You guys remember the What If game, right, where Anne Stickney and I go back and forth on concocting a scenario for an expansion built around specific lore figures? Last time, Anne gave us Garona Halforcen, and ended up lobbing me Gelbin Mekkatorque. On the surface, Gelbin Mekkatorque is perhaps the most absurd choice for an expansion-defining villain yet. People like Velen, Shandris Feathermoon, or Alexstrasza may be unlikely, but they're at least active. Gelbin hasn't taken any significant action since the abortive reclamation of Gnomeregan. It's easy to forget just how astonishingly brilliant Gelbin actually is. This is the mind that invented the mechanostrider, that designed the Deeprun Tram, that built the first prototype of the now-infamous Dwarven Siege Engine.
Yet, despite his intelligence and the love the gnomes bear him (for his is an elected position, and the fact that Gelbin has held it despite his people's exile from their home city is evidence of their regard for him) Gelbin suffers greatly from his failures. His failure to protect Gnomeregan from the troggs, his failure to understand what his friend Sicco Thermaplugg was really up to and thus prevent the loss of his people's great city, and his failure to reclaim the city from Thermaplug over the past years since the Third War have all weighed heavily upon him.
Let us look now upon the slow transformation of gnomish society and consider that it might be too slow for the gnome who invented the fastest tram in the world.