Technologically speaking, the Alliance is strong, with gnomish and dwarven inventions. Heavily armored vehicles with massive guns often help take well-defended structures, or even serve to simply destroy an enemy’s morale. The appearance of three or four armored vehicles can often break an enemy’s morale without ever firing a shot. However, they are well armed in case they do need to fire.
The Alliance views technology as an extension of a new way of thinking. Humans view technology as a powerful tool, yet not as mature or respectable as the power of magic. To them, the craft is best left to the gnomes and dwarves who invent new weapons, devices and vehicles of war that the humans can benefit from while relying on the old ways of their own culture. Dwarves and gnomes are the true masters of steam and brass; for them, forge and artifice has always been a way of life, and technology presents new challenges that magic never has. The ability to craft magnificent weapons of destruction appeals to the dwarven sense of war, and firearms have become a respected aspect of their culture. Dwarven riflemen are feared, and their steam tank crews are also given tremendous respect for their skill in guiding their magnificent weapons of war. Gnomes on the other hand are more concerned with the practical applications of technology, using it to craft all manner of sights, scopes, helmets, constructs, and a variety of devices with odd uses, from targeting dummies to clockwork chickens. For a gnome, no idea is too silly or insane to explore through the craft of technology. The night elves view almost all technology with disdain, seeing it as another creation of artifice, another affront to the nature of the world, a violation that will one day lead to the same ruin that the high elves once spread with their love of the arcane. Yet it is clear to all of the Alliance races that the battlefields are changing thanks to technology. Firearms are a tremendous equalizer, and a trained sniper can be as deadly to a knight as a dragon’s breath. The machines of war provide protection and weapons that level the field even against the mightiest of monsters. That the Alliance is aware of this bodes well for their future.
What is technology? In simplest terms, it is science applied to practical use. Thus, by this definition, a simple can opener is a technological device. A more accurate description is that technology is the system by which an entire society provides for the wants and needs of its population. Thus, the dwarves of Ironforge are said to be more technologically advanced than the tauren of Mulgore, who are themselves far more advanced than, say, kobolds or troggs.
Technology tends to improve as the demand for it increases. A society might go decades or even centuries without a major advancement before some bright inventor comes up with something that alters the fundamental way things are done. For example, wagon wheels help move heavy loads from place to place, while wheels of stone grind meal into flour. Put notches in a wheel, connect them together, and you have gears that can drive even more complicated devices.
All too frequently, war is the primary driver of technological advancements. The Ironforge dwarves spearheaded this trend, developing gunpowder and firearms as a way to achieve an edge against their foes in combat. Flying machines, originally just curiosities or at best scouting tools, are now being outfitted with flak cannons and bombs. Who knows where these advancements will lead?
Ironforge dwarves are perfectly comfortable with technology, rapidly accepting and absorbing new inventions into their society. As dwellers in a tight-knit, underground city complex, they exchange new ideas easily and freely. Rarely do dwarves keep inventions to themselves — unlike goblins, they aren’t terribly concerned with the accumulation of wealth and power. They prefer to use technology to improve their lives, as well as the lives of their fellow citizens. Nowhere is this better seen in the creation of new devices to defend their population from threats, both internal and external. The dwarves don’t intend to have what happened in Gnomeregan happen to them.
Ironforge dwarves are a practical people, and they look at technology as a way to improve the world around them. Nowhere is this better seen than the way they use technology to advance their fighting prowess. From steam armor to long-range rifles, dwarves employ science for the art of war. Thus, most of their inventions are armor, weapons or war machines. Dwarven inventions include gunpowder, firearms, siege works, war golems and other weapons of war.
High and night elves
Both high elves and night elves disdain technology, primarily because they consider it an inherently destructive art. The Venture Company’s near-complete annihilation of sections of the Stonetalon Mountains (the Charred Vale in particular) with lumber-cutting machines stands as mute testimony to this belief. Still, a few elves dabble in the art, generally focusing on problem-solving devices instead of weaponry. Like the Horde, night elves deal little with technology, though the occasional gunman may be found among night elf ranks. Few elves employ firearms over good, strong bows. Technology is nearly alien to the night elves, as they do not trust it, even when used by allies.
- See also: Goblins versus gnomes
Gnomes are innovative tinkers 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.
Unlike the dwarves, gnomes think of technological items individually instead of socially. Where a dwarf might envision a force field generator as a way to protect his people from invasion, a gnome would look at the device as a way to keep him dry in bad weather. However, since their evacuation from Gnomeregan, many gnomes focus their efforts on producing devices that will help them recover their homeland.
Gnomes are in many ways commensurate organizers: gnomes 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 are met with success, they as often as not continue to tinker with 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. Among the well-known gnomish devices are the world enlarger, net-o-matic projector and harm prevention belt.
While many humans have become adept at working with new technologies, the vast majority of humankind views engineering as little more than a curiosity. Most continue to believe that polished steel armor and a strong, well-crafted sword are better than any complicated technological device could ever be. Furthermore, magic is so ingrained in the human psyche that the thought of science ever surpassing the mystic arts is laughable. Still, this attitude is slowly changing, for rifle troops and grenadiers appear in human military forces, albeit as irregulars. Also, a few arcanists apply technology to their own experiments, producing simple combinations of magical and technological power. Where this trend may lead is yet unknown.
Those inventions the humans have produced tend to be simple and straightforward, without the complexity of a gnomish device or the dangerous instability of a goblin creation. Some examples are spellpower goggles, the voice amplification modulator and the parachute cloak.
While not as sophisticated as, say, a goblin airship, humans employ sailing ships at least as advanced as those of any other race without a second thought.
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The majority of draenei technology is based on naaru technology. This technology may be based on magic and/or the Holy Light or shamanism, although it may also be just an advanced form of technology based around mechanical forms of energy, or chaos energy. Some notable Draenei/Naaru technology includes holographic displays and long distance communication devices. The Exodar may also be considered a part of draenei technology, but as the Exodar was once a part of Tempest Keep it means that the draenei may have altered it and learned to control it (to some degree), and not actually created it themselves. Still, most draenei-created devices are likely to be based off the naaru technology present in the Exodar.
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Little is known about Gilnean technology. However, they have been shown to be quite capable of building powerful cannons and rifles. They have used explosives to fight the Forsaken in Silverpine Forest.