This was my concern as well, there are lengthy conversations about the other three letter changes.
However, back when I started Freedom was the only PVE map, with an active and vibrant community and it is my opinion that every additional server only further spread out the long term community.
No matter how long they wait to merge them, if they merge them or not the veterans will always have the edge of past time on their side over the new player be they today's or next years, a reality of every online multiplayer game.
It is my opinion that people buy games on steam for the flavor of the month looking for instant gratification and eventually move on to the next one.
Few gamers have the time, resources and dedication to commit to a subscription based game with added maintenance costs and the long term time investment (grind) that is Wurm.
Unless they make drastic changes to the maintenance costs and time to level skills, I am of the opinion this steam experiment will flame out and we will have more maps and a thinner player base.