Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Why gnomes are great

(This will be a rather short post as there is a cat fast asleep on one of my arms so I'm typing slow and one-handed.)

As I mentioned in my last post, the final day of the Destiny of Velious launch events is today, and it's a series of flying races run by those mechanically-minded tinkerers, the gnomes.  Check out this video of the races!  And here's a great screenshot taken by Gnobrin, one of our art team:

This morning when the event started and people started talking about it, I got a message from a friend asking what it was all about. When I explained, he expressed his regret that the game he's currently playing doesn't have gnomes in. And this led to a discussion that's the title of this post: why gnomes are great.

Gnomes are great for many reasons, really; I used to play one myself in the original EQ. From a game designer's perspective though they are great because they are so crazy and random and inclined to catastrophically break or change things that they can be used as an explanation for almost anything.

For example, we want to create an event that lets people try out the new flying mounts but only on a temporary basis? Gnomes can build a test course and an unstable, prone-to-disintegration mechanical flying mount! No further explanation needed. Gnomes just do things like that.

This principle can be applied to almost anything. Why did the sun explode? Gnomes! Why did sharks develop the ability to swim on dry land? Gnomes! Why did the gods abandon the world? Gnomes! Why did everyone's underwear turn purple? Gnomes! "Gnomes" is an explanation that can answer almost any question; and as such they are a wonderful excuse for a game designer to use when all else fails. And the beauty of gnomes is that it quite likely really IS their fault anyway.

Some (ie: gnomes) may call this a blog about blaming gnomes, and not about why gnomes are great, but this is clearly a nit-picky point of semantics that I will ignore. All MMOs should have gnomes, or a gnome-equivalent. Gnomes are great.  =)


  1. My devices are 76% explosion free 82% of the time. Completely mostly reliable within acceptable success-shortfall parameters!

  2. Each time i read about your love of gnomes, I end up playing my granny shammy gnome for a few days. I do love her, I just wish she was something other than a mystic, but then again what great wisdom a 300 year old granny gnome can share with the world of Norrath. She is a masterf tailor, but still tinkers for relaxation.

  3. In EQ1, I loved the height perspective of gnomes best. It felt like you really were faster than an ogre or troll.