The landscape of Ekrund is one of hills and valleys surrounded by huge impassable mountains, with a large ravine one must cross in order to exit the beginning city area. The northeast of these snow covered mountains is where you'll be helping to take control of the zone through the various battlefield objectives.
You start out in the lower left of the zone, snug in the depths of the mountain ranges, safe from most of the immediate predators that grow proportionality more dangerous the farther out you explore. Fortunately, Ekrund is relatively linear, in that there are not many alternate routes you can choose to get lost. Stay near the destroyed railroad tracks for most of the action.
The lower right resides the worst of enemies and the Destruction PQs. Things can get a little tricky in the far northeast, as well as in the lower right area. Use Redhammer Tunnel in the very middle of the map to define where things go from "easy" to "interesting". If you keep traveling in a northeast direction, again using the railroad tracks as your guide, you can exit the zone to Mount Bloodhorn.
Ekrund is a relatively easy zone to understand, as there isn't much deviation you can make from the natural exploration path. You'll be able to advance through the starting zone fairly quickly, just stay away from the southeast at least until level 8 or 9. Your most efficient route of leveling will be in a northeastern direction. Keep clear of the northeast most corner if you wish to avoid RvR combat. Most of your leveling will be in the east and southeast areas.
Quest NPCs: 45-55 spread out over the entire zone, except for the northeast and far southeast areas.
Public Quests: 3 total concentrated in the central and eastern areas. You will want to participate in the PQs in the following order:
Noted Destruction PQs: 4 total concentrated in the southeastern area:
Bitterstone Hold is under attack by hordes of greenskins determined to recapture Ekrund. Here, a single hard-pressed battery of Dwarf guns subdues the onslaught of the Orcs determined to desecrate the great vault known as Ancestor's Watch. The din of the cannons and the roaring of shellfire and maimed Orcs is enough to pierce one's skull! After only a few hours of fighting for the defense of this great stronghold, the brave beardlings of the Oathbearers become proud warriors, acknowledged as stout fighting Dwarfs by their peers as well as the longbeards. The furious combat of Bitterstone is but a taste of what lies outside, however. The battle to secure other precious delvings of the Dwarfs from the maddening expansion of the greenskin menace has only begun.
Durak's Gate is a welcoming sight for the Dwarfs returning into their long-lost homeland. The venerable passageway is the gateway to the ancient city of Ekrund. To the greenskins, however, Durak's Gate represents frustration and boiling anger. The massive Gate bars their entrance to the Dwarf city and its very presence continues to taunt them into a frenzy of violence. Wave after wave of greenskin aggression is thrown at the massive Gate, but so far each attack has been in vain.
Despite their unending efforts, the Dwarfs have been unable to put an end to the greenskin assaults on Durak's Gate. The stonemasters within the city are hard-pressed to keep the walls and door repaired with constant press of the greenskin attack.
The moldering wreckage of a derailed supply train supplies a haunting reminder to the Dwarfs of the daunting task that lies before them. Repairing the tracks and getting the train mobile again after the greenskin saboteurs derailed the locomotive has become a major priority. An uninterrupted rail line from Ekrund to Barak Varr is essential to the war effort.
Progress has not come easy. Goblin attacks constantly undermine the progress of the Dwarf engineers. If the greenskins cannot be thwarted long enough to allow the tracks to be repaired, the Dwarf campaign to reclaim Ekrund will sputter and fail.
A Dwarf iron mine has been overtaken by a swarm of Snotlings. Led by Murgluk, a horribly mutated, giant Snotling, the Snotling horde has swollen in numbers, becoming a menacing sea of green. As part of their effort to gain a firm foothold in the area, the Dwarfs need to secure the mine. Once reclaimed, the mine will ensure a healthy supply of iron for the war effort. Before the mine can be put in working order however, Murgluk and his Gits will have to go.
Battlefield Objectives: 2 total, concentrated in the Northeast mountains. You will want to participate in the BOs in the following order:
The Dwarfs have set up a small cannon battery to cover some of the areas from which greenskins are likely to enter Ekrund. From atop this small ridge, the Dwarfs also have a vantage point for viewing the battle going on atop the Gates of Ekrund. The greenskins have noted the presence of this cannon battery and have begun sending their troops to take the hill and neutralize the threat of the cannons.
The Stonemine Tower overlooks the surrounding valley, and is thus useful as a military objective. The Dwarfs will stop at nothing to control it, and the greenskins find it useful for heaving things at passing Dwarfs.