To actually get access to the beta, which has already started and continue to add more players, you need to sign up via your Blizzard account management page. Under Games & Subscriptions, scroll down to Beta Access and visit the Beta Profile Settings page. Once there, you’ll see a grid of available betas you can opt into. Once you’ve checked WoW Classic, hit Update Preferences and you’re set.
They seem to have expected some things, though, see adding pets with aquatic damage (gun and ooze) aswell as a resistant cockroach to stop us from cheesing everything with elementals. Yet, a fact their damage output is low combined with shields not checking for racial damage means this mechanic prevents a lot as you mentioned. The last boss has got an ability to remove basic shields so perhaps that was not in oblivion either… unlike the reactive damage. Also, an ability that forces swap altogether with an ability which prevents from being swapped, including critters? I can't say I like it. 

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When it comes to Classic, Blizzard's goal is to provide an authentic Vanilla experience, but they also needed to come up with technology to handle many players at launch, which is similar to sharding. While the use of this technology will be limited to the first month following launch, many players are questioning this decision and wouldn't like to see layering in the game at all.

I consider myself a purist in that I would prefer classic to be released as close as possible to the original. Where that is on the spectrum of patch content will be up to blizz. I'm also not vane enough to believe that any single state of the game is the "Ideal" location we should be aiming for. There is common ground that we can agree on, and I would welcome more than a few changes as long as they are made in the spirit of keeping classic on the vanilla rails.
The main topic for Classic at the moment would be whether the game is actually harder or just has more redundant activities you have to do before doing the stuff that's really fun. This is actually a good discussion to have, and not just for WoW, but gaming in general. The main sticking point for now, as most people are on (relatively) low levels is the breaks between killing mobs, especially for mana users. In the beginning it's actually refreshing having to think about what you can and can't pull, not just running into a bunch of mobs and killing them in *insert current optimal time to kill Blizzard determined is the most fun*. The food/drink breaks after a few (or even one) mobs provide time to actually look around the scenery and the mobs you're facing, and while there isn't much strategy involved at these levels, you still at least pretend to plan out how you're going to get to that quest mob without being killed by the 4 random ones surrounding them. Not being able to pull whatever mob you want, and actually having to check what mobs are there when you don't have interrupts yet (casters tend to be a nightmare) is definitely more difficult in a real way than what we have today. As a caster, having to actually think about which spells to use based on mana cost (and perhaps even using lower ranked ones) is definitely more difficult and requires more engagement with your character than we have in modern WoW.
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