The Gnomeregan Technical Institute is Azeroth's premier academic research institution. GnomeTech's mission is twofold: first, to advance the state of the art in science and technology through original research and innovation, and second, to educate the citizens of the Alliance through teaching and community engagement. In addition to its core academic mission, the Institute provides advanced technology and personnel to support the Alliance military in times of crisis.
The Gnomeregan Technical Institute is not a traditional school in which students take classes from teachers; it is an interdisciplinary research community. While new students do take some foundational courses, most learning takes place in the laboratory rather than the classroom. Scholars spend most of their time working on research and engineering projects, either alone or in teams, and report their findings to the broader GnomeTech community at regular meetings.
The technical programs at GnomeTech are divided into several departments. The most prominent of these are:
The College of Magic, including the renowned Department of Demonology
The College of Engineering, with particularly large programs in Mechatronics and Pyrotechnics
The Special Program in Arcanomechanics, a collaborative program uniting Magic and Engineering
The College of Natural Sciences, most notably the Department of Murloc Biology
The College of Liberal Arts, including the Department of Languages & Etiquette
Several specialized professional programs, including Medicine and the Culinary Arts
Scholars are welcome to pursue research outside of these core areas provided that their work has a meaningful impact and meets GnomeTech's rigorous standards of excellence.
The GnomeTech administration is fairly shallow. The Headmistress, Zappie, has authority over all academic and administrative matters at the Institute. She is advised by the Council of Madmen, made up of senior faculty and administrators. The majority of the GnomeTech community holds the Technician title. These scholars form the core of GnomeTech's collaborative research community. A particularly accomplished subset of the Technician corps, known affectionately as Brainiacs, act as mentors to others and are often called upon to represent GnomeTech at external functions.
The Gnomeregan Technical Institute is housed in a sprawling underground facility known as GnomeTech Headquarters. The current Headquarters, located in Ironforge Mountain beneath the dwarven capital city, was built in the years following the destruction of the original Headquarters in Gnomeregan. The main entrance is via the large spinning gear in Tinker Town, but it can also be reached by portal and through several service entrances around the mountainside.
GnomeTech Headquarters is vast and constantly growing. The central wing contains the lobby and reception area, administrative offices, student lounge, cafeteria, and housing facilities for gnomes and dwarves. The taller races are housed in an annex with extra-long beds and special sunlight-imitating lamps. The GnomeTech Cafeteria serves GnomeTech's signature dish, the Boochy Burger, which is made from fresh Tauren meat using a secret recipe. The major departments each have their own wings with assorted laboratory facilities. The Departments of Demonology and Murloc Biology keep their respective research subjects in secure wings far from the main facilities (they are, however, very close to each other). The Department of Medicine is located next to the pyrotechnics lab, ensuring a hands-on learning experience for all medical students.
There are several amenities unique to GnomeTech Headquarters that contribute to its reputation as the finest research facility on Azeroth. The first is its power system. GnomeTech Headquarters is situated near a large ley line nexus. A device known as the Energy Flux Matrix harnesses this power and converts it into arcane and electrical energy that is distributed to special nodes located throughout Headquarters. The technology, developed as part of Zappie's research into arcanomechanical transduction, enables technicians to access nearly limitless reserves of energy, but is prone to instability.
The second is the team of Gnomebots that provide cleaning, maintenance, administrative, safety, and security services throughout Headquarters. A Gnomebot is a semi-autonomous robot in the shape of a gnome; they should not be confused with Mechagnomes, the sentient Titan constructs that are the ancestors of modern gnomes. Different Gnomebots have different features: some are designed for combat, some for janitorial work, and others for extinguishing fires. The Gnomebots are supervised by Gnomebot One, who was the first Gnomebot completed and resembles the Headmistress in appearance.
The Gnomebots also act as an interface to the GnomeNet, GnomeTech's data and communications network. The network extends throughout Headquarters and is also accessible from most Alliance settlements on Azeroth. While it uses conventional wired and wireless communication protocols for endpoint links, the backbone of the GnomeNet is built on Azeroth's ley line network. These ley channels allow information to be transmitted across the globe at astonishing speed, but require considerable care to use due to their severe nonstationarity and nonlinearity, to say nothing of interference due to blue dragons.
The modern Gnomeregan Technical Institute strives to apply its technical expertise in service of the entire Alliance. Therefore, GnomeTech engages in substantial outreach activities outside of its own walls. Its representatives participate in nearly every scholarly society, including the Kirin Tor, the Explorers' League, and the Enlightened Assembly of Arcanology, Alchemy and Engineering Sciences. GnomeTech hosts regular technical conferences, colloquia, summits, expositions, and competitions.
GnomeTech also organizes a number of purely social events for the enjoyment of its members and the public. The most famous are the annual GnomeTech Prom and GnomeTech Winter Veil Formal Dance. These massive events attract hundreds of guests for food, music, and dancing. They conclude with GnomeTech's legendary fireworks display. Recent dances have featured acrobatic troupes, visits from Greatfather Winter, Horde invasions, unexplained mass dwarf suicides, and late-night underground afterparties.
