Well, EVE is really no different in that regard. The only real limitation is no capital ships in safe space (and the logistics of capital ships don't lend them very well to casual play). Everything else is fair game and you don't need that much time to start having fun. Obviously you do to get all the best ships and the best fits for them, but you know, those guys in capitals and tech 2-fitted battleships still need interceptors and frigates to tackle for them otherwise all their firepower means squat if the target can just warp away. And the PvE side even easier on the player for casual-ness.
I was a hardcore player for a while. Was in Goonswarm (the alliance, was not in Goonfleet the corp) during the most recent Goon+friends vs BoB+friends war. I left that a few weeks after Goon started pushing into Delve. It was fun, but all the action happened way too late in the evening for me and made it hard with work, so I didn't have much choice.
I miss the fleet action, but for now I just don't have the time to commit to an alliance for hardcore play. So I'm casual. Logged on last night, still had fun blowing up a bunch of Serpentis battleships in The Blockade mission, made good cash and salvage and logged off to watch Transformers.
And now with Apocrypha and the Sleepers, PvE is going to get more exciting. But I'm waiting until the wormhole craze dies down a bit before going finding them.