For whatever reason, Elves bring out the magic and talent in MMO composition. Elven themes are quite often among the best that a particular OST has to offer, particularly if you like airy, magical, ethereal tracks that are big on imagination and almost devoid of percussion. I've been noting the trend of excellent Elf music for years and figured I might as well devote a week to it here before going back to my Elf-bashing ways.
1. ArcheAge -- Elven Theme
I haven't touched on ArcheAge's soundtrack yet, but that will be remedied soon enough. In the meanwhile, just gasp in unbelief at how incredible this track is. It's definitely Elven in tone but manages to elevate itself to something more than a mere racial theme. The whispered portions in the background give it an aura of mystery and intensity, especially as it builds.
2. World of Warcraft -- Teldrassil
I remember that when this game first released, I had non-Night Elf friends who would make a very long journey to Teldrassil just to listen to the music and drink in the beauty of the ultimate tree fort. Like many Elf tracks, it feels alien and is populated with female vocals, all swirling together to tell a story of magic communing in nature.
3. Lord of the Rings Online -- The Golden Wood
After a very long journey through Moria, LotRO players emerge into one of the most beautiful forests in the game. And it's here in Lothlorien that they hear The Golden Wood, which almost sounds to me like an Elf hymn. It's beautiful in a very solemn way and a track that I could hear over and over again.
4. Runes of Magic -- Elven Theme
This is a very misleading track. While it begins in typical Elven fashion with soft music and female vocals, at 0:39 it abruptly transitions to an epic fantasy march. Maybe these are fired-up Elves from the sound of it. Not that it's a bad thing at all! It just kind of breaks the running theme that I had going on here. Thanks a lot, Mr. Composer!
5. Vanguard -- Elven Forest A
Harps and flutes, flutes and harps -- that's all you need for a good Elf hoe-down. This track isn't strong on a memorable melody, but it's definitely relaxing in the way that many Vanguard tunes are. From the sound of it, Elves are probably big Enya fans. Perhaps she's one of them!
6. Elsword Online -- Rena's Theme
Let's close out with our patented diversion from the norm with Rena's Theme, aka Hope of the Elves. It's not just different from the others in that it's devoted to a single (Elven) character instead of an entire race, but that it sounds so much like a tune from a classic 16-bit-era RPG. While simple and repetitive, it's just catchy enough to get picked up by your brain as an earworm.
I've touched on several Elf tunes in previous columns, so if you want to keep the good times going, check them out:
- High Elf Theme from TERA
- Kelethin from EverQuest
- Kelethin from EverQuest II
- Unicorn's Rest from Lineage II