Me: Long term TOR1e Player and Loremaster (LM = GM of course). I did a little face to face stuff a long time ago, and then much more online in PBP games in recent years.
I went all in for TOR2e when the original publisher (Cubicle7) who worked with the designers at Sophicated Games for many years, was then switched to Free League in the past two years.
1. TOR1e was always published first, and that material was then ported across into the old AiME game set - which was using Dungeons& Dragons 5e/ WoTC rules set (the OGL thing) . TOR1e was produced about 6 to 8 months in advance of the AiME (at least). (AiME is Adventures in Middle Earth.) I got the Rule set for these, and some pdfs of the material. Never really did it, as it confirmed that DnD stuff was not my thing.
It's a leap of faith to say that TOR2e will follow the same pattern - but one based on a lot of experience of that pattern in TOR1e. Its the same great design team at Sophisticated Games, and everything that they have said they would do: they have. (Well, within reason.. Moria is still in the pipeline from way back in TOR1e; Gondor in 1e was coming until it suffered in the events that ended that range, and 2e has mentioned nothing firm about this region.) I have no reasonable doubt that TOR2e will be the front runner again and that LOTRRPG stuff will follow along a little while later. If TOR2e doesn't make it first, LOTRRPG beat it to the punch.
2. The Starter Set (yes I have that too - completist collector, me)? Well, it is a little soft. In years to come I hope it gets an upgrade to include introductory rules for Journeys and a few other things that were left out, and some harder adventures too. It is a bit cute - and seems ideal for younger players. The resources (maps etc) are very nice, and you do get a set of dice: by now they are probably not the misprinted ones. But you really don't need the Starter Set, unless you want a nice background book on the Shire and its localities. It's not redundant to my mind. But not that relevant either: real Adventure is OUTSIDE the Shire.
3. TOR2e was sold as being a streamlined version of TOR1e. (which means that old material - if you can get it is very easy to customise into TOR2e). One of the tenets here is that rolling dice is expected to be only done if absolutely needed, and if there is Risk of trouble with any Fail. My personal opinion is that the streamlining ethic has been a little too heavily applied. I don't mind dice rolling. I enjoy the nuances in TOR1e that many of the forumites say TOR2e has improved on: for me TOR2e is merely a different, but familiar, game (rather than better). But there have been improvements as well. Travel in TOR1e was tedious really, and uninspiring.
Crunchy Rules? I think most would suggest that is not the direction of TOR2e. "Rules - lite" is the perceived intention.
But, How Crunchy is this for you?
There are 18 Common Skills for out of Combat gameing (some can double up in Combat tasks as well); Characters seem to pick up two or three of the five Weapon type skills to use in Combat; and two further features are Valour & Wisdom for emotional game play. Anything not covered by these options.. well you are either going to Narrate it or House Rule it.
A significant Fight comes along approximately every other adventuring session, so you can reasonably expect less than half the narrative to be spent describing actual combat. Combat Skills slowly build in your career: and there is a very real threat of character death in play no matter how high a level you get too. This seems mainly because a character does not really change their Endurance (Hit Points) much as they develop. Only their Skills improve. Just about everything is a trade off - e.g. Choose great Armour, yes. But get Weary because of its load and perform worse. e.g. fight aggressively to hit your foe? But, oh dear, the foe hits you for often too! The rules LOOK simple and short, but the application of these choices/trade offs will probably surprise you as you play. Picking Virtues and Rewards is an early instance of this. The Rules aren't very crunchy really - there are only the really necessary tables printed up. But they certainly allow you to have detailed and intricate gameplay.
And one final thing - for me - there is nothing else even remotely close to gaming in Middle earth than TOR. The feel is as perfect as you can wish for. It has a great pedigree from TOR1e, and the TOR2e materials are absolutely top notch. These products are produced with love and care for Tolkien's world: and also sympathetic to the demands of its fan base. I will be buying it as long as it continues. I think it HAS to be the game that any Tolkien RPGer would want.