Misty Thicket is the major newbie zone for Rivervale (with a smaller one existing in Kithicor). It is also an area that the halflings have staked out to protect their city from the dangers of the Runnyeye goblins to their west. The ancient walls of the halflings stretch across this zone, cutting it into two distinct halves.
Filbus Furyfoot, the Lord of the Misty Thicket, Warlord, and Guardian of Rivervale, is a fairly common sight, as he devotes a great portion of his efforts to ensuring the safety of his lands and outfitting young hobbit adventurers.
This has to be one of the safest zones that exists in the game. There is one simple reason for this, the wall. It divides the zone into two distinct areas, the newbie area to the east and the higher level area to the west. Because of this division, the newbie area has no random high level monsters wandering around to attack an adventurer. The area to the west is also relatively safe because the guards are very close by.
About the only other large dangers in this zone are a goblin shaman named Mooto, who is significantly more powerful than others of his kind and aggressive, and the higher level undead mobs which occasionally roam around beyond the wall.
The biggest benefit is explained above, this zone is very safe. Many people call it the best newbie zone in the game (myself included). There is good hunting here, a fair number of quests for the halflings to engage in. Many halflings stay within this zone for their entire time as a newbie and up until around 10th level, when they start to spread out, although I think this is excessive, it is possible.
The other perk is that you can buy and sell goods without having to zone, which is a plus.
On p99, Misty is also quite a popular place for (evil) adventurers around level 30 to solo on the halfling guards along the wall.
Traveling To and From
To the east lies the halfling city of Rivervale. The path leads the way through to the break in the wall, which is heavily guarded by the halflings. Past this, the camps of the Runnyeye goblins litter the countryside. On the western edge lies the entrance to the home of the Runnyeye band of goblins.