Some reasons the game is likely to play faster:
- reduced variance of gold nuggets per marker resulting in a reduced amount of markers to reliable shop
- adjusted shop prices, no more wood needed, thus likely saving some turns (going to/finding a forest, lumberjacking, going to shop - which is even slower than normal because players do not have movement gear yet)
- later stages will get speed up by having skills to enhance deeds, resulting in less turns needed to accomplish something
- further trading got split from movement/action, a prospector can move/action/trade in a turn
- players are more likely to build common buildings, they will not run from the others before doing so
- extra gold income via the treasures (and cheaper X-markers)
Conclusively you will do more in less turns.
Basically everything Johnny said here. The biggest change is that the game has mechanisms to reward you for building shared buildings (mines) so you aren't as afraid that the guy near you will wind up getting more out of your mine than you will. So there is less hesitation to build it, and it's easier to gain advantages (gear and skills) that speed the end game up.
Also, there is now a 2 player game supported which is a good bit quicker.