A response to: community.wizards.com/wrecan/blog/2009/1...
I've heard the combat investment argument and I don't buy it.
Even in systems with clunky combat rules that are not the focus of the game, I've seen and heard players resort needlessly to combat. That may have been partly the influence of other more combat-focused games, but I think it's also because combat is quicker, easier, and more fun in comparison to most non-combat.
Combat involves every player in some way. Non-combat often involves one primary character, with the other players struggling to figure out how to contribute. In any case, non-combat rarely has a built-in round-robin mechanism to give everyone a turn in the spotlight.
Combat has a clear goal, motivations, and end point with clear rewards. Non-combat is often vague, offering no clear conclusion and no clear rewards.
Combat lends itself to rich and entertaining description with details that don't need to be remembered later, but often are. Non-combat lends itself to rich, possibly-not-that-entertaining description full of details that need to be remembered later, but probably won't be.
Combat is interesting now. Non-combat often requires digging before the interesting bits (if there are any) come to light.
In short, as I said, combat is quick and easy and fun (for everyone) at least compared to non-combat.
Furthermore, I don't even think it can be said that the books of 4th Edition are overly focused on combat. The first PHB had to lay out the combat rules, but those rules don't need to be printed again. The PHB2, the DMGs, the Power books, the setting books, and even the Adventurer's Vaults contain massive amounts of story and non-combat potential. Maybe that's a bit of a disincentive, though. If I'm going to involve players in the machinations of the Dragonmarked houses, I have to read enough about all of those houses at least to make up something interesting about them and much more if I want to adhere to the canon. If I just want them to fight some Denieth security forces, I can gin up a quick combat and go.
So, no, I don't believe that combat investment is a problem with this game or any other. If people want to get their players to lean more toward non-combat when they want some quick action, or need a pick-me-up, then non-combat encounters need to be made quicker, more widely-engaging, more focused, and easier. As it turns out, 4th Edition has already done this with the guidance on Skill Challenges. Where once I feared getting my PCs into an important conversation with NPCs, now I can handle them confidently, with all of us knowing that everyone can contribute, that it won't be interminably long, and that there are clear rewards.