I rolled my first Republic alt over the weekend. Seeing as I have a 50 assassin, I'm not sure why I decided to roll a Consular, but I did. I chose a female Miraluka (mask option 1, they remind me of Morpheus' sunglasses from The Matrix) and got into the story. I decided to go sage with this character and think I have decided on a Telekenetics spec. I'm actually having some fun healing so far and I love blowing people up in WZs. I manage to get to level 21 so far and am about 1/4 of the way through Taris.
Some thoughts so far on Empire vs Republic and other things. I am really enjoying the Consular story. I thought the Inquisitor story was great as well, but I've never really enjoyed playing the power hungry megalomaniac, so I think the Consular story fits me better. Having played a tank specced asassin to 50, this sage to 21, and a marauder to 29, I have to say that tank specced characters have a distinct advantage, especially once they get their healing companion. I hardly ever had to stop and regenerate on my assassin. On the sage it feels like any fight against a gold star mob and I'm forced to Meditate afterwards, moreso for Force regen than health regen.
The only starting planets I've done so far are Tython, Korriban, and half of Hutta, but man Tython blows the other two away. Maybe it's just the redness of Korriban getting to me after taking two characters through it, but I'm already ready to roll a Jedi Knight alt just to get to see Tython again. I am also looking forward to seeing if Ord Mantell is as much better than Hutta.
Finally, the Republic gets MUCH better looking gear. I was very thankful to see that a lot of the Jedi gear actually makes them look like Jedi. I realize the Sith aren't Jedi, but there really wasn't that much difference in their appearance in the movies. I guess they had to do something to differentiate them, especially for PVP, but the Empire gear just looks horrible. With the exception of the Consular's War Hero gear, I like every set I've seen. My consular is currently wearing the Robe on Insight (from Athiss) and the rest of her gear is the female formal wear with the colors unified and I have had more than one group member tell me my character looks cool. I can't help but agree.