I have read a few folks complain that this zone is "Too Easy"... However, I have been having a lot of fun with it, and even if it is very straight-forward, it makes for a nice alternative for a solo-player to earn some Fleet Marks without worrying about queuing-related issues and so on.
It feels like some lessons were learned from the Defera event frankly, and implemented in this updated version. In particular, I like how the open zone concept fuses with a nearly linear progressive meta-mission. In other-words, a player (or group) can set out to complete the entire mini-arc of individual missions, which put together more or less form a contiguous story. All the while allowing for the social-zone feel of Defera--but with more of a focus in my opinion.
The fact that missions items can be collected and mission progress saved between instances of play, also means it's a cool diversion while waiting for other mission-timers to cool down, which can be dropped at any time and easily picked back up again.
For those who feel it's too easy, I hear what you are saying, but I feel that the game needed additional "End-game" content that was a little less challenging than most of the rest... Not to mention a quick way to solo some Fleet Marks when needed.
Also, I really like the new gear ideas.
The new EV suits are not OP compared to most Armor of similar level, but are still useful in the context for which they were designed... This opens up the potential for additional content in the future which can really make use of EV suits.
While I understand the frustration of those players who cannot use their (hard-won) STF gear in an environment where such gear would possibly make logical sense, I also see the benefit of offering a new type of armor that has a specific purpose in the game--surviving in a hazardous environment.
Additionally, since some of this new gear is also part of a set (or multiple sets?) it gives those that already have their STF and/or Jem'hadar sets something new to work towards.
Overall, I feel that the Tholian ground incursion is a step in the right direction for future casual but still fun new content. The fact that general usage here is not time-gated is probably the best part of the whole design.
I am really enjoying play-testing this on Tribble right now, and look forward to it on Holodeck.