My friends feel that ascended gear was a mistake in game design. It serves as an artificial barrier for entry into content, over something as trivial as a 5-10% stat gain. In pve it serves as psychological barrier for players to constantly question and exclude others from fractals and raids. It also results in endless inquiries into whether or not you have ascended gear, and to show said ascended gear to everyone. I don't know why they didn't just stick with the GW1 philosophy of how gear was done, in that max level gear was easy to obtain, and thus end game content is easily accessible.
In wvw it gives a noticeable advantage in what should be a somewhat fair pvp setting. 5-10% more damage on a full zerker or condi build especially on multiple targets is a lot of damage over time, enough to be noticeable, and enough to get you excluded from raiding guilds/commander squads and parties if you don't have it. wouldn't it be nice if it was all exotics, which are easy to get and nobody would really have to think about it or question whether or not your playing with max stats?
Ascended also isn't usable in spvp, but creates endless confusion in that most new players to spvp constantly ask if their ascended gear is needed to participate in spvp or if ascended alters their stats there in some way.
All i know is most games are gravitating towards leveling the playing field and gw2 straddles that line with ascended gear as a way of catering to people who want gear grind. Imagine playing PUBG, but some guy has 10% more health, damage and defense, simply because, he played more hours and grinded for those stats. Makes for silly game play that I'm not sure many would tolerate.