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Mechanical mechanics: The models, makes, and manufacturing of mechanized merchants and robotic repairmen

Brian Karasek


"Where's the coin box on this thing?"

Welcome to the latest in a series of lectures by Hoof & Horn Research & Development. These lectures explain, or attempt to explain, some of the ins and outs of Engineering. For advanced technicians and amateur tinkers alike, the finer points of Engineering can never be too often reviewed. Engineers will tell you: your life may just depend on it!

It happens to the best of us, in the best of situations: our armor breaks. Our ammo runs dry. Our reagent sack starts to feel a little light, and we're too far in a dungeon to make a run for rum, much less take a shopping break. Some dungeons have repair facilities, sure, but not everyone's made a good enough name with the Violet Eye, or Cenarion Expedition, or even the Broken of Terrokar, to be sure of a quick repair near a dungeon's entrance. Not to mention the times when the need for repair comes deep into a dungeon, far from the friendly smith at the entrance.

As with so many of life's problems, Engineering offers the solution as well as numerous contributory factors to the problem. Engineer 1st Class Flimsy is known to have told his students often that breaking things is the hallmark of an inquisitive Engineer. Some of his students are thought to have taken this a bit far. EFC Flimsy's whereabouts remain unknown. But among the things they, and we, have at our disposal to make up for the shortcomings of fragile armor and finite ammunition are the Field Repair Bots. Herein we will discuss the manufacture of the two models of repair bot, as well as what supplies can be obtained from them and what methods have been used to coerce money inserted into one back out.

Robot Roll Call: You Break It, You Buy It.

Two models of Repair bot exist, the 74A, learned in Blackrock Depths, and the 110G, whose schematic must be coerced out of demons in Blade's Edge mountains. Both models have several aspects in common. Deploying a Repair Bot functions similarly to a grenade: activating the device causes the Engineer to select a target for the bot to deploy to. Each model is stationary once deployed, and lasts for ten minutes before the motors fail and the repair bot collapses into useless detritus. Each model will serve to repair armor and weapon damage. They will also purchase the various extraneous gewgaws one might accumulate on a busy dungeon exploration. In addition to buying items and selling repairs, each model also offers some supplemental commerce options.

The lower grade model of Repair bot, the Field Repair Bot 74A, can be learned only in the dungeon of Blackrock Depths. The schematic for the 74A is printed on the very floor of the dungeon, where Golem Lord Argelmach stands, attended by his minions. This schematic can therefore only be learned by an Engineer willing and able to make the trip. Those Engineers who can operate a Flying Machine but have never learned the 74A plans will be relieved to know that the trip is quite reasonable to make at that level. The 74A model requires sixteen Thorium Bars and two Fused Wiring. This schematic will produce one Repair Bot 74A, which will fit nicely in a toolbox. In addition to repairs, the 74A offers basic Engineering supplies, as can be found from any number of organic vendors.

The higher grade model, the Field Repair Bot 110G, is learned from a schematic dropped by the Gan'arg Analyzers of Blade's Edge mountains. Engineers seeking this schematic must first find their way to the Ogri'la plateau of Blade's Edge Mountains, on the westernmost edge. Flying mounts and warlock summons will work to get you there, but intrepid field investigators have reported that dying at the base of the plateau will allow you to speak to a Spirit Healer on the plateau itself. Once there, the demons in possession of the schematic are easy to find and carry it fairly often. The 110G model, named, it is said, for the price of production, requires eight each Adamantite Bars and Handfuls of Fel Iron Bolts, as well as a Khorium Power Core. These components will produce five Repair Bot 110G models, which can be stored in a toolboxIn addition to repairs, the 110G model offers some basic Engineering supplies as well as the more commonly used reagents. Of particular note is the 110G's limited stock of unstable mana and health potions, which are generally snapped up by the first healer to meet the bot, if you're not careful.

So, Where IS The Coin Box On This Thing?
At this point, many of you reading this lecture are likely rubbing your hands together, thinking with glee of the untold fortune awaiting you inside the Repair Bot after twenty or more of your associates have just paid it to fix their gear. Those of you looking forward to a payday will need a refresher on Chief Engineer Geargrinder's famous "Fourth Law of Robotics:"

"A robot may not provide a service at a discount or profit, nor, through inaction, allow a service to be provided at a discount or a profit."
-Chief Engineer P. Geargrinder, M.E.G.A.

When asked about the first three such laws, Chief Engineer Geargrinder is uncharacteristically reticent, often muttering dark oaths to forgotten gods about the downfall of literacy in Azeroth these days. But to expand upon the Fourth Law, the Repair Bots of both models do not provide any income to their owner. When they expire, they are expired and none of the considerable gold inserted into them can be coerced out of them. As with many actual Engineers, the Repair Bots are rather tight fisted and cannot be convinced to share in their profit. Even pointing out the robot's ten minute lifespan and subsequently lowered need for a long term savings plan has no effect. Robots, it has been observed, are nearly as unreasonable as their creators, and are at times even more obstinate.

Many Engineers are hesitant or outright refuse to deploy a repair bot in anything less than a Heroic dungeon or in a raid. The components are expensive, the repair bots are consumable, and the Engineer ends up paying for not only the repairs but the means to buy them. Young Engineers just starting out are cautioned: the repair bot is among the most highly prized developments of Engineering to an Engineer intending to work in groups. No lesser profession allows the same function, and no one save an Engineer can open the door to instant, on- demand repair and vendor services.

It is advisable to the copperwise Engineer that you mention the repair bot at a time of need. Often someone will mention they need repairs, in the hopes that a kindly Engineer (some are known to exist) might volunteer the use of a Repair Bot of either model. At this point, if your coin purse is aching, you might mention that the repair bots aren't cheap to make, in the hopes that a kindly group (some are known to exist) might offer to chip in on the cost of replacing the bot. When it comes down to it, it is between the Engineer and his group. Many an Engineer has found it worthwhile to take a net loss in coin in exchange for a net gain of "a group of people who have new respect for Engineers."

Cleaning Up the Shop: Proper Tool Control Saves Lives
Many laypeople are unaware of the advantages provided by Engineering. This lecture offers some information on one of the chief appeals to the profession. No Engineer of skill to make a repair bot should be without one. Repair bots, as with most of Engineering's designs, are better to have and not need, than to need and not have. Remember, repair bots can make the difference between a called raid and a successful one. There are few better ways to introduce yourself to a group of strangers at an instance portal than to mention you've brought a repair bot in case it's needed. Having along the previously discussed Goblin Jumper Cables is another instance of this same phenomenon: make them glad you're an Engineer, and they might not notice when you debigulate them all by accident.

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