In terms of engine and interface choices, you are correct. WAR did borrow liberally from WoW. Why? Because that's what Blizzard does better than nearly all of its peers: game-play and interaction. WoW's interface design has become the standard, not only because the existing player base is already familiar with (if not wedded to) it, but also because it's good. In short, WoW did a *lot* of things right; that's why it has a player base of 11 million.
What WoW didn't do right, WAR has, for the most part. I've played WoW since March of 2005, but I quit early this year because I had exhausted the game. Everything was a grind, and what's worse, the end goal of that grind, raiding, requires setting aside significant chunks of your life just to take part.
WAR so far has left that behind. The game is not about grinding your way to the max level so you can enjoy the "real" game of end-game content. With WAR, there is a real desire at times to *not* level so you can stick around a particular tier and help out with world RvR there. But even if you want to go ahead and race up the level tree, you can always reroll an alt to try out another class.
It seems to me that the game is centered around 2 hour play sessions, whether you're taking keeps, doing PQs, hoping into scenarios or just soloing the PVE content. It's an ADHD player's dream in that way. I can't tell you how many times I've been soloing, saw a group of players run past, joined their group (with open groups, *you* choose to join them, which makes group creation painless and quick), then found myself an hour later having taken a bunch of objectives and turned the tide to Order. I didn't seek that play experience out; it just came by, and I joined up on a whim.
The other thing that has me hooked on WAR is that they put a lot of importance on every player being able to not suck at RvR. Case in point: healing. Healers in WAR are generally not the most deadly of opponents, their DPS is so-so and not very bursty, but I'll damned if they aren't hard as crap to kill if they want to stay alive. Reason #1: mana. There's no such thing as mana. Everyone has the same mechanic, action points. And action points regenerate quickly (think rogues energy bars, only faster regen). This means that cloth-wearing healers can spam heals almost indefinitely at lower levels, staying alive through most anything.
In terms of leet "im gonna pwn u" PvP, it doesn't amount to much. My Rune Priest can't pwn anyone. But he can heal in RvR and not have to worry about getting assist trained by a couple players and getting slammed every time he pokes his head out like my WoW priest did. I can confidently walk into the middle of a pitched battle and start healing my guys. That is so liberating for me as a healing-oriented player that it makes the whole game more fun. In the end, those that understand basic tactics and strategy and have a better situational awareness still win in RvR (as they should), but the fact that I can take part as a healer (as opposed to an easy kill) is fantastic.
This quote from Paul Barnett has been listened to by the team at Mythic and put into play:
So then you have to say, our job then is: don't be crap. Make something what is not rubbish. So then you say, what's important? It's a weird thing, right? You talk to people about what's important they get obsessed on the product. The get obsessed on the frames per second, the colors, the brightness, the usability of the interface. And you go: "It's none of those things!" That's just the dressing, that's the just the stuff that makes you go: "Yes, yes, yes, I see, I see, I see." What is at the core of it? FUN! Fun, you FUCKERS!
WAR is not a WoW-killer. WoW will continue to have its millions for some time to come. It just won't have this one.