While GnomeTech's primary mission is in research and education, it has also made significant contributions to the Alliance war effort in recent conflicts. Some of these events, such as the rebellion of the Blue Dragonflight and the Cataclysm, pose a direct existential threat to the Institute. Others, such as the wars on Draenor and Pandaria, offer irresistible opportunities for exploration and discovery. Since these conflicts have become so frequent in recent years, the fighting force of GnomeTech has been formally organized into the Gnome Army.
GnomeTech forces are known for their expertise with weapons technology, particularly robots and energy rays. GnomeTech has also contributed to the development of Alliance naval vessels, aircraft, and siege equipment. One of GnomeTech's unique assets is the Gnomebot Army, an elite robotic fighting force. They also control an orbital weapons platform known as the GnomeTech Space Laser II, though it has never been used in battle due to uncertainty about its accuracy and reliability. In the Pandaria and Draenor campaigns, GnomeTech ley networking technicians were instrumental in rapidly establishing communication infrastructure to connect remote Alliance settlements.
Education and scholarship have been at the core of gnomish society since their creation by the Great Inventor. Founded alongside the capital city of Gnomeregan, the Gnomeregan Technical Institute has served as the leading gnomish educational institution for generations. The original GnomeTech Headquarters housed vast libraries and archives along with state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities in the heart of Gnomeregan. All the greatest gnomish inventors and leaders passed through the halls of GnomeTech, and many stayed on as faculty. Until the end of Third War, only gnomes could gain admission to GnomeTech, although many dwarves were invited to visit.
When Gnomeregan joined the war effort, the traitorous Sicco Thermaplugg convinced then-Headmaster Stumblesprocket to lead an expedition of GnomeTech's best mages and engineers to the front lines. They never arrived and have not been seen since. When the troggs breached the city's defences, Deputy Headmistress Zappie gave the order to evacuate. She led most of the remaining staff and students to safety in Ironforge, along with the precious GnomeTech Archives. When the Alliance returned victorious from the Third War, they found Gnomeregan in ruins and most of its people mutated or killed. GnomeTech's magnificent Headquarters was reduced to rubble.
The refugees gathered what strength remained to them in Ironforge and, with the help of their new allies, made plans for the future of gnomekind. Zappie knew that if gnomish culture was to survive, GnomeTech must go on; after all, a gnome can no more stop learning than she can stop breathing. Under the leadership of their new Headmistress, and with the help of the Alliance, the gnomes broke ground on a new, smaller Headquarters in Ironforge Mountain. Zappie decided to open the Institute to all the races of the Alliance: in this dangerous new world, she knew, the gnomes could not hope to stand alone, and the Alliance would need their expertise in the conflicts to come.
The new GnomeTech opened its doors five years after the fall of Gnomeregan. The restructured Institute quickly flourished, drawing eager students from across the Alliance. During the campaigns against Nefarian in Blackwing Lair and the silithid in Ahn'Qiraj, the Alliance military provided ample funding for weapons technology research. Revenues from the newly invented Boochy Burgers supported the rest of the academic programs at GnomeTech. The first year featured a number of major breakthroughs, including the weaponization of Gnomebots, the invention of the Energy Flux Matrix, the launch of the GnomeTech Space Laser I, and the training of murloc warlocks. The wildly popular GnomeTech Winter Veil Formal Dance and GnomeTech Prom brought much-needed publicity to the new Institute, and the events have continued ever since.
GnomeTech's second year was more tumultuous. It turns out that a giant magical energy generator, an army of aggressive and poorly trained warlocks, and an unstable orbital weapons platform are a dangerous combination. Between a demonic infestation of the ley network, a murloc revolt, and an intervention by the Kirin Tor, and an attempted internal power grab, GnomeTech Headquarters was badly damaged and most of its residents were forced to flee. Fortunately, with its newfound wealth, influence, and manpower, GnomeTech was able to rebuild rapidly. Its restored and expanded Headquarters, which incorporated new technologies from the Outland expedition, far surpassed the old Gnomeregan facilities in both size and sophistication.
By the time the Outland campaign drew to a close, the new GnomeTech had stabilized and established itself as a critical resource for the Alliance. When the Lich King returned, GnomeTech for the first time sent forces to formally join the military campaign. In Northrend, GnomeTech researchers helped to reverse engineer crucial Scourge technologies and played a key role in analyzing Titan artifacts in Ulduar. The discovery of the Mechagnomes and the Guardian Mimiron forever changed gnomekind's understanding of its place in the world. During the Cataclysm, GnomeTech technicians helped to rebuild damaged infrastructure and oppose the newly hostile goblin forces. In the Pandaria and Draenor campaigns, GnomeTech advance teams helped to establish communication networks and defensive systems in unfamiliar territory.