The Daily Grind: Is combat necessary?

For most of us the term 'MMO' conjures up images of combat, whether within a medieval fantasy setting, or a science fiction milieu. Other images are mixed in there, too, of course, but I'd wager that fighting is the one that pops up most often. It's so common, in fact, that when a game deviates from this norm, attention is called to it. Take Mabinogi, for instance -- many of its features are non-combat-based, like the aging system, or the ability to create MIDI-based music, or the creation and management of a household with a spouse.

I didn't realize how refreshing the thought of not having to constantly battle creatures to progress in a game was until Mabinogi offered me these alternatives. This makes me ask the question: is combat really an integral element of an MMO? Would you play a game that lacked it completely?
This article was originally published on Massively.