The war is not the selling point of Mahabharata, the intricacy of the build up is. Literally every act is the result of some previous act by another character, you'll find difficulty finding any character that's acting without just motivation, even the 'villians'.
Shakuni has his family's revenge story, Karna has his bastard ancestry which Duryodhana overlooks, Duryodhana himself has the instances of being bullied by Bhima in childhood and being insulted by Draupadi in Indraprastha,
Then there's the characters that choose duty and obligation over heart, Bhisma and Drona. To that end, the rivalry between Drona and Drupad both explains why a Brahmin picked up weapons and why Drupad was so eager to support the Pandavas.
I like Tolkien for the depth he has too but Mahabharata is on a whole other level, there's no 'good' or 'evil' characters as in the former-everyone's simply doing what he must. It's a nice portrayal of actual human conflicts.