I'd venture to guess that everyone arguing in this thread teeters towards "hardcore" as far as play time. I'd also guess that a large chunk of people here put way too many hours into Guild Wars.
Yet, it was still very much a "casual" game. There were no gear caps to really chase beyond the bare minimum amount of playing the game. Most missions and quests could be completely within the hour timeframe we are throwing out. But it still had depth for people who wanted it. So much depth. Depth is what appeases "hardcore" gamers. Not the time required to grind the next tier of gear.
Approachability and accessibility required for casual gamers does not rule out depth. Pokemon was accessible for 8 year olds, but many older people loved and still love it decades later because it comes with massive amounts of depth.
Lazy development is the excuse to disregard "casuals" or "hardcores". And from what I've seen, ANet has somehow managed to anger both, by destroying accessibility and having the depth of a shallow puddle in the middle of the Sahara.
I love this post. By all accounts I am a "casual" gamer when it comes to 80% of the video games I play. I rarely finish games and rarely play most games for more than an hour or two a day, if I play any at all. Usually, I have about 1.5 to 2 hours at night after my wife goes to bed that is "my time" to do with as I please.
However, the game is what decides how "hardcore" I end up being. There are some games that push me in to "hardcore" mode. These games make me want to forgo going to bed at a decent time to keep playing. These games make me think about them when I'm not playing. These games hold my attention longer. And, when I find a game like this - I become hardcore - but just for that game in that moment in time.
So, while I am very much a casual gamer, certain games have taken me past that threshold. Which is why designing a game for "casual-ness" is, in my opinion, rather dumb. If a game is good, it will create hardcore gamers out of casual gamers.
That is why I think that this game, in particular, is never going to last. My definition of "casual" player has nothing to do with hours per day playing. It has to do with a mindset. To me, a casual gamer will play a game "casually," which means "without regularity" or "occasionally". A casual gamer isn't going to be tied down to one game or another, because they are casual. Furthermore, MMOs make for bad casual games. Why? Because in an MMO - the population is a large part of the content and appeal to other gamers. A casual MMO simply, by definition, won't have a large population that plays more than "occasionally".
In my opinion, GW2 doesn't have the pull to create the hardcore player from the casual player - and as such - will have a very tough time with long term sustainability.