The death knights were changing... being released from the powers of the lich king and returning to their previous ancestral homes the death knights re-discovered emotions and desires that had been long-since supressed by the powers of the Lich King...
They redisconvered traditions long forgotten, their desire to entertain and to be entertained... in short they rediscovered their desire to play.
And so came to be the game known as Gnome gripping (or gnome grabbing). The exact origins of the game are unknown but quiet rumors have it that the game was invented by an orcish deathknight sometime during the great exodus to Northrend.
A few records remain from this troubled time detailing the general rules of the game and today we will take a look at these most hallowed of documents.
1. Game Objectives
The objective of the game is to achieve the highest score in a 5 minute timespan or to have the highest score at the time of the 'death' of the last ball.
2. The players
This game is designed for 2 or (preferably) more Death Knight players. Ideally 4+ death Knights should be involved. Non-death knights are not permitted to play however may serve as arbiters or scorekeepers. Death knights participating in the game should be about the same level.
3. The Game Board
Any generally open mob-free areas can be used. The various arena's scattered around the world are ideally suited for a game of gnome grabbing but outdoor pvp areas are ideally suited to introduce balls into the game. Borders should be defined of what is inside the game-board and what is not.
A death Knight can score 1 point by succesfully 'deathgripping' the ball and 2 points for killing the ball.
5. The Ball
Due to their aerodynamic properties gnomes are ideally suited as balls. In absentia of a gnome dwarves may be used. There are recorded instances of gnome Death Knights rebelling against this vile sport and using Tauren's as the official ball thus introducing the less popular variant to gnome grabbing called 'burger fling'. The ball should be of equal or higher level than the lowest level death knight in the game.
6. The rules of engagement
The death knights should position themselves spread out over the playing field. At no time may a death knight approach another Death Knight's melee range. Death Knights are otherwise free to roam the playing field.
Ranged abilities may be used to attempt to acquire the ball but if the ball dies to this ranged ability only the DK in melee range of the ball is awarded points.
Each death Knight may use death grip whenever they choose and may use all their abilities provided the ball is within melee range. Each succesful deathgrip awards the Death Knight a single point. Destroying the ball yields 2 points.
Points should be individually tallied by an independant scorekeeper (note that warlocks should not be appointed scorekeepers due to their tendency to lie... a lot). Within a small game score can be kept by the individual death knights.
Any and all abilities including non-dk abilities such as engineering trinkets or tailoring nets may be used in the game.
7. Obtaining a ball
Obtaining a ball can be a challenge in itself. Any method may be used to lure an unsuspecting ball to the game however the records show that a few pre-defined tactics seem to have a high level success.
a) Stand in front of Ironforge and yell: 'lone flagged death knight thinks all of y'all suck, come get me'. (Method may result in an overabundance of 'balls' being introduced to the game. Note that screaming 'bur' may be just as effective as solid translations to common are not available.
b) send a low level character to 'bait' a ball
c) ambush a ball in it's travels and begin the game at the ball's location.
Due to the immense popularity of the game interference may come from many sources. In case of interference by additional 'balls' the balls are automatically considered part of the game and can be used to accumulate additional points. Mobs of any sorts are not considered balls and do not yield points but are considered in-game obstacles to be killed or not killed as desired.
The game does not end with death. However no points can be accumulated outside of the designated playing area. Players are encouraged to return to the designated playing area as soon as possible to resume the game. The game continues as long as there is a living death knight on the playing field (living in the broadest sense of the word).
10. The game ends
The game automatically ends after 5 minutes (anything longer would be considered grieving) or with the death of the last ball in-game. Each ball must be given the opportunity to escape after this 5 minute timespan. New balls may be used to extend the game beyond the 5 minute limit (see ball-boy variant rule). The game also ends if the ball manages to get away (i.e. cannot be recovered by any means) or if all death knights have died / left the playing field. There must be 1 player (not the scorekeeper) alive on the playing field at all times in order for the game to continue.
After the game it is traditional to /salute your oponents and say 'GGGG' which loosely translates into: 'that was one good game of gnome gripping'.
The records show a few specific variants but due to the nature of the game the amount of modifications possible seems endless.
1. Team Ball
Death Knights split into equally sized teams. Team members accumulate points for their respective teams. An independant (non-warlock) scorekeeper is recommended.
During time of ball scarcity a mob of equal or higher level may be used. The mob should be 'elite' to prevent untimely death of the mob. Other mobs are still not considered worth points.
3. Vicious ball
This optional rule states that in case of the death knight dying he/she loses 1 point. In case of the ball killing the death knight the DK loses 2 points.
4. Ball boy
A death Knight is automatically awarded a point for introducing a new ball. This point is awarded even if there is already one or more balls in the game.
5. Tactical ball
Death Grip and killing the ball now yields an equal amount of points (1).
The game is played as normal but the ball may not be killed. Killing the ball costs the DK 2 points.
Side notes: The mob ball games work because of aggro mechanics because it is actually possible to generate enough threat to have the mob return to you even after another dk deathgrips the mob. It however comes highly recommended to use a proper gnome ball since they have a mind of their own and can often call in additional balls thus extending the game (or not depending on how many extra balls come in).
Trust me when I say this works a hell of a lot better with more DK's due to the fairly long cooldown on death grip.