The Test Server will usually be closed or locked. The Test server is NOT for people to just run around and "play" in. It's for actual play-testing of things that we need input on, but aren't too keen about releasing into a live instance and "forcing" onto people.
It will sometimes be open for Alpha Testers. Alpha Testers are currently Platinum Subscribers and Community Team Leaders. We will probably accept applications for Alpha Testers, but we want this group to remain small.
Beta Testing will sometimes be open to everyone. When we open for Beta Testing, we'll simply ask that when you log in, you are actively testing what we have asked to be tested. Don't log in expecting to just run around and do your own thing or (worse yet) disrupt actual testing that is taking place.
We will be regularly updating the characters in the Test Instance with your own characters from Prime and we're going to attempt to update with Plat (and maybe TF) characters, too, but we're frankly not quite sure how (or if) that will actually out. GMs have the ability and authority to adjust your character and provide equipment, stats, skills, and creatures for testing purposes, but we'll most frequently want you testing things with a character as close to your current "comfort zone" as possible so don't come into testing expecting to get anything "special". There may be times when things may be a little off or not QUITE up to date, but that's fine. Close is almost always going to be close enough for this sort of thing.
There may be things that don't work at all when you get there. Don't ASSIST or REPORT or BUG it. It's probably intended. HEALME and CHATTER should work, however, this bears repeating: do NOT log into the Test Instance just to spar, tourney, or run amuck.
This is mostly directed to Alpha Testers: The GMs will let you know how much of what you're testing can be discussed here. We'll see about making a private Alpha Testing Topic/Category for closed discussions, though.