At first glance, doing the missions in zones is an exploit. But the devs seemed to give their okay to the practice, although I could not find a post with a dev explicitly stating doing so was okay. My guild split into two factions on this issue. One faction considered the practice an exploit and refused to do any shard runs in greyed-out zones. The second faction took the position that SOE devs had come out in the forums and stated the practice was not an exploit, and thus allowed. In talking amongst the members of the guild in the second faction (of which I was a member), we decided now that SOE staff have declared the practice an exploit that we will no longer engage in the practice.
This is an exploit and we are currently working on a fix for it.
I'd suggest not doing it.
Whilst you won't have the shards you've gotten via this method removed, it is something we are actively working on removing from the game.
Our small guild has determined we should be able to do the missions in Deep Forge to help level and equip our up and coming guildies who currently are level 75-80. Doing the missions at level 80 will allow us to gather the shinies that are not available unless a group consists solely of level 80 characters. Needless to say, those items sell very well on the broker. Did I mention my guild is filled with tradeskillers and merchant adventurers? Cha-ching!
The other benefit is now that SOE has come out and made the announcement, we should see the wall that formed among some of the members of my guild lower. In other words, less cause for guild drama.
I do hope that SOE will publicize this decision. The thread was locked right after Kiara made the announcement. Maybe SOE will allow players to continue to do grey shard runs until a fix is put in place. Personally though, I wouldn't risk it.
UPDATE: On July 7, 2009 Kiara posted the following on the official EQ2 forums...
Whilst grey shard runs are technically an exploit (in that we did not intend for the content to be used in this way) it's been part of gameplay for long enough that changing things now would simply be punishing to our players and a major buzz kill.
Going forward we're going to do our best to ensure that we prevent stuff like this, but we won't be "breaking" the current dynamic.
* puts the topic to bed *
Confessions of a Grey Shard Runner: Justification
Confessions of a Grey Shard Runner: Motivation
Confessions of a Grey Shard Runner: Implementation
Confessions of a Grey Shard Runner: Epilogue