XYZ, infusion ABC only." If you can only progress in content when you have infusions good enough to withstand the damage from the monsters of that tier, then it's exactly like every other gear treadmill, no matter what the actual form of the "gear" takes.
I should note that I don't have anything wrong with gear progression, per se. But this news tells me that Anet is willing to taint its own design philosophy in order to make their job easier. I don't know how this new gear will go over, but Anet's approach to "fixing" its problem makes me quite a bit less excited to log in every day.