Before the release ANet's philosophy was always "When it's ready". They would never even show us content until they were absolutely sure that it was ready to ship, that's why we didn't see the sylvari for ages, and we learned about each of the professions with, usually, a few months in between each reveal.
But, during the recent AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread hosted by Chris Whiteside (Studio Design Director at ANet) Chris has admitted that:
"Personally i feel that aspects of the game ARE too grindy and we are
working through these areas to correct our overall direction moving
forward as well as taking some of our current progression systems and
rewiring them for want of a better term for example different methods of
acquisition related to the way different players like to play their
To be frank the ascended gear was designed to be earn able outside of
the FotM and unfortunately we were unable to deploy this prior to the
update. This (i hope) will not happen again"
What happened to "When it's ready"? If Ascended items were designed to be earned outside of the Fractals of the Mists then surely they should have been shipped to be earned outside of the Fractals of the Mists. Otherwise, you aren't going to please anyone: the horizontal progressioners will be angry you've gone back on your promise not to add a "gear grind", and the vertical progressioners will be disappointed that the progression is so flimsy and requires hours of grind over the same few instances.
Did ANet panic as the dreaded 3-month threshold loomed?
ps. Also, for the love of all that is holy - stop using the phrase "Moving forward": it absolutely smacks of business speak which I think you should always avoid when talking to plebs like us.
EDIT: Just going through the summary of last night on this page and came across this relevant piece of info: