Are there any gnome heroes in World of Warcraft? I know there are a few notable gnome charaters, but do any of them qualify as true heroes? Do player gnomes even live up to the definition?
Let’s start with a solid definition of what it means to be a hero. I’m going to be using the Hero’s Journey as a template.
Let’s look at Mekkatorque and his progression through the Hero’s Journey.
1. Status Quo. Mekkatorque has been leader of gnomes for a long time.
2. Call to action. The Invation of Gnomeregan. The quite orderly city of Gnomeregan is invaded by troggs. Mekkatorque takes steps to defend it.
3. Refusal of the call. In most stories the hero doubts their own ability to rise to the challenge. Mekkatorque’s refusal is diffrent. He refuses to reach out to the Alliance for assistance.
4. The Mentor. The Fall of Gnomeregan. Gelbin’s ‘mentor’ is his advisor Sicco Thermaplugg. Thermaplugg takes action that forces Mekkatorque’s hand.
5. Crossing the threshold. Gnomeregan must be abandoned. The gnomes must leave their orderly society and forge a new existance on the foreign and wartorn surface.
6. Trials. War with the Horde flaires up, the Burnimg Crusade happens, and the war in Northrend. The players participate in these events, but Gelbin does not.
7: Approach. Operation: Gnomeregan. Moira takes the throne in Ironforge and evicts the gnomes. For the second time, Mekkatorque’s hand is forced.
8: Ordeal. Cut Short. Gelbin is trapped alone in his own office. He confronts his personal guilt for the tragedy, he must defeat 3 troggs unarmed, and finally look the gnome who betrayed him in the eyes. Gelbin’s ordeal here is primarily mental, finding the strength to accept and move past what has happened.
9: Reward: Gelbin founds New Tinker Town. His confrontation with Thermaplugg ended in a stalemate so Gnomeregan remains out of reach. Mekkatorque’s journey seems to have has stalled.
10: The road back. Gnomeregan is being cleansed. We know that some sectors have been reclaimed. The G-team and S.A.F.E. have agents all over the place restoring order and rebuilding.
11: Atonenment. Have the gnomes forgiven the High Tinker? No, and they can’t because they never blamed him. Perhaps if we see a gnome election in the future this stage could be satisfactorily resolved.
12: Return: This will be when Mekkatorque stands as High Tinker of Gnomeregan once again. A better, wiser ruler for the experiences he has had.
Clearly Mekkatorque has not finished this journey, but he acts like he has. His appearances in the Siege of Orgrimmar, the Broken Shore, and at the Battle for Undercity are the actions of a transformed gnome. Clearly he has completed the journey. Unfortunatly for us it seems like much of his adventures happened off screen.
And what of player gnomes? Mekkatorque’s story is our story. The amount of that story that takes place off screen is a problem for us. A new gnome starts right at stage 5. We are immediately forced across the threshold in to our trials. Their is no status quo for gnomes. We never see who they are in the beginning so we have no idea how their adventures change them.
Idealy our starting zone would take us from steps 1-5. The worgen have an amazing starting zone that really informs the players who they are, who Genn is and what has called them out in to the wider world.
It is a shame that the gnome starting experiance doesn’t start before the invation of Gnomeregan. I hope that when gnomes get an allied race, their introduction will give them the background they need.