I know that we players tend to be pretty vocal about turning off MMO music at some point, usually due to extreme repetition. Unfortunately, that seems to leave a bad association with this music in our minds, and I don't feel that reputation is deserved. MMO scores can be just as good -- if not better -- than their counterparts in film or other video games.
So I've decided that every so often I'm going to devote a full Perfect Ten to sharing my favorite MMO music. I'm always open to suggestions, of course, so if you know of a track that you feel really should be in the next list, send me an email or leave it in the comments!
1. EVE Online -- Below the Asteroids
Some people swear up and down by EVE Online's mellow synth score, but for the most part, I feel it's pretty forgettable stuff -- maybe nice as background music, but nothing I choose to listen to. I'll make an exception for one track called Below the Asteroids because it really is a catchy, trippy tune that gets stuck in my mind-craw.
2. Runes of Magic -- Call for Heroes
OK, before you listen to this, I need you to do something for me. Crank your headphones or speakers way the heck up. Close your eyes. Hit play.
Done? Tell me you don't have goosebumps. It's a short piece, but dang it if it isn't one of the most epic slices of soundtrack I've ever heard in a game. It would make for awesome trailer music, wouldn't it?
3. World of Warcraft -- Slaughtered Lamb
I picked up the World of Warcraft tavern album a while back and really wasn't disappointed at having done so. WoW has a stellar soundtrack in general, but if you're looking for relaxing pieces that evoke a night in a friendly renaissance faire tavern, here you go.
All of the tracks are good, but I picked Slaughtered Lamb here because it probably evokes the most emotion in me. I just feel like I'm sitting at a table next to an open window, sipping ale and listening to the soft waves of the ocean nearby.
4. Dungeon Runners -- Rattletooth Theme
This is probably the oddest entry on this list, but I've never been able to put this track out of my head since first hearing it in NCsoft's now-defunct Dungeon Runners. Part gothic melody, part... er... rap, it's certainly unique. Love it. Miss the game.
5. Anarchy Online -- Spiritual Elysium
My main experience with Anarchy Online was a long stint in it Shadowlands expansion. The look, feel, and -- most importantly -- sound of this area are very distinctive and alien and unlike anything I've encountered on Rubi-Ka proper.
Spiritual Elysium is the track I'll always remember from the Shadowlands. It's a very laid-back piece with a hint of tribal drums and New Age sounds, and I could game to it forever.
6. Pirates of the Burning Sea -- Open Sea
If you like piratey music -- and I do! -- then Pirates of the Burning Sea is an audiophile's delight. Open Sea is a short but rousing piece that reminds me of the Pirates of the Caribbean flicks. Ahoy, matey!
7. Star Wars: The Old Republic -- Peace, The Jedi Consular
SWTOR's original score is fairly eclectic. Some of it is very much in the vein of classic Star Wars, while some of it is just weird. Peace, The Jedi Consular ping-pongs between the films' motifs and the game's own, creating something that hits all the right spots. It's a little regal, a little mysterious, and a little inspiring. I like it.
8. WildStar -- Justice Doesn't Always Wear a Badge
While WildStar isn't out yet, the studio's released a few tracks of its score. Justice is far and away my favorite, but it's all pretty good. This track blends a western sound with science-fiction; if you're familiar with Firefly or Serenity's score, you'd find this pretty similar. I can't wait to hear the entire score.
9. Lord of the Rings Online -- The Hollin Gate
I've highlighted this track before in my LotRO column, but I feel it deserves another mention. This comes from the Mines of Moria soundtrack, and it's probably the most mysterious and movie-like of all of LotRO's music. It actually reminds me a lot of James Horner's scores in some of the early Star Trek films, oddly enough.
10. Guild Wars: Eye of the North -- Tome of Rubicon
This is supposed to be the Dwarf theme, but it sounds so unlike anything Dwarfy that it's hard to think of it as such. Anyway, it's a short minute-and-a-half piece that contains Jeremy Soule's trademark horns, and that's always a delight. The heavy and light horns take turns before finally joining together in a flourishing finish.
So what scores should be included next?
Chances are you're already telling your computer monitor in no uncertain terms that we forgot a track or two. So let it out! Tell us in the comments, and maybe it'll make the next MMO Jukebox list!
Justin "Syp" Olivetti enjoys counting up to ten, a feat that he considers the apex of his career. If you'd like to learn how to count as well, check out The Perfect Ten. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.