You really don't NEED to do anything more than you do today. The only difference is that there are a few settings on the playbooks that split some drop downs into multiple distribution text boxes, and we are looking for ways to make entering those easier. You could use the default position role settings, the default formation settings, and with the Show Recs buttons on the Depth Charts, I really don't see how it would take much time at all. We also plan on having a little more sophisticated global playbooks, so there is even the option of using those and not really having to set up a playbook if you don't want. In fact, you can get a lot out of the default options by just adjusting your game plans before each game, which is pretty easy to set and even more so now that offensive and defensive playbooks are totally split from each other.
So you could use the default settings, and assuming you did some great recruiting, you could even be pretty successful. However, the option is available for you to create custom settings and maybe try to build your game plans to your team's strengths. Also, pretty much all these settings stick with you, so let's say you do spend a couple hours working on a playbook for a specific game plan. That playbook doesn't go away, so you now have that playbook whenever you want it. I would expect a casual user to expand their playbooks over time, but at a different pace than someone that might be a little more hard core. Should a hard core user have an advantage over a casual user? I think eventually they both have the same tool set when it comes to playbooks filling up their bag of tricks, but at different rates. What I think would set a hard core user above a casual user is the amount of time they take to analyze their opponent and set up a game plan especially for the next game. So in that sense, I think a hard core user has an advantage over a casual user, but at the same time it doesn't mean the casual user should lose. But I wouldn't expect a user to have to spend 1-2 hours per night just to set up their game plans. What I would expect for a casual user to do each night, and I say this as a casual user, is to look at their opponent and see if they can tell their play style - same formations, more rushing than passing, etc. - and then set the game plan to do the best at countering the opponent. I would also look at how I want my offense to play and in most cases it would be the same as that really has more to do with the strengths of my team. Occasionally, I would spend some time to set up some playbooks and formations, so I would have more to pull from when setting up my game plans. But I definitely don't plan on spending 1-2 hours per night.
It's also sort of comparing apples and oranges in comparing GD to WoW or EQ, because you keep mentioning your success level in GD compared to the time you spend, but in GD you are competing with others while in WoW and EQ you are competing in your own sandbox. The closest comparison would be PVP in WoW. I am/have been a casual player in both those games and I do play PVP casually in WoW and I know I'm not going to be the best. But in that case, my enjoyment isn't in whether or not I win against another player, but in playing the game. If you want to play GD casually and expect to take NCs, I doubt you will ever enjoy the game, but I think where the hard core user is going to beat the casual player in GD is going to be in recruiting, not because they spend more time setting up game plans.
It might just seem like there is so much more you HAVE to do because there is so much more you CAN do, but I would suggest taking small bites at a time.