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Playable races in World of Warcraft e
Alliance World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Draenei (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Lightforged) · Dwarf (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Dark Iron) · Gnome · Human (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Kul Tiran) · Night elf (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Void elf) · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Worgen Both (Alliance and Horde) World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Pandaren Horde World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Blood elf (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Nightborne) · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Goblin · Orc (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Mag'har) · Tauren (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Highmountain) · Troll (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Zandalari) · Undead
This article is about the race in general. For the playable race, see Gnome (playable). For the language, see Gnomish.

The ingenious gnomes, masters of technology and the former denizens of Gnomeregan, are a race of diminutive humanoids, living in cities nestled in the snowy peaks of Dun Morogh at New Tinkertown in league with the Alliance.


Gnomes are a diminutive, wiry race of tinkers who live underground. In the Second War, they built gadgets and vehicles, such as submarines and flying machines, for the Alliance to combat the Horde. They are great mechanics and inventors, renowned for their knowledge and eccentric natures. The gnomes had a city, Gnomeregan, built into Ironforge Mountain, but invading troggs destroyed it and slaughtered its citizens. Many survivors now live with the Ironforge dwarves, a few traveling with their dwarven friends to Kalimdor. The gnomes are still reeling from the destruction of their home city and are loath to leave the safety of the dwarven tunnels.

Most gnomes on Kalimdor remain secluded in Bael Modan. Even after the decimation of their race and the destruction of their city, gnomes are an amiable and kindhearted lot. They make and keep friends easily; other races often find disliking a gnome to be difficult. Gnomes are long-lived and take a fatherly approach to other races, particularly humans. Gnome society is loosely organized, with most living in Khaz Modan and mixing freely with the dwarves, sending representatives to speak to the dwarven king on their behalf. Those few gnomes who traveled to Kalimdor live in a similar fashion in Bael Modan. Gnomes are gifted tinkers, and have a penchant for creating radical technology and innovative designs. They often work together with Ironforge dwarves, developing the blueprints and concepts from which the dwarf smiths draw their inspiration.[2]


Icon of Technology

Gnome artwork

The eccentric, often-brilliant gnomes are one of the most peculiar races of the world. With their obsession for developing radical new technologies and constructing marvels of mind-bending engineering, it is a wonder that any gnomes have survived to proliferate.

No one knows much about the gnomes' history before dwarves discovered them; not even the gnomes know much of their own history prior to the Second War.[3] Historically, there are some records of gnomes having contact with other races. There is the occasional historical documentation of individual gnomes having contact with humans and high elves in the northern continent of Lordaeron in Tirisfal Glades as early as 848 years before The Burning Crusade.

Apparently, the first gnomes that came into existence were "mechagnomes", small clockwork-creatures created by the Titans. It is unknown why the titans created them, though most likely they were created to help with the shaping of Azeroth along with the earthen and the sea giants. What is known is that the mechagnomes, like many other beings created by the titans, were affected by the Curse of Flesh. This gradually turned mechagnomes into the fleshy variant seen today. Also for unknown reasons, this knowledge has been eluded/lost by the gnomish race. Information of this evolution can although still be found on various locations, gradually explaining how the gnomes appeared on Azeroth.

One of the major sources of this info is Gearmaster Mechazod, a mechagnome found by normal gnomes in the Borean Tundra during the building of an airstrip. Not only does Mechazod confirm that the mechagnomes were created by a titan called "The Grand Architect" within Ulduar and that fleshy gnomes are a result of the Curse of Flesh's effect upon mechagnomes, he also possesses the ability to remove this curse and thus revert fleshy gnomes back to mechagnomes. Still, most normal gnomes would prefer he didn't. (Unlike Tol'vir and Mogu). Other traces of the gnomes' past can be found in the Storm Peaks which contains a large population of mechagnomes.

The first widely recorded interaction between gnomes and dwarves occurred a little over 200 years prior to The Burning Crusade. As the story goes, a dwarven explorer came across a small gnomish village. He was shocked to discover that while dwarves had just discovered gunpowder, the gnomes already had a fully automated village with such novelties as mechanical chickens. Contact between the two races grew, and soon, they became quick allies, and the dwarves allowed and helped the gnomes to build their capital city, Gnomeregan, in the foothills of Dun Morogh, just west of the Dwarven capital, Ironforge.[3]

Thriving within the wondrous techno-city of Gnomeregan, the gnomes shared the resources of the forested Dun Morogh peaks with their dwarven cousins. Though dwarves also have a propensity for technology and engineering, it is gnomes who provide the critical, visionary designs for most of dwarven weapons and steam vehicles.


The gnomes served the Alliance well during the Second War. Strangely, they refused to send any personnel to aid their allies during the Burning Legion's recent invasion during the Third War. Though their designs helped turn the tide against the Legion, humans, and the Ironforge and Wildhammer dwarves were shocked by Gnomeregan's decision to withhold their courageous troops and pilots.

