Gnomes are probably one of the friendliest, least judgmental races in Warcraft. They are eager to share their information and knowledge of technology with anyone that will sit down and listen, which is why there’s a gnomish branch of engineering that is available to everyone, Alliance or Horde. While the goblin race remains neutral for financial reasons, the gnomes are simply nice to everyone, regardless. Anyone could be a potential friend or fellow inventor, as far as they are concerned. The gnomes joined the Alliance primarily because their closest friends, the dwarves, did so – but it’s entirely possible that they could have remained a completely neutral party like the goblins if they weren’t already such close buddies with the dwarves of Ironforge. While they have a bit of a grudge against the orcs, left over from their fighting in the second war, they are still forgiving, and willing to give the orcs a second chance. After all, prejudice isn’t really part of the programming of a rational machine.
So now we know where gnomes came from! Sort of. While there is a large amount of information missing from gnomish history, enough has been revealed about the origins of the race to at least speculate on answers to some common questions.
1. If Gnomes are all about the technology, how come they can be mages?
Gnomes are smart. Really, really smart, and with the sort of thirst for knowledge that suits arcane studies quite well. Since gnomes are so intent on inventing and creating, it only stands to reason that they’d be curious about the arcane arts, and how they could use those arts as a modifier to existing technology that they’ve created. The gnomish race in general is so intelligent that their grasp of the arcane arts is above all other – they show a terrifying amount of skill in it. Fortunately, where most races would immediately become drunk with power and corrupt, the gnomes aren’t really interested in gaining more power. They have far too much humility and humor for their mastery of the arcane to really get to them, and they aren’t really interested in ruling the world. They just want to make it a better, more efficient, more orderly place.
2. Why aren’t there any gnome priests?
Because religion is something that simply doesn’ t exist in a gnome’s world. Higher beings, the Light, gods – these things simply don’t matter to a gnome, and while they appreciate healers and think that healing is a nifty thing in general, they simply don’t understand or wish to understand a higher power. This can be explained in large part by their origins – a machine doesn’t have a god, it has a creator – and that creator was unknown to the gnomes for thousands upon thousands of years. To the gnomes, they simply…exist, and where they came from is immaterial. There is nothing that cannot be solved by throwing together gears, metal, springs, and jolt of electricity, so why would they have any need to pray? Their loyalty is to themselves, their friends, and their inventions – in their world, they need nothing more.
It has been revealed that gnomes in Cataclysm, the upcoming expansion, will be able to be priests. This change is as yet unexplained, but I suppose it would stand to reason that if the gnomes discovered their origins in Wrath and discovered that they do, indeed, have a creator/higher power, then the possibilities for further exploration into knowledge would be limitless. The realization that they are essentially little fleshy robots is likely something that was a shock to the race as a whole, and who knows how they’re going to deal with that sudden information.
3. Why do people hate on gnomes so much?
Well, they’re a superior race of highly intelligent little guys that in spite of being so are incredibly friendly and choose not to lord it over anyone. They beat the pants off of all other races that try their hand at inventing, and they beat the pants off of any other race trying their hand at the arcane. And yet, despite it all, they’re so…damn…nice about it.
It’s like the sudden urge one gets to punch the super-perky-at-five-am person at the Starbucks counter. It’s not that you hate them, it’s that their general cheeriness in the face of oh-god-o’clock in the morning is intensely irritating.
And they’re short.
That’s about it for the gnomes – a backwards Pinocchio, they are the dolls that never wanted to be real boys, but didn’t really have a choice in the matter. Very little is known about their past, and little is apt to be uncovered between the Curse of Flesh and the Second War. Will Gnomeregan ever be restored? How will the information about their unique origins affect their future? All we can do is look to the future, and beyond – which for a gnome, is terribly appropriate.