May be a long post but these are some of my thoughts on the hot topic that goes these days.
By reading these forums the last days i can't help but notice that some people throw it out that DF(UW) is a game only oriented towards PvP. You worry that since there is so much focus towards the pvp aspects from the threads, videos and discussions you have seen you are left alone with the impressions that the game won't leave you an option besides PvP. Let me tell: this is a mis-intepretation and it takes some insight to prove it wrong, and explain why people get this impression
PvP has trough DF history become a heavy weightstone that has at one point started growing larger and larger making it heavier to lift, and that makes the weightstone of PvE, exploration, crafting and other elements a feather on the scale compared to it. And this is why:
DF(UW) is what you make it. It's natural to approach the game from a PvP perspective when talking about Darkfall 1 because the game does in fact have great PvP aspects. The PvP in DF is what has been preserved by the minority of the people that have kept playing DF trough recent times and therefore that culture has been an outstanding and overrepresented aspect of DF and attracted other like-minded players into the game which shares the same ideas, thus making it hard to leave that path of PvP culture and leaving it 'an evil circle'. Once people started leaving DF after launch due to various reasons (which are mostly adressed in DFUW), the people remaining kept onto what was already there and what they belived could be the only thing worth saving (the unique pvp)
What I believe will happen, and what is entitled to change in DFUW:
With thousands (a pessimistic estimation) of new players, new people, new clans, new oppertunities and untouched grass to walk down you will immediately see that the other aspects and approaches towards the game (which has always been there in DF) will be much more diverse and scattered, because there will be much of the same, but also different and lots of new people to explore and make use of alternative approaches and elements - preserving and making the weightstone heavier leading to a more balanced weightscale in UF.
Why would anyone approach the game differently this time, if PvP is and has always been the major aspect? Things will be different, and I believe you will have to, because the playerbase will be bigger,diverse and much more alive than what it is now, and it won't have the drastic downfall of playerbase that led the rest of the DF player evacuate and only taking PvP with them. Only the fact that DF UW is different in terms of crafting gear and resource control/gathering itself is enough to lead it onto a whole different path than what DF did. But this isn't something that require changes in mechanics, it just required a healthy playerbase.
Let me give an example: No clans in DF today are in need of a lumberjack clan consisting of only people who likes to go in the forest and chop wood and make a living/funding out of it. This is because all materials have been preserved and gained at a ratio that is unproportinal compared to the intented playerbase of the game. This is where I confidently believe DF UW will not suffer the same fate and will keep up with a better playerbase and perhaps making a lumberjack clan more viable, if not neccesary if the playerbase keeps up- (at DF early months there were many guild having to go out and mine/chop wood in groups, this was at a point when population was good). When this is not neccesary today clans will jus jump on eachother and fight and fight, because such a thing as resource managament and economy hasn't proven to be an issue due to unproportial gains of resources resulted by small playerbase and clan sizes trough recent times DF.
Much of the isses that emit from the current darkfall have had it roots from the low population.. the example above is just one of them. I try to say that DF 1 had rough times which kept the grass from blooming, and the remaining playerbase have since then emitted signals to the non-DF players that this game is only about the PvP, bcause PvP has been foremost and popular culture as a result of the popularion that only could support this kind of PvP. The other weightstone elements of DF have been ruled out by time, because none really cared to save it, there havent been any need to because the size of warfare today only require as much as long as the playersize is as it is, which it won't be in DF UW.
The issues above are more or less a result of bad playerbase, and I dare to say DF UW won't suffer from it in the same way: AV has learned from their mistakes. DF UW will retain all the greatness DF had, and rule out things that only had a negative effect on the playerbase, this is more than enough to assume DF UW will keep a very solid playerbase but also go on a way different path un-related to playerbase issues at all. DF UWs fate is not written, and should not by any means have its first chapters written based on the ending of an entire different book called Darkfall.
In conclusion: DF 1 at launch emitted much more diverse and different signals, and the weightstones were more even. Darkfalls mechanics have not changed at all since then, still so much is different since DF 1 launch and now . Population dropped and the playerbase were forced to preserve the PvP aspects and a strong PvP culture which has resulted to DF shaping to emitt exactly these signals of being ''pvp oriented' game. That itself proves how Darkfall is a sandbox game in my opinion.
I may be wrong about all this, although I highly doubt it.DF UW will be a hell of a nice experience both short term and long term regardless (for me atleast).DF 1 has for me given the best gaming experience for years despite of its flaws or un-even weighstones. And i have never even considered myself a PvP-er