When the Third War ended, the Alliance discovered the reason for the gnomes' sudden withdrawal. Apparently, a barbaric menace — troggs — had risen from the bowels of the earth and invaded Gnomeregan. Knowing that their allies' priority was defeating the Burning Legion, the gnomes decided to make their stand alone against the troggs.

Though they fought valiantly to save their beloved city, Gnomeregan was lost and nearly eighty percent of the gnomish race was wiped out during its fall. The ragged survivors fled to the safety of Ironforge.[4]Committed once again to the cause of the Alliance, gnomes spend their time devising strategies and weapons that will help them retake their ravaged city and build a brighter future for their people.

Although gnomes rarely venture out into the land, many gnomes have scattered around into the vast world. Due to the gnomes relationship with the dwarves, many gnomish adventurers are found throughout Khaz Modan, such as Loch Modan and the Wetlands. Currently, gnomes can be seen living in numerous Alliance and Neutral cities such as Darkshire, Gadgetzan and Auberdine. Many gnomes can also be found at Mirage Raceway in the Thousand Needles, competing with their goblin rivals. One can also spot the occasional gnome hovel in places like Tanaris, the Hinterlands and Azshara.

The ruling council of the gnomes used to reunite in Ironforge at Tinker Town. In Outland, gnomish encampments appeared at the fringes of the world, including Toshley's Station in Blade's Edge Mountains and in Northrend, Fizzcrank Airstrip in the Borean Tundra. While the motive behind their activities in Outland is unclear, the gnomish force in Northrend is tasked in establishing a forward base for the Valiance Expedition. More recently, the gnomes fought to take back their beloved city, Gnomeregan, but failed to take back the entire city. Instead, they recaptured the surface, known as New Tinkertown and has since stayed there, slowly moving away from Ironforge.


A gnome in the Second War.

The first detailed historical account of a gnome is Erbag, the gnomish representative of the Tirisfalen, during the early days of Aegwynn. Erbag was described as being highly talkative as well as rather impatient with Aegwynn. He stands as an accurate and general example of the gnomish psyche. He was already inducted by the time of eight hundred and forty-eight years prior to World of Warcraft and spoke on par with his human and elven counterparts, despite their relative obscurity in historical records.

It is known that Erbag was preceded long before his birth by a female named Indus, also a member of the Council of Tirisfal. 2600 years before the First War, she was the group's gnomish representative in her day. Not only was she a respected, powerful mage, but following her people's penchant for tinkering, she was also known as "the inventor" in Dalaran. She was an associate of founding Council member Meryl Felstorm (then known as Winterstorm). She, Meryl, and the rest of the surviving Council would empower the first Guardian of Tirisfal, an orphaned Half-elf and talented mage named Alodi.

Recently, gnomes had discovered Gearmaster Mechazod, a mechagnome, in Northrend. He claimed to be one of the first "gnomes" ever created, like their dwarven cousins, by the titans. Whether he was one of the first could be debated (considering that he was insane), but more mechagnomes have been found maintaining titan data, and even riding mechanostriders. It has become clear that mechagnomes were created by the titans for a certain purpose, much like the earthen were, and were affected by the Curse of Flesh to eventually be transformed into gnomes.

Gnomes have not had kings or queens in 400 years.[5][6][7]

No other dates or facts have been given.


Little is actually known about gnomish culture. Though what gnomish life really revolves around is unclear, it is perceived by most to be about striving towards the next levels of technology and knowledge through experimentation and tinkering (this is corroborated by the comments and clothing of gnome NPCs).

It is not known what social norms may exist for gnomish marriages, though Marvin and Tamara Wobblesprocket provide at least one example of humans and gnomes intermarrying. Whether or not half-gnomes might be produced from such unions is unknown.


Gnomes place their loyalty in themselves, in their friends, and in their inventions. A few follow a loftier path and pay their respects to the Holy Light. Since the Ironforge dwarves' recent discovery of their titanic origins, the gnomes think that they too may be products of the Titans.[8] The accidental discovery of the mechagnomes by modern gnomes confirmed them to be correct on this assumption. Some female gnomes have been known as members of the Sisters of Steel that have shown abilities to turn their flesh to stone or steel.


Gnomes speak Gnomish and Common. Gnomes know the languages of their friends and their goblin rivals.[9] Also, it is not uncommon for gnomes to refer to themselves in the third person.

Gnomish names

J.D. Collie

Gnome parents name their children at birth. Gnomes have family names that represent an honored ancestor’s achievements, but they only keep these names until some time in their thirties. At this point, gnome society expects them to have made their own achievements, and thus the gnome invents a new name that represents his own accomplishments. This name then takes the place of his family name. Many Gnomish surnames include words related to technology and engineering, with words such as boom, and spark.

