Zek, the Orcish Wastes, is one of my favorite zones in the original shattered lands of EverQuest II. But after years of visiting this zone with every single character, I am still not sure what to call the main fort at which you start.
The map, and quests like The Journey is Half the Fun, refer to it as The Warship Dock. But in my mind, that is the area behind the outpost.
The dock really doesn’t do it for me. It is the outpost, the first fort that really makes the zone for me. It clearly declares that there is a war on between the orcs, who are lead from Deathfist Citidel, another place I like, at the other end of the island, and the… well… those who are not orcs or otherwise formally or informally allied with said orcs. I’m not even sure with which city this whole Zek expedition is allied. The troops seem to be Qeynosian, but they let those who are Freeport aligned
Unlike a lot of other “safe” spots in the game where quest lines begin, the outpost feels like something has been going on, that danger is close at hand. The outpost is damaged, orc arrows protrude from horizontal surfaces, siege engines lay broken against its walls.
And the outpost feels all the more vulnerable for its small size.
That catapult on the hill in the background seems like it could drop stones into the outpost with impunity, if only the orcs would get to work rather than standing around doing nothing all day.
And while the outpost feels a bit sparsely staffed… you could barely cover one section of the palisade with the NPCs in the outpost, they are not without some weaponry of their own.
One wonders how they were able to build even this small given the active and aggressive orc population.
But it is from this outpost that you launch your adventures in Zek.
It is just a pity, as I found out recently, that one of the main quest lines that tells a story as it leads you through the zone is broken about a third of the way in, at the quest Reports from the Borderland. Perhaps SOE will get around to fixing this after E3.