Now that I've given you no reason to keep reading, please keep reading. It's an unsettling score that's heavy on discordant tracks and murky atmosphere but lacks a lot of memorable, earworm-worthy tunes. Plenty of it is done with a heavy-handed synthesizer in the mode of scoring a Saturday night B-movie. The Dungeons & Dragons moniker deserves better than this, I've always believed.
But I'm not one to throw out an entire score when there are a few redemptive pieces within. And amid the minefield of moody music, there are a few tracks that rise to being quite listenable indeed. In fact, much of the recent work done for the game's two expansions have clearly done away with slam-dancing on the keys in exchange for an honest attempt at a good score.
Listen for yourself; the studio's made 16 tracks available for free downloads. So let's see what makes it to the top of the DDO pile, shall we?
1. Main Theme
DDO's main theme is neither the best nor the worst that I've heard on the MMO circuit. It's memorable without being catchy, a mix of a somber death march and bardic strumming. I've been going back and forth on whether it sounds "D&D," if that's a thing. So much of this score is unrelentingly bleak that the main theme is practically upbeat in comparison, but it doesn't exactly broadcast a sense of adventure or the strange world of Eberron to me.
2. Eveningstar 1
As I said in the intro, the music of this game has taken a distinct uptick with the recent expansions. I mean, compare this pastoral melody to... whatever travesty happened during the composition of the House themes.
Eveningstar is dreamy and welcoming, a little sad in the middle but achingly sincere. I was as surprised as anyone to find it in the middle of this soundtrack and would like to give praise where it's due. Perhaps it's Turbine's affiliation with Middle-earth, but wouldn't this sound perfect as a Hobbit theme?
3. Tavern 1
In a game with scads of pubs, bars, inns, and watering holes, there's a higher-than-average need for good tavern music. DDO comes through pretty adequately in this department, although my favorite of the bunch is this first track. It's stripped-down simplicity: the tapping of a drum and a guitar. But that simplicity allows the melody to come out without any distractions, and it's far better off for it.
4. Pirate 3
There's a disproportionate amount of pirate/sea shanty music in this MMO compared to most. Not that I'm complaining; I like a good shanty as much as any hairy-chested mammal does. This pirate track is another simplistic jig
5. Untold Truth
This is another expansion track and probably my favorite DDO tune out of the bunch. I heard it probably 35 times in a row when I logged in several months ago to fiddle with a new level 15 character, and it didn't get old or annoying at all. The rising bubbly intro is the hook that caught my ear and gives this an alien feel. It's like someone is plucking softly and quickly on an electric guitar to offset the traditional tune playing out, and the mix meshes well together.
6. Kobold Still Hates You
what is this i don't even
MMOs aren't just about looks; they also have great soundtracks that often go unnoticed. Heroes don't stand for that! Massively's Jukebox Heroes examines game soundtracks and features the best tunes to share and discuss. Your DJ for the hour is Justin Olivetti, and the request line is open!