Prior to launch, they said “endgame starts at level 1.” The living story is basically the endgame that was promised. Rather than being like every other MMO which offers the typical options of raid or die, GW2’s endgame is the journey itself.
When it comes to expansions, I doubt one will ever be released. Anything an expansion could do could be done through the living story. The only difference an expansion offers is money and marketing. If they were truly going to offer an expansion, I would expect them to charge for the living story releases first, since it would have the same effect on the player base. An expansion would cause the player base to split, which was something they were trying to minimize coming from GW1. With GW2 revolving around an open world design, they want to maximize the numbers, not split them. Traditional MMOs get around this problem by trying to force people to buy an expansion, else they’ll be much weaker than everyone else.
Besides min/maxing, there is no point to ascended gear. It was added in response to the initial player base at launch, though they say ascended gear was always planned. Its goal was simple, to fill the gap and give players cheap gw2 gold to do, which was later replaced by the living story and the 2 week update schedule.
Progression doesn’t have to be about best in stat gear grind, progression in GW2 is more about cosmetics, if you wanna take your gear to a slightly higher level then Ascended is the door you need to open, but there is really only one facet of the game that you absolutely need it for and only because of the A/R infusion, but that content is optional as well.so you need to ask yourself – is GW2 the game for you or are you best jumping back on the gear treadmill and panda trains I guess.