A demo of the game was available at BlizzCon 2018, and was downloadable on home computers for anyone who purchased a BlizzCon ticket or virtual ticket. The servers became available when Opening Ceremony started at BlizzCon 2018 and was set to end on November 8, but was extended until November 12. Players started at level 15, and the only available zones were Westfall and the Barrens. It was based on patch 1.13.0, essentially patch 1.12.0 ported to a modern infrastructure. The first day of the demo, there was a playtime limit of a cumulative 60 minutes with a cooldown of 90 minutes, applied through the BlizzCon Exhaustion debuff. The debuff was removed on the second day of BlizzCon 2018.
Although the Battle Pet Trainer will only offer to teach you your race-specific companion, it is possible to add all of these pets to your collection. You can either find them in your faction’s auction house or you can create a character of the race whose pet you would like to learn. Using your new character, you can seek out any battle pet trainer in major cities. After you learn the pet, you can delete the character; the pet you learned will not be removed from your collection.
You can opt in for the beta at the official site. When the beta launches on May 15, players who’ve gotten in will be able to play all the way from from level one to 30. WoW game director Ion Hazzikostas tells us that the beta will be “uncharacteristically small compared to our expansions,” in part to ensure that the focus is on the proper launch this August.
Unlocking the Lightforged will require you to complete the aforementioned Argus storylines and earn the “You Are Now Prepared” achievement. In addition, you’ll have to earn Exalted status with the Army of Light. As with the Argussian Reach, this one could take a couple of weeks, as it is time-gated. However, the main story quests should help you at least reach Friendly status with the Army of Light.
Only really to expand on Gráinne's comment as regards the 'collecting' and 'roster development' sections - which are, as said 'distinct' although they are intrinsically linked - I would like to point you in the direction of the in-game Achievements > Battle Pets > Collect tab. There are a series of achievements called Raiding With Leashes, pretty much all of which can be completed via the auction house - if you have the gold/inclination - or by completing old raids.
“To fill our pool of beta and stress test participants, we’ll be choosing dedicated players who meet select criteria from both the WoW Classic beta opt-in and the standard Warcraft beta opt-in. Participants will also need to have an active subscription or active game time on their Battle.net Account. While opting-in to the beta is the primary way to make sure you’re in the running to join the test it doesn’t guarantee an invitation to the closed beta test. We may also consider additional factors such as how long a player has been subscribed to the game so that we have the right mix of players to ensure great feedback toward making WoW Classic the very best experience for the community.”