Instead of sharding the zones, their plan is to shard the entire continent at launch. In Classic WoW, there are no dynamic spawns and questing in starting zones would quickly become annoying, so it's understandable that the game is all but fun when there are no mobs to kill, but layering will also cause you to see new players, every time you sign in to the game, which is a clear downside of the tech.
In player vs. player designated zones, you will still be viewable and attackable by players, but you are not left completely defenseless. While engaged in a Pet Battle, any attack from another player will break you out of the battle. You will receive a 3 second damage shield that will absorb 50% of incoming attacks. The same exact wild pet that you were previously battling will respawn after you come out of combat with the other player. However, if you defeated the primary pet in battle prior to leaving the match, the pet and its team will not respawn.
FYI: If you’re returning to WoW after an extended absence prior to patch 5.0.1, it’s possible that you’ll have more than the maximum pet limit and/or more than 3 of a kind. However, this will be the only time that you’re allowed to surpass these limits. You will have to pare down your collection, eliminating your duplicates, in order to add new pets.