Why do we focus so much on combat in games? What excites us so much that killing monsters, avatars of each other, and exploring ways to generally rule an opposing side deserves so much attention. Is it not evil, counter-intuitive to civilization, non-progressive, or any thoughtful sounding word you'd like to fill in there, that should tell us that WAR is to be stuffed in our back pockets instead of brought out like its candy on a stick?
It IS evil, counter-intuitive to civilization, non-progressive, and certain carries little rational thought, but who cares! We're emotionally grown beings, so the point of these games focusing on WAR is not I think the cause and effect, end results of our actions, morality considerations and all of that, but in the emotional results. Studies have shown that directing aggressive energies into virtual worlds has a stabilizing effect on the brain when it is brought back into reality.
WAR has it's original meaning = "a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air." - according to dictionary.com
WAR also means = "Warhammer Online"
It is interesting the developers and community have chosen the acronym, WAR, as the primary shortcut when labeling the game in blogs, interviews, editorials and other articles. The game is indeed primarily about war, conflict, opposing sides and the exciting battles that ensue in various parts of its virtual world. You are even able to choose a server that focuses more on WAR than other servers, and even chose servers that focus more on combat between players than on world monsters.
Upon entering the game you are given a plethora of choices in how you wish to build your status in the game world. Sometimes it involves killing a solo monster, or ganging up with others in your guild to defeat opposing players. Whatever server you end up choosing you still get all of these options, and more. To be fair, WAR isn't everything, as players need supportive elements and social building mechanics in order to not get drawn into a mental combat warp that begins to distort the game and its intended focus, i.e. having fun.
There are crafting skills to choose from, supportive classes that "technically" don't kill anyone using their skills but help others to do so, as well as plenty of chat windows and other exploration features that will give you hours of enjoyment when the battlefield gets tiring. In the end though, this game is about WAR. If you enjoy crafting sandwiches in your custom designed home with vendors on the patio selling various knitted clothing items you made the previous evening, stick with games like Ultima Online. The bad boys and girls are going to WAR!