LOTRO's starter area is definitely casual but to be fair so was WoW's. I can't speak for beyond that. As someone who has gotten his hands dirty with MMOs from the pure mechanics of quest execution I won't say that LOTRO is any worse than WoW. After all the WoW Elf starter quests are:
*Kill some panthers
*Kill some spiders
*Find the missing person
*Kill some grells
*Find ingredients to heal sick person
*Gather a spider egg
*Please deliver this water to so-and-so in the next town
The usual fantasy based MMO fare or direct WoW imitation? Anyway I'm not trying to put down LOTRO's quests cause LOTRO's list has the exact same flavor as WoW's and Vanguard's. The enjoyment of this game centers on combat dynamics, but it is grinding just like the others. Been-there-done-that is the prevailing feeling I'm getting plus I get no special feelings from the game. If it has something that I would recommend, the classes, attacks, and environment are new/different and each starter area has an instance that pushes the story along and in the human starter area, the instance permanently transforms the landscape. Possibly there are instances scattered throughout the game at the start or end of each zone. But overall it is mostly a static environment.
I am now in the search for something new in MMO's. I know there is Eve, and I played Planetside (which is a team based combat MMO) but I'm hoping that the near- future fantasy based MMOs like Age of Conan will come up with something new and not just be Wow imitators.