This mode of PVP, while incredibly fun at times, also seems like a missed opportunity. It's Defiance's answer to open world PVP, except that you still queue up for it, and it ends when a certain score is reached between two sides. So, in essence, it's just another form of match-made PVP that takes place in a copy of the main overworld map. Like the traditional smaller scale PVP, you queue up via the game's menu system and once the two sides of the War are set, the match begins. Depending on how many people are queued up for the SW, the size of the area that it encapsulates increases. You could wind up with a 32v32 match, or even something as large as 256v256.
One thing is certain about the Shadow War: it's fun, and it can be rewarding. There are PvE mobs and events that still spawn on the map, while you're off capturing points in the name of your assigned side (Utah, Delaware, representing the states that were before the Pale Wars). You'll find plenty of ample spots to camp and snipe from, or you can be a frontline soldier running in and trying to hold objectives for your side. You'll get loot as you go, and at the end, when one team earns enough points, you'll be awarded scrip, resources, and XP too.
But my question has to be: why not turn this massive world PVP into something more than a mirror image of the world map and match-based? Why not allow players to flag themselves for the Shadow War and have it running around the clock? It seems like a real missed opportunity, given the fact that Trion could direct the flow of PVP traffic by moving the capture points daily, or even hourly. It's such an undervalued aspect to this game, that there's this big open world to fight over... and you're only fighting over it in restricted groups and if enough others sign up too.