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.

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The Friction Cult

“The Friction Devotion” is a small cult started by a gnome rogue turned priest named Dinomoda Skipssmas.  She taught that existence is a struggle of friction and viscosity: too much and everything grinds to a halt, too little and everything falls apart.  The light is an expression of heat, stasis, and order, while shadow is contraction, flow, and freedom.

The group quickly found a niche focusing on reducing friction, because so many gnome inventions are built around wheels and parts with a fixed point of rotation.  Early on they developed new formulas for shadow oils, and a HEAT Power Word that would stop machines that started running out of control. Unfortunately the shadow oils did not prove to be cost effective for there intended purposes, and inventors were unhappy with the results of using the HEAT Power Word on their devices because it frequently warped, melted, or fused parts.  One inventor was quoted to say that it would have been better if they had “..smashed the whole thing with hammer, at least I’d have some salvageable scraps!”

The group experienced a schism after one of their high ranking member, Faxflex Clutchwydth, purportedly produced a mathematical formula showing that their ultimate goal, to produce a friction-less substance, was impossible.  The teachings of Dinomoda Skipssmas were updated by her followers to suggest that finding something perfectly friction-less was an ideal and not meant to be taken as a literal goal.  Despite this update, there is still a small fundamentalist group working toward this ‘idealistic’ goal.

The majority of Friction Devotion members that remain continue to search for more efficient lubricants, and their configurations for braking systems are still taught in every level of gnomish schools.

frictioncult2

Gnome Karma

I don’t believe in Karma, but there is an old gnomish philosophy, “We’re all cogs in the same machine.  Damage another cog, and you damage the machine.  Damage the machine, and you damage yourself.”

I know of a lot of gnomes that subscribe to this, but I don’t personally.  I think it’s to reductive.  Not all the parts of a machine are NOT equal.  If you have a machine you want to make better, you have to take some pieces out and replace them.

Most gnomes add more pieces, additional functions and options.  Not me.  What’s the machine supposed to do?  Remove everything that gets in the way.  No bells, whistles, power adjusters, or emergency cut offs; all that stuff is rubbish.

Bomb

Describe Gnome Culture

It’s almost impossible to describe gnomes as a whole in Warcraft without using Engineering terms.

Engineer, Tinker, Inventor, are all great things that I love being, but if you play an gnome, and you don’t take engineering, suddenly the rest of your race is entirely irrelevant to you.  That doesn’t happen to Forsaken or Goblins that don’t take Alchemy.  Gnomes are solely defined by one profession in the game.

So here is the challenge. Describe Gnomish Culture, without using words like Engineering, Tinker, or Steam-punk.

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