Having played EQ (back in the day), DAOC, SWG, FFXI, & Lineage II, and WoW since beta, I would have to say that EQ won it's fame back in the day because it was a first, DAOC got it's fame for a solid release and development. WoW got it's fame for a solid release and for being the first 'casual' MMORPG.
Lineage II & EQII are NOT casual MMORPG's. WoW accomplished the casual status by instancing important/high level content and providing 'noob' zones for leveling, not to mention noob servers. Blizzards fast implementation of new server types brought in even more types of players.
WoW, however, receives it's fair share of immature players, but as long as you /leave General when you are in the Barrens, you'll be just fine.
I would recommend WoW over Lineage 2 to start out, with the large community you will have more support in finding information you need. Give the WoW trial a go, if you know friends in the game try to hookup with them, that will make you get into the game so much more.
But know that once you go into an MMORPG and meet up with another MMORPG'er IRL you will be able to successfully carry on a conversation that no non-MMORPG player will understand at all...
My brother & I both play WoW and at the latest family birthday gathering, we talked for like 30 minutes all the while our family looked around aimlessly wondering if we were suddenly going to jump up on our chairs shouting LIGHTNING BOLT, LIGHTNING BOLT!!!