I think I already know the answer to this question but..Will all characters made in the open beta be wiped at launch day?
Yes, I'm sure they will. The advantage of the Open Beta, obviously, is that you get a feel for the game, get to explore some of the areas, and find out for sure how much you will like it - without paying.
If you want to keep that sense of discovery and newness, then you can always not play in the Open Beta. After all, it's not like you can't find out any information about the game from the web.
Regarding the schedule, I've maintained that the next patch would be the soon, and that OB would start approx Oct 25, to give them 3 weeks of OB before the game launch on 11/15. IMHO, they are going to launch prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, to ensure it's on the shelves for Christmas. I saw on the worldofwarcraft.com boards that the devs mentioned the next patch was "in a few days" so I believe that proposed schedule is holding up (patch this week, patch week of the 25th, OB on 25/26th, 3 weeks of testing, including one more patch, shut servers down 11/15, launch 11/17 or so).