The upper half of the zone is actually a normal PvE area now, but the lower half still flags you for PvP once you cross a clearly marked boundary. It works very differently than before though, as it is now a small-group free-for-all PvP area, which means that you can't form an ops group while down there (if you enter the area while in an ops group with other people, you'll automatically be removed from the group and the remaining members will get a vaguely amusing message telling them that you've been "vote kicked"). Also, free-for-all means that people of the same faction get to war with each other as well as with the enemy... if they choose to do so. There is still a choice in so far as the quests in the area don't actually require you to kill anyone, but they are based on a bunch of objectives that are intentionally slow to respawn, in order to tempt you to kill your opposition instead of waiting for them to take their turn.
There was no lack of enemies however, as Ilum was extremely busy, even with more than a dozen instances of the planet up simultaneously (I kid you not). It took us forever to actually complete our quests in the area simply because people kept going "ooh, over there" to chase after some Imps or familiar Republic players to stomp them into the ground. Kind of unfair? Definitely, but then being able to bring more friends than the others is a big part of what makes world PvP so fun. We did get to see the other side of it as well when half of our team left early because they were done, and the rest of us kept nervously dodging out of sight whenever we ran into opposition until we got ganked back by another double group team from a Republic PvP guild. It was all good fun, even though there were no valor or commendation gains attached to it.
When we were all done with the quests in the PvP area and grew tired of it at last, we made our way back up north to complete the "pure" PvE quests up there, though we still had to keep an eye out for Imperials at least as our PvP flags stayed active for the entire time. Despite of a lot of competition, these quests weren't too much of a hassle. The big question is just how long they will stay around... the whole Gree thing is officially pegged as an event, but considering that the Gree are one of only four new reputations added with this patch, it would seem kind of odd to completely remove all ways of gaining reputation with them again after only two weeks. While it's been explicitly stated that this will be a recurring event, no time frame for this has been given. For all I know it's just as likely to reoccur in a month as it is to reoccur in a year! I do kind of like the mystery of not knowing though; it just means that I'll feel the urge to make as much out of it this time around as possible, just to be on the safe side in case it doesn't come around again for a while.
After we were all "Ilum-ed out", someone in my group of four suggested that we should go to Voss. While no new content had been added there per se, we did want to check out what you had to do to gain reputation with the Voss now. Turns out that the new weekly is nothing but a quest to complete the existing four [Heroic 4]s. I knew it would pay off to leave those uncompleted heroics from levelling in my quest log forever! I suppose that should make it a lot easier for levelling characters to find groups for these in the future. (I've always found grouping on Voss to be a bit of a struggle compared to other planets; I don't know why.) Being massively overpowered for what was essentially levelling content, we mowed down all four of the heroics without too much trouble, though it still took a considerable amount of time. This wasn't helped by a certain gunslinger deciding to pull more or less the whole room during Cyber Mercenaries... I don't think I would have survived the healing aggro if our group hadn't happened to have two tanks, who were both working very hard to keep me alive throughout the whole ordeal.
After we were done on Voss some people needed a break, so Mr Crazy Gunslinger and I returned to Ilum on our own to investigate talk about an [Area] mission in general chat which we hadn't encountered during our own questing. As it turned out it's a quest to kill the event ops boss as well as two proper world bosses that are safely tucked away inside caves in the top corners of the map. Sharing this discovery with the rest of the guild quickly led to an impromptu 16-man ops group being put together and venturing out to kill the one of the two bosses whom we had actually found alive. While our group composition was a bit wonky with only two healers, we still managed to down him and he dropped some Black Hole gear as well as a medium sized Gree rep token for everyone. Soon the other boss was back up too and we killed him as well.
Since the bosses were such a tasty source of gear and rep, we decided to attempt to farm them by switching instances and seeing whether they were up anywhere else, especially since there were over a dozen different versions of the planet up as noted above. Unfortunately we weren't the only ones with that bright idea however, and we ran into plenty of competition from other guilds. We did eventually manage to get one more kill, but on our fourth attempt we were ambushed and wiped by an Imperial PvP guild.
This led to much moaning in TeamSpeak, but to be honest I didn't think that they did anything wrong. We were in a PvE area on a PvE server and only flagged for PvP due to some careless people continuously spreading the "PvP disease" around. Maybe that'll finally teach people to let the bloody thing wear off for world boss operations and save me and the other healers a lot of grief.
That's where my own experiences with the new content ended for the day, as I was well and truly Ilum-ed out by that point. I did still listen in on some crazy guildies though who redid the whole thing on several alts in order to max out their legacy-wide reputation gains. Apparently advancing by another reputation level unlocks a quest with a puzzle that must be quite interesting to figure out, based on the swears, squealing and laughter that I overheard. I tried to spoil myself for the solution by following the people who were doing it into their separate channel, but was quickly shooed out again with shouts of "no, bad Shin". Now I can't wait to see it for myself!
We'll have to see how the patch and this event in particular pan out in the long run, but my first impression today was definitely extremely positive.