interview Chris Whiteside from ArenaNet did for Reddit. There's a quick-read version with just the questions Chris and others from ANet actually answered, which Ravious also links to in his piece about it at Kill Ten Rats, but I think it's worth browsing the whole thread because many of the questions that didn't get answered are more interesting than those that did.
It's clear that the whole Ascended fiasco has had repercussions that we'll be feeling and hearing about for a long time to come. Most of the answers are damage-limitation and conciliation around that and the effect is reasonably soothing. The gist seems to be that Ascended gear is not step one of a gear ladder, that there will be ways to get Ascended gear to suit a number of playstyles and that access to these will roll out next year. If we do get another tier it will come in an expansion or a content drop of expansion-like proportions. Wiggle room there, then.
Chris also acknowledges more than once that the way Ascended gear was introduced was not done well. I didn't feel, though, that a convincing case was made for why it needed to be done at all, nor was any case made for why it had to be done in such a tearing hurry. Something doesn't add up.
Among the few questions on other topics that did get answered, apparently it is confirmed that the recent addition of supposed better loot drops to the loot tables of Veteran and Champion mobs isn't working as intended and is being investigated and that there is still an intention to get something done with Personal Instances (AKA housing). More interesting open-world loot and somewhere to hang my incredibly limited selection of hats (fix that, ANet!) would certainly help to wash away any lingering bad PR taste for me.
My conclusion is that ArenaNet's ultra-consistent pre-launch plans did not survive their first encounter with live players. So it's an MMO after all, then.