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Music

Shroud of the Avatar preps PvP update and asks for player music submissions

Betas, Fantasy, PvP, Sandbox, Music, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar is ready to pull the trigger on Release 8 and the game's PvP system. Release 8 will come out next week and feature a massive host of PvP changes that have apparently gotten the dev team hooked. "The team's 30 minute PvP play sessions every morning are growing longer and longer as we're having too much fun to stop," the devs wrote.

Portalarium is also putting out a call to the community to help crowdsource Shroud of the Avatar's soundtrack. The team has a list compiled to guide player composers in creating and submitting their own music for the game.

Jukebox Heroes: Guild Wars Eye of the North's soundtrack

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Opinion, Jukebox Heroes, Music, Buy-to-Play

The final Guild Wars soundtrack not only took the first game out in style but instantly became one of the best of the series to date. I'm not willing to put it above Prophecies, but it's not too far behind, either. As a whole, it's a wonderful symphonic journey through new lands and new themes, and just about every track is quite listenable.

You can't deny that this is Guild Wars to its very core, as composer Jeremy Soule only adds on to the franchise's legacy rather than supplants it with a different direction. Even so, it represents a mastery that wasn't quite there in past albums. If I listened to this soundtrack without knowing its source, I would have pegged it as a major motion picture release rather than a video game with angry bears.

It was definitely a difficult score to pick a mere six examples from; I'd recommend that soundtrack enthusiasts listen through its entirety. For a Guild Wars 2 player, it's really interesting to go back and hear the early versions of tracks that Soule would later reprise for the sequel.

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Archlord 2 invites players to name soundtrack pieces

Betas, Fantasy, Contests, Free-to-Play, Music

Archlord 2
Archlord 2's soundtrack is not only out and available as a free download, but Webzen is asking players to title the 20 nameless pieces in time for the game's release.

The soundtrack by composer Cris Velasco is on SoundCloud and is available for a listen or a download. Players can check out the tracks and then, if inspired, they can submit one or more titles to go along with them. Webzen promised that when all 20 tracks get proper names, it will flip on the switch for a 20% bonus gold weekend in the game.

Listen to Guild Wars 2 Season 2's soundtrack now

Fantasy, Guild Wars 2, Music, Buy-to-Play

gw2
Were you intrigued -- tantalized, perhaps -- with the recent talk on Guild Wars 2's new orchestra-recorded soundtrack for the second season of the living world? Well now you can listen to a chunk of it, thanks to the studio and SoundCloud.

The team has posted six new tracks for the first episode of season two, including "The Fall of the Zephyrites" and "The Arid Sands." Check out ArenaNet's SoundCloud page to listen through them and let us know what you think!

Guild Wars 2 composer talks live orchestras and season two sounds

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Music, Buy-to-Play

If you're into MMO music, Guild Wars 2, or both, you'll want to have a look at the latest ArenaNet video that goes behind the scenes on the music production for season two of the game's "living world." The clip is hosted by composer Maclaine Diemer, who explains how working with a live orchestra enhances both the music and the gameplay experience.

"When you hear live music while you're playing, you feel it on a much more visceral level," Diemer says. "What we recorded matches the aesthetic already set in Guild Wars 2, and I also think that it stands on its own as something unique and fresh."

Click past the cut to watch the vid.

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Lion's Arch Lament dissected for Guild Wars 2 fans

Fantasy, Culture, Lore, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Music, Buy-to-Play

Nothing lasts forever.  Or revives forever.
The destruction of Lion's Arch formed the centerpiece of Guild Wars 2's first Living Story finale, an event with a big emotional impact for players who had grown accustomed to the city's presence. How do you summarize such a huge event? With music, of course. A new development blog on the official site details the creation of "Lion's Arch Lament," music that commemorates the destruction while at the same time walking through the history of the city in just a few moments.

The piece starts off with an homage to the music most strongly associated with Lion's Arch in the original Guild Wars, then ties in Scarlet's Theme and the city music from Guild Wars 2 to herald its return and destruction. If you're familiar with the game's music, you should give the post a read and listen to the song; it's likely to stir at least a few emotions about the city and its loss.

