Best way to get into the Open Beta and Early Access is to get a pre-order from a local store. I went GameStop and picked mine up. I actually have two since I put money down on a CE but the clerk ordered the regular version.
So he gave me a CE code card and later I got the regular code card when I went in to talk to them about the order being wrong.
If you can get a pre-order that gives you access to beta and even if you decide not to purchase at most you're only out $5 - $10 at most. But in most cases you just move your pre-order money onto the next title you want to order.
One of the best things about GameStop, not sure the policy is the same for Internet pre-orders though.
Either way good luck. Don't give up just be patient.
As far as the combat goes it's typical MMO style combat... not as action and location oriented as AoC but still as good as or better than WoW in my opinion. Fun as hell RvR.