I didn't get the impression from the original Darkfall: Unholy Wars announcement that it would be an entirely new game, but that's exactly what this new blog entry from Aventurine's Tasos Flambouras explains. In fact, the original Darkfall will be shut down when Unholy Wars launches and existing characters will only be preserved for the sake of some kind of tribute or memorial:
These are different games and the DFUW character system is incompatible with the old characters. These are two completely different worlds, there is a different skill acquisition system, different skills, different stats, all the way down to the story-line everything makes them incompatible.
Assuming we forced things and made it possible, the DFUW characters would completely destroy the Darkfall Online characters, and I make this comparison to also give you a practical idea of the incompatibility.
I understand that you may be concerned about needing to grind to viability again. This won’t be an issue; we have made it our goal to make it possible for new characters to become viable very quickly in their chosen role. The character progression of Darkfall Online left us with many lessons learned.
Finally, I believe we all need a fresh start.
So why did it take us so long to communicate this? We honestly tried to find the best possible solution, for a long time. If you recall we were initially talking about a “re-launch” of Darkfall Online. After we made the decision to start a new game it became more and more apparent that it makes little sense to keep the old charaters. Even so, I wanted to make sure that this option was alive for as long as possible. In the end we needed to make a decision on what was the best thing for the game and for the players.
So what happens to the old characters? We will preserve them for several reasons. One reason is to commemorate them in a Darkfall Online tribute/memorial after the original Darkfall is over. Another is to keep them for Darkfall related side-projects we are considering. We’ll give you more details on all this after the DFUW launch.
Regarding Darkfall Online, in its current form, we will shut it down to make room for Darkfall Unholy Wars.
As far as Darkfall Online players needing to buy Darkfall Unholy Wars or not, we will keep our promise and give everyone who ever bought Darkfall Online the opportunity to get the new game just for the price of the subscription. Even though we had promised this before we decided to make a new game, it’s the least we can do for our community.