Jukebox Heroes: Dungeon Runners' soundtrack

Fantasy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Jukebox Heroes, Music

dungeon runners
Does anyone still remember Dungeon Runners? I do, at least. It was that quirky Diablo-style MMO from NCsoft that ran from 2007 to 2010, openly lampooning RPG and online gaming tropes while actually being pretty fun to play. I dipped in and out of it over the years, never being fully engrossed but appreciating its sense of humor -- and its soundtrack.

As Composer Tracy W. Bush put it in his interview with us a while back, "The music was a mish-mosh of straightforward Diablo-style dungeon crawly stuff in the exploration bits, but when it came to the boss fights, each of them was a specific sub genre of music. I did country and western, black metal, klezmer, an oompa loompa song, disco... I can't even remember them all. I had a blast."

I had a blast myself listening through the score, which lives on to this day, and have a selection of hand-picked tracks that I think nails the attitude that Dungeon Runners exuded.

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Lord of the Rings Online's Weatherstock returns this weekend

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Music

lotro
Weatherstock, the annual player-run music festival in Lord of the Rings Online, will be returning for its sixth appearance this weekend.

This year there will be two elements of the festival. The first is the Weatherstock Concert Series, which features longer sets leading up to the battle of the bands, i.e., Weatherstock itself. Ten player groups will perform for the crowd and compete against each other at the summit of Weathertop. Last year there were over 700 players in attendance.

Weatherstock VI will take place on the Landroval server this Saturday afternoon, June 14th. The Weatherstock schedule is up, as is a FAQ and a Twitter feed for important updates.

Jukebox Heroes: Guild Wars 2's living story soundtrack

Fantasy, Guild Wars 2, Jukebox Heroes, Music, Buy-to-Play

I'm going to make a bold statement here that might net me some haters, but here goes: I think that Guild Wars 2 is better off now that it's cast off Jeremy Soule and moved on to in-house composers. Soule's soundtrack was great in parts, but he's not the be-all, end-all of good video game music. And his company's unexplained decision to yank the soundtrack from its store (and not even offer a digital version) irks me beyond the telling of it. Good luck finding it!

So today I'm going to give tribute to the two men who have been forging ahead -- spectacularly, I might add -- with scoring Guild Wars 2's ongoing living story updates. Maclaine Diemer and Leif Chappelle have been whipping up a wide variety of tunes to go with the various story elements and events. To ArenaNet's credit, the studio has been posting these downloadable tracks for free on SoundCloud.

And while rumor has it that Diemer and Chappelle are already composing music for season two, I thought it'd be worthwhile to go back and share some of my favorites from their season one portfolio. I won't be dipping into Super Adventure Box, however, as we did that last year.

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The Think Tank: Listen to the music

Culture, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank, Music

Jupiter
When I logged into ultra-indie sandbox Villagers & Heroes a few weeks ago to explore its latest patch and arrival on Steam, the first thing that slammed into me was Jupiter. No, really: Holst's Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity, one of the iconic movements of The Planets suite that's been inspiring composers for a hundred years. I just wasn't expecting to hear it verbatim during character creation. It's... well, it's jolly and strangely annoying in a game context, even for someone who appreciates a good Holst-inspired game soundtrack.

For this week's Think Tank, I polled the Massively writers about their in-game music preferences. Do they turn it off? Do they listen faithfully? Are they raiding to Bieber? I bet they are.

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Jukebox Heroes: A civil chat with Dawngate's Jeff Broadbent

Fantasy, Interviews, Free-to-Play, MOBA, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Dawngate
Massively: Today we have tea, crumpets, and the ever-so-delightful company of Composer Jeff Broadbent. Mr. Broadbent is here to talk about his work on the score for the upcoming MOBA Dawngate. So is working in the online video game world becoming a habit for you, going from PlanetSide 2 to Dawngate?

Jeff Broadbent: It does seem the online video games are becoming the norm! I am actually working on a couple of new online games also at the moment. The interesting thing about the game market today is that there are many different platforms including mobile, downloadable, online, and console, so it's quite diversified.

