One of the highlights of the new region is that The Great River will be home to the very first Rohirrim settlement: Stangard. Because of this, Standgard will feature unique visuals and architecture not found elsewhere in the game. In addition to providing new vistas to explore, The Great River will help players gear up further through quest rewards, a new reputation faction, and an elite area. For those interested in getting an idea of how Turbine puts together a zone like this, there's a terrific addendum that walks through the process.
Preliminary patch notes are also up for Update 6, which is now on the test server. There's a lot to digest here, although it's interesting to note that Virtues will be increased to 14 (from 12) due to player demand.
It's good to know that plenty of bugs will be fixed come this patch, including this one: "The sky objects will no longer vanish when you travel to certain instances and then return. Told ya; The sky is not falling. It was just...missing."