Actually, there most certainly will be "new" players, like myself, and this beta wipe/non-wipe is a BIG issue.
I bought LiF in January last year, played on a couple servers with my guildmates, then we got tired of constantly having to switch servers as servers died out, and everyone basically stopped playing to wait for the MMO.
My guildmates and I originally are Mortal Online players (for those who don't know, basically the best successor to Ultima Online, but first person 3D), and a number of ppl also play EVE, Rust, etc. We are sandboxers, but almost everyone I know got tired of the private servers and are waiting it out for the MMO. Some did testing but got tired of wipes and are also waiting for final release.
1) There will certainly be lots of new/returning players, I personally know dozens of people who haven't played since before the MMO tests but are eager to try it out at release.
2) Until doing some digging just now, I did not know the last beta was not going to wipe (and only from forum posts, so I'm still unsure if this is the case), so this information is not readily available.
3) As any sandboxer knows, getting in first is a HUGE advantage, if my guild (and we might group up with some other guilds for this), come into a game completely mapped out and controlled already, that will be a huge turnoff, and we may not play.
If there is no wipe, LiF staff need to spread the word, because otherwise those who want to return and build there own territory will be pissed they didn't know the real "launch" was at Beta 2. Very poor planning on the developers part if you ask me. I can't think of any other sandbox that didn't have a wipe before launch.