  • Male Names: Grobnick, Kazbo, Hagin, Snoonose.
  • Female Names: Beggra, Nefti, Sorassa, Gamash.
  • Family Names: Spinpistol, Airslicer, Bombtosser, Greatgear.[9]


See also: Goblins versus Gnomes

Gnomes tend to design fairly complicated devices that are relatively safe.[10] Gnomes are in many ways commensurate organizers: a gnome can spend as much time (or more) organizing and planning a project as they do actually working on it. If the design fails, they try to learn why, and fix it if they can. If they meet with success, they will continue to tinker with it and improve the design, often for years afterward. Thus, many gnomish designs feature a high degree of complexity and a low chance of failure, the exceptions being those that dabble with chaos energy — but even then, they take steps to ensure the worst that could happen is a brief, non-fatal failure.[11]

Gnomes overplan new projects, producing blueprints and schematics that can take longer to make than the device itself. While this cautious attitude results in higher quality products and a greater success rate, it often takes so long that cost overruns creep in. While a goblin would scream and flee at the mere thought of a cost overrun, a gnome simply shrugs and presses on. If a project fails to work correctly the first time, a gnome will continue to tinker with it, while a goblin would usually give up and move to something else. Thus, gnomish items have very low failure rates compared to goblin items.[12]

Gnomes are innovative thinkers and are responsible for a vast variety of inventions, including more than a few that are commonly attributed to dwarves. Although a diminutive people, gnomes think big, often producing designs far too complex to ever be realized. To gnomes, technology is a way of life. Even gnomes who take on other trades often tinker in their spare time. Because of their innate curiosity, they produce a wide variety of devices that are interesting or amusing but otherwise useless or impractical. While others might shake their heads at such folly, the gnomes value all invention, no matter how unimportant it might seem. Among the well-known gnomish devices are the world enlarger, net-o-matic projector, and harm prevention belt.[13]


Gnome Warrior as presented in the TCG

Gnomes are approximately 3 feet tall, being the shortest sentient race in Azeroth. They are small, nifty, and light on their feet. They somewhat resemble dwarves, but are even shorter and not as stocky. They have petite bodies but large facial features and ruddy skin, their ears are quite large and rounded, and their hair color varies wildly, some even having pink or green hair. Gnomes only have four fingers on each hand. They are often seen with goggles, tool belts and other items related to their technological inclinations.[2]

Due to their short stature, the gnomes were often jokingly mocked by the fellow races of the Alliance. They were often deemed slow and sluggish when required to move fluidly throughout a battle. However many years ago the ingenious gnomes developed a ground-breaking form of transportation. Built by the marvellous Gelbin Mekkatorque, the Mechanostrider mount has served as a useful way of fast movement for the minuscule gnomes in the vast world.

Before the Gnomeregan incident, some gnomes (such as Gnoarn) had earned a reputation for themselves by wearing an eccentric hairstyle known as a "gnomefro".

Thanks to their extremely small size, in World Of Warcraft gnomes can be a hard target to click, making it harder for enemies to target you using their mouse. This is especially helpful in the event the gnome is a Fury Warrior or Rogue. Gnomes who specialize in melee weapons are also particularly hard to target due to their acrobatic fighting styles combined with their small size. Their small size can also be advantageous to people who like to explore; gnomes, even after cataclysm will be released, are the absolute shortest race, and can go many places height keeps other races from going.


Female gnome warlock

Gnomes have a great relationship with the Ironforge dwarves. They have been allies for generations and often exchange ideas and inventions. Their bond is so great that they live in many dwarven settlements, including Ironforge itself. Gnomes have fought and died alongside human soldiers and have been readily welcomed in Stormwind City with open arms. They are wary of the high elves, but so is everyone else, so they don’t feel too bad about that. They battled the Horde in the Second War and have a bit of a grudge against orcs, but gnomes are a kindly and forgiving lot and are willing to give the orcs a second chance. Gnomes and goblins have always been rivals... though whether this rivalry is friendly or brutal depends on the individuals involved. Gnomes have not been on Kalimdor long enough to form proper opinions about its denizens. Tauren and night elves both seem rather rustic for gnome sensibilities — but they can make friends with anyone.[2][14]

Gnomes in night elf territories are tolerated, despite the high number of gnomes who work with arcane forces. The gnomes believe that with their use of arcane magics and technology they offer something that night elves lack in defense of their lands.

Notable Gnomes

Other gnome races

  • Leper gnomes - Normal gnomes that have been corrupted with radiation and poison. Most of them have lost their sanity.
  • Sand gnomes - An exclusive race of gnomes only seen in Outland. Many even doubt their existence.
  • Mechagnomes - Apparently, if Gearmaster Mechazod's words are true, gnomes once used to be robots.
  • Junker gnomes - Gnomes that exhibit both mechanical and flesh features. Introduced in Battle for Azeroth.
  • Undead Gnomes - Although they are not their own race, undeath sometimes gives gnomes a rather unique look.


  • At first it was said that half of the gnomish race was killed during the trogg invasion,[15] but later it was specified that it was actually eighty percent.[4]
  • In the Second War, gnomes allied with the Alliance of Lordaeron, but they aren't mentioned in the book Tides of Darkness.


A gnome is a mythical creature characterized by its extremely small size and subterranean lifestyle and have a love for building unique items and gear. Gnomes are mentioned in Norse mythology, and Northern European beliefs, described as being small "Earth-dwelling" creatures.


See also

External links


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