First of all, when I read that the Annual Pass would include Beta access I personally did not read that to mean "You will be in Beta the moment it goes live," instead I read it as "You will get to play Mists at some reasonable point before release" and frankly was perfectly happy to live with that presumption. My credentials for getting into Beta, based on Blizzard's released criteria were pretty good. I purchased WoW within the first week of release and have subscribed since except for a brief break between Trial of the Crusader and ICC's release in which I did unsubscribe temporarily. To see, lets look at the language used to advertise the annual pass:
"... access to the beta test for the next World of Warcraft expansion ..." Found HereSome people, with even better chances than mine are upset at not getting into the first wave and reasonably so, we're all looking forward to this and we're hungry for content. Putting on my dusty Blizzard Defender hat...what is good for the individual is not always good for the game. Blizzard needs to test things in stages as they fix bugs and change things around, and for the best effect they need those to be played by new, unexposed players each time. If a quest was cryptic the first time around, and you figured it out but reported the bug, then their first attempt at fixing it is lost on you...you have no objective means by which to gauge whether or not the quest is more or less cryptic, and from what I saw of my friend's playing Beta they still have a ways to go, some quests are still filled with "<Event involving X happens here, player is directed to _______ NPC >".
They also need to test the content at various levels of stress; they need to know if it works when one person is in the area or if a hundred people are around. While surely it does mean a sneak peak at new content, at its heart this is still a beta and the purpose is Developer and Player to work together to make a game the latter can enjoy. Lets remember that both sides have interests in this fight that are not always intersecting. There are some players out there who use Betas to further their own interests; whether it's getting a leg up in raiding or gold making, and Blizzard has an interest in ensuring there is not too great an advantage.
Rest assured, even those who are new to WoW and bought the annual pass later on, you will get into the game; Blizzard is not dumb enough to withdraw that promise. You just won't get in the first or second wave...you'll still get there, hang on!
On a more positive note; the Panda creation is fantastic...I was skeptical about the Female Pandarens after the fiasco with female Worgen but I find the female Pandaren to be a step in the positive direction; they are feminine and look perfectly comfortable in the role of warrior, they look great beside the Male Pandaren (though I do feel their face is a little too "Disney" but it's not as bad as I initially thought).
Supposedly Pandarens can be most classes, except you would not know it from seeing the Beta...I think I saw a single hunter (with a cool looking turtle with a spiked shell), but 99% of the Pandas seen were monks...often running along, rolling as their energy allowed to get a small speed boost (how come my hunter doesn't get to disengage for a speed boost?! Cheating pandas! >.<). The landscapes are gorgeous, albeit a little 'rounder' and 'softer' than some previous locales.
I personally can't wait, my time will come, as will yours.