Well, I thought Damion Schubert’s “damn you, we do fantasy dikumuds for a reason, and if you’re going to fix them, understand the reasons” talk was pretty good, but clearly there is a second opinion.
Schubert claims that combat is included in games because it gives player “what they want”.
This is a view that subscribes to a dionysian, internal-locus-of-control view – a view that desire is pre-eminent force in human affairs (as opposed to necessity). I’m really surprised to hear this coming from a “combat designer”.
Note: I didn’t say this was a good second opinon.