In spite of my best expectations I don't see any valuable gameplay ideas in Salem (same as H&H). What we have here is no more than a server engine demo. No viable game mechanics or business model have been introduced. Client side software is developed by enthusiasts.
Sandbox, crafting and permadeath (what supposed to make Salem exclusive and unique) have no implemented (or even designed) game-mechanics behind them. The game is always born on a paper, but not in an aimless feature implementation on a given engine. Game engine is secondary.
Everything good about this game is only supposed to be, but still doesn't exist. Developers are amateurs. They've always strive for lulz and forum drama. And suddenly they've found that it's not possible for a commercial game (forums are modded, care about customers and such). I eagerly (and hopelessly) wait for them to get some expirience in game-design from Paradox.
What I am trying to say that we don't have any Salem here. Salem "to be" has nothing in common with Salem "we have". Thus the idea of beta-testing is questionable. It's more like a focus group, where we think devs are drawing precious ideas for development. This makes community active. Nevertheless lack of devs feedback does opposite. Why the hell do we hunt bugs in game mechanics that won't be implemented at all?
The only buisness model for a sandbox MMO today is $30-50 subscription for the first month ($14-10 recurrent) AND NO DEMO! You pay a lot of money to get into the game and quit disillusioned after a week. And this model works. Newcomers generate sufficient amount of money for a small dev-company to get by (loyal subscriptions are a bonus). In-game mechanics don't matter at all. All that matter is a list of features. The more lengthy and inspiring it is the more new subscribers are attracted. Thus F2P doesn't work with sandbox MMO, unfortunately. Producers love sandboxes because of user-generated content (supposed to be). In-game content is always expensive. User-generated content is free. But IRL user-generated content is limited to buildings aligned to represent F-word.
I bet devs are trying to present permadeath like some kind of social auto-balancing in-game mechanism that will bring new sense to a sandbox. But really they've always used this "would-be-USP" to generate lulz and drama. No more. There is just no way they've invented a new way to use it for good. And there is no way they could conduct some worthwhile social experiments on that ground.
Release date is Q3 2012. I don't see any way for Salem to get worthy in a couple of months. So we're all about to be disappointed. R.I.P. Salem.