The Dawngate gig came about through audio director Caleb Epps. I was staying in touch with Caleb, and he let me know about a new project he was working on. He had me create a couple of demo tracks for the game, and based on that material, I was given the opportunity to score the game.

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Rebuild Lion's Arch in Guild Wars 2's Festival of the Four Winds

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Launches, Patches, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Promotions, Music, Buy-to-Play

GW2
Guild Wars 2 officially launches in China this coming Thursday, but folks in the rest of the world have had little reason to get excited... until now. ArenaNet and Chinese publisher KongZhong have just announced a global in-game festival to celebrate the launch, one we'll get to enjoy ourselves come next week. The Festival of the Four Winds arrives on May 20th for North American and European players, who will "get the opportunity to help rebuild the beloved city of Lion's Arch that was destroyed by Scarlet [Briar] in Season 1." Future game updates will be "synchronized" across the eastern and western regions so that they launch within days of each other.

We've embedded the (brief but beautiful!) teaser trailer for the festival after the break, and you can listen to Chinese singer/songwriter Jike Juan Yi's version of iconic Guild Wars 2 musical piece Fear Not This Night on KongZhong's promotional website.

[Source: ArenaNet press release]

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Jukebox Heroes: Elder Scrolls Online's soundtrack

Fantasy, Opinion, The Elder Scrolls Online, Jukebox Heroes, Music, Subscription

The Elder Scrolls soundtrack is pretty well-known and highly regarded, even outside of our tiny field of video game music enthusiasts. That's what you get when you have smash hit games and a conductor who knows what he's doing. Jeremy Soule helmed the musical side of the franchise from Morrowind through Skyrim, but with the MMO, that streak is broken. Soule returned only for the main theme and then headed off for more SOEish pastures, leaving Brad Derrick (Warhammer Online) and Malukah to carry on the legacy with Elder Scrolls Online.

I think that they did a fine job. It took me a while to listen through the 47-track album (and how awesome is it that it got released?), and afterward I let it stew in my brain for a bit. During a discussion with friends, I realized that while it's beautiful, there's little here that really pops out the way that past Elder Scrolls scores did. I think the music here would do a great job to enhance the gameplay experience, but on its own, it is pleasant and often lukewarm.

It's also a soundtrack that I could play from beginning to end without it grating on my nerves, which is another testament to how it goes down the ear canals smoothly. There's a good sense of cohesiveness and atmosphere, even if it lacks the rabble-rousing tracks that I was hoping to hear. Let's dig in!

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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls soundtrack available on iTunes

Fantasy, Expansions, News Items, Diablo III, Music

Come on, baby, don't fear the reaper.
Sure, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls has the perfect soundtrack when you're playing Diablo III. But what can you do when you're not playing the game but you're just out reaping souls on your own time? You can't hum the songs; you'll just look like an idiot. Well, don't despair, because you can now purchase the expansion's soundtrack on iTunes and forever have access to the perfect reaping music in your day-to-day life.

The full soundtrack can be purchased for $9.99 and contains 22 tracks with a total running time of just over an hour. Clips are available on the official page in case you just want a couple of tunes and aren't quite sure what they're called; at 22 tracks, though, it's almost more economical to just buy the whole thing.

Destiny parts ways with composer, growing 'close to shipping'

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, MMOFPS, Music, Destiny

Destiny
Destiny Composer Marty O'Donnell was either fired or peacefully left Bungie last week, depending on whether you take his or the studio's testimony on the event. In either case, the fact remains that O'Donnell is no longer part of the studio.

Bungie Chief Operating Officer Pete Parsons refused to comment on the specifics of the decision but said that the game is still on track for release. He said that O'Donnell's contributions will remain part of the soundtrack, which is also being worked on by a few others.

"We have a fantastic team. We're pretty close to shipping. There's a lot of polish left to do, lots of tweaking and tuning, but a lot is already complete," Parsons said to Eurogamer.

Bungie claims that the studio and O'Donnell parted as "friends" while the composer tweeted yesterday that he was "terminated without cause."

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