First thing I did was create and delete my first character only to read the warning on the patcher the next time I opened the game. Why? Because my friend started at different area and I had no idea how to meet up other than reroll starting area.
The flexibility of the character customization is really nice. The progression and fame system (I've only got to Tier 3 weapons/armor) feels satisfying for now. The sheer amount of things to do seem exciting and I could see how this game could be really fun with a decent sized guild. However, you're right. I don't think I'll have enough time to really get the most out of this game. Although for now staying in the green zones and crafting up gear and working towards some goals seems pretty chill and casual.
Ha, no worries about deleting your first character. Depending on which founders pack you picked, the rewards aren't all that great and there will be server wipes before launch anyway so you'll get them back when they really matter.
Honestly, the amount of time you're expecting to be able to commit is probably pretty average, maybe a little less. I don't plan on spending much more time than you but I'm sure it'll be fine (probably something like 1-2 hours most days after work and 2-3 hours on the weekends). I plan on finding a casual guild and just enjoying the crafting/world. Gear isn't super important if you plan on pvping; really your ability to replace gear is what's valuable, that's why joining a guild will be really beneficial.
In a guild you'll have all different specialties of crafters and ideally a large bank of supplies/gear. You'll be able to coordinate and find groups for farming mats/pvping pretty easily with a lot of Albion Online Items. This game does reward hardcore play but casual play will definitely still have its place. I'd have to read more into it but from what I understand, they limit your ability to progress at least to a certain extent so the top players will still only be so far ahead and the gap will stagnate after some time past launch.