Another Reason to Like Gnomes

I know it’s an unpopular opinion at the moment, but I like Sylvanas Windrunner in Battle for Azeroth. She has done horrible terrible things that I will always condemn out of character, which has made me wonder why I still like her in spite of these atrocities. I think the answer is Motivation. Sylvanas clearly has goals and is actively flexing her agency to accomplish those goals. This is why a lot of villains are popular.

While reminiscing about Vanilla Warcraft I came to the conclusion that gnomes are the most Motivated race. Their city is in a shambles, but they are actively working towards retaking it. You run in to gnomes all over Azeroth (not many, but still widely scattered) and plenty of them explicitly state that they are where they are doing research on how to fix Gnomeregan.

No other group in Vanilla WoW had such a clear and driving goal at such a high level. The trolls were not as dedicated to reclaiming the Echo Isles (which they managed to 100% do anyway.)

I’ve lamented in the past that Gnomes had very little identity outside of Engineering. It’s an idea that I feel like doesn’t give gnomes enough credit and is a bias I myself had to take a hard look at to get around. Yes, engineering is important to them, and yes it’s one of the main things that attracted me to the race, but being a one trick pony always gets boring, no matter how good the one trick is.

I don’t see reclaiming Gnomeregan the same way I did in the past. It was not something I wanted in the background of my lighthearted, carefree race. Now instead of seeing a tragedy that drove gnomes from there home, I see the rally to conquer a common foe, to return to homes that had been stolen, and I know that, to some extent, anytime I see another gnome our characters have that in common.

That unifying goal give gnomes as a whole a personality that is hard to match. Worgen find themselves in this situation more than anyone right now. Goblins, Night elves and Undead are displaced, but their homes are essentially gone, and now they will have to find a new one. They will all set out in different directions for new homes. While the opposite is true for gnomes they have all set their course together with a common destination.

“For Gnomeregan” is different than “For the Horde” the horde rally cry is basically “Go Team!”. The Horde has the Horde, but we don’t have Gnomeregan, it’s something we are striving for.

I’m really happy Mechagon exists. It adds new gnome content without removing this large driving factor. The gnomes having a capital city is something I would love to see, and I do genuinely enjoy the peeks we are offered in to the current state of Gnomeregan by the pet battle dungeon and Heritage armor quests, and I think there is room for a raid in there someday, but I don’t think I want to see gnomes lose their white whale. Gnomeregan will always be a dungeon and that’s good, because it gives us purpose.

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Are Gnomes Heroes?

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.

Heros-Journey

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.

What Gnomes Want

I put up this poll the other day.  I am afraid I phrased it very poorly due to the limitations of Twitter.

History of the race was clear enough.  We have deep history stories about elves and dwarves, but not much about gnomes.

When I say Gnomeregan’s Status, I feel like that was a lot more narrow than what it could have been.  What gnomes really want to see is a normal functioning gnome society.  All the gnome outposts, including New Tinkertown are places that have been throw together in a hurry by refugees.  We want to see what gnomes look like at their best, when they’ve had time to apply themselves and build a stable society.

Gnome adventures means gnome heroes.  We need more gnomes that gnome player can comfortably emulate.  An example of what a paragon of gnomish-ness looks like when filter through the lens of class, spec, or any profession OTHER THAN engineering.  Gnomes that remind us that even though we don’t have a city, we do still fit in on Azeroth.

My machines are the future! They’ll destroy you all!

For 10 years of people have been busting open my safe  and stealing my designs!  Now I’m seeing cheap knock off’s EVERYWHERE!  Where are my royalties!?  Where is my CREDIT!  Where is the RESPECT!  The worst are the GOBLIN versions.  All the grace and subtly is lost!StolenDesigns

 

I won.

My goal was always to get Gnomes out of Gnomeregan and exploring Azeroth and making new gnome settlements.

Toshley’s Station, Fizzcrank Airstrip, heck even New Tinker Town are all MY Vision, MY Legacy!

The cost to Gnomeregan was high, but the gnome race has been reforged in the way I always saw them.  Fighting for a larger place in the world!

Fizzcrank

Another Trogg Solution

I’ve already outlined my ideas for using Gearmaster Mechazod to purify Leper Gnomes by ‘removing’ the ‘Curse of the Flesh’.  I am beginning to wonder is the same process would work on troggs.

There are rumors that say troggs used to be dwarves or some such non-sense.  But if the Gearmaster can turn a gnome in to a Mechagnome, why couldn’t he turn a trogg in to a dwarf?  or really anything more useful than a trogg!

Manifest Destiny!

My main platform as candidate for High Tinker remains what it has ALWAYS been.  Manifest Destiny of the Gnomish Race across Azeroth.  It just makes sense.  No other group has the technical expertise of Gnomeregan.

Every sovereign nation on Azeroth could be made better with Gnomish Technology, and we should be present in all those places introducing and maintaining them for the smaller minded races.  If brains were height, gnomes would tower over all!  It’s time for gnomes to stand up and take their place in history!

Mekkatorque wants to give you a city, I want to give you THE WORLD!

GnomeInvade