Reasons to like Gnomes

Let’s be honest for a second.  Gnome fans are a vocal minority.  Gnomes are the least popular race in the game (second to goblins), BUT those fans are very invested in the lore seemingly more than any other.  This might be because gnomes are one of the least developed races in the game, and so we are starving for lore, or it could be that there is something about gnomes that really resonates with their fans.  A ‘relatable’ feeling that really gets gnome fans especially engrossed in their story.  What could that relatable thing be?

Appearance: At the surface level, some people relate to gnomes physically.  Either they see an aspect of their own physicality in gnomes, or they are attracted to them.  Besides the obvious (their height), gnomes are built very differently from other races. Representing lots of body types is good. Gnomes aren’t the super skinny like a lot of female characters are in fantasy art. Mostly gnomes seem to be considered cute, but I’ve also heard them described as, “plump in all the right places.”

Intelligence: All the lore descriptions of gnomes generously professes their genius. Some people would rather be smart than strong.  Outwitting your opponent instead of trying to beat them through attrition.  I think this might be the strongest aspect of gnomes and the reason most people are drawn to them.  I see a lot of Draenei fans also like gnomes , and intelligence is the strongest link between the two races. They don’t have that over the top muscular build that most races in Warcraft have either. Gnomes diminutive stature implies that they have non-physical edge to keep up with the larger races of Azeroth.

Care-free: Gnomes in Warcraft have a tragic backstory, but individually, they don’t seem to be dark or brooding.  There are a lot of sad stories in Warcraft, and sometimes you want a break from that.  Gnomes are often light hearted and upbeat.  They laugh a lot and don’t take themselves too seriously.  (Which is good because no one else seems to take them too seriously either.)  It’s nice to keep things upbeat.  There is a lot to appreciate about the dark and sad moments, but you don’t always want to ‘live’ there.  I think this is one of the reasons reclaiming Gnomeregan is such a big deal.  Gnome players would like to see this aspect of the lore brought more in line with gnomish personality.

Underdogs:  Who doesn’t enjoy an underdog?  Gnomes start at a level of disadvantage that few other race in Azeroth currently endure.  Their home is a toxic wasteland, their closest allies in Ironforge rescinded sanctuary and exiled them AGAIN.  Their first major attempt to reclaim their homeland after 10 years failed.  If you like having the odds stacked against you then gnome is the way to go.

Outsiders: It’s possible that the hate they get from other players drives a certain kind of person towards gnomes.   Loners that don’t like to socialize as much, or people that feel personally ostracized for one reason or another and relate to that.  Even the occasional agitator who enjoys annoying others, and rolls a gnome to gank horde and make them rage at getting killed by a pipsqueak.

Agnostic: In fantasy, there are tons of religions, and for the most part they all tend to be true in most regards. Gnomes on the other hand, did not believe in anything.  Despite the powers flexed by priests, druids, shamans, and paladins.  Gnome remain agnostic in their belief.  It’s something that you rarely see in a fantasy setting.  Atheists are a minority in most places, and so seeing some representation is unexpected and refreshing.  When they added priests, they managed to not abandon this aspect of the race. I have a lot of respect for that.

Gnomes seem to be filling a lot of niches that are traditionally ignored in fantasy and that’s great, I love it.  Transgender dragon?  Bring it on. Gnomeregan can be a home for anybody!

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Gnome Beliefs

Gnomes are not superstitious.  In a world with arcane magic, divine power, and interdimensional beings, these things are as natural as gravity, magnets, and electricity.  Gnomeregan lacks the mythological origin stories that other cultures use to inform themselves who they are.  For gnomes <unknown> is a valid answer until some mechanism that explains a phenomenon is demonstrated.

Gnome Philosophy struggles with different questions than other cultures.  This is primarily due to the fact gnomes want to understand how things work so that those properties can be harnessed to some effect.  Do origins matter?  Dwarves are very concerned with their origins, but gnomes are not, because that information does not provide much insight about how things currently function.  This peels back a layer and lets us see deeper into gnome philosophy.  “How” is a much more important question to gnomes than “Why” is.

Physics, medicine, and chemistry and the very common and well developed schools of thought in Gnomeregan.  They are things things that can be measured and applied in the physical world.  The tricky things that gnomes grapple with are morality, aesthetics, and the nature of existence.  Things that are innately abstract and don’t have obvious immediate application languish on the margins of gnomish disciplines.  Their philosophy is less about acquiring wisdom for understanding and more about attaining knowledge to achieve goals.

MekkatorqueandSuit2There is a Micro and Macro aspect to gnome individualism.  On the micro level is an individual gnome, made of of all of his or her physical parts, education, experiences, and expertise.  All these parts come together to form a complex being that can accomplish amazing feats.  Alone a gnome can create amazing things.  These creations are then seen as an extension of the self though intellect and craftsmanship.

Every individual gnome is expected to bring their best to any situation.  Any job that is necessary is important. This leads into their macro views.  Just like each gnome is made of smaller parts themselves, on the macro scale, each gnome is a small piece of a larger community.  This is one of the reasons gnomes don’t make many demands of the Alliance.  In their expandable views of the self, any success of the Alliance is a success for gnomes as a part of the Alliance.

Gnomish thought-leaders come in all types.  Gnomes that take on the roles of priest are not leading fields outside their role, however, they are important sounding boards for all gnomes no matter what the disciple.  If a gnome gets too involved in their own personal goals, it’s the job of a gnome philosopher to remind them that they have responsibilities and that their actions have impacts beyond themselves.  On the same note, they also guide gnomes that have lost focus and overextend themselves.

When soliciting feedback on ideas it’s also important to get multiple perspectives.  There are gnomes that specialize in positive encouragement.  Acting as a confidants, these optimists believe that there is a good idea at the core of any concept, and that it must be nurtured to realize it’s maximum potential.  Other gnomes are skeptical, asking many questions about how the idea is going to be brought to fruition.  It’s not that they are trying to discourage new ideas.  Instead they want to make sure that the idea has been considered in depth before resources are spent trying to make it happen.  Finally there are nay-saying cynics.  Gnomes that offer this kind of feedback tend to focus more on the applications of ideas and the motivations for implementing them more than the feasibility of the idea itself.

Gnomeregan credits a lot of it’s strength to the fact that all citizens have a door that is always open, a gnome to talk to about any idea and work through and explore the merits and drawbacks of all potential ideas.