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Music

Jukebox Heroes: Hearthstone's soundtrack

Fantasy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Jukebox Heroes, Music, Hearthstone

Hearthstone
A new Blizzard game is a reason for soundtrack lovers everywhere to celebrate because if there's one thing this studio does well (other than take goofy races very seriously), it's creating incredible scores for its games. Even though Hearthstone is a smaller title with a smaller score, I welcomed it nevertheless.

Composers Peter McConnell, Jason Hayes, and Eric Dodds clearly had a lot of fun creating the whimsical, relaxing score for this game, and I must say that the music is perfectly ideal for the material. It hearkens back to the many tavern themes from World of Warcraft without being a complete copycat.

You can actually download the entire soundtrack for free on the Hearthstone official site, but before you do that, why not listen to my favorite picks from the score?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best 'ding'?

MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Music

WildStar
Unless you're into sandboxy skill-based MMORPGs, the actual process of leveling up is probably an important part of whatever themepark you're playing. WildStar has been jeered at for its over-the-top level-up animation. EverQuest's ding is infamous; the jarring "chonnggggg" of it still haunts me, and some clever modder even made a plugin to add it to Skyrim. On the other end of the spectrum is Guild Wars 2, in which I frequently overlook the fact that I've leveled up at all because the cues are relatively unobtrusive.

What do you guys think is the best MMORPG "ding" of all time?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #10-1

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Lineage 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Ultima Online, LEGO Universe, Runes of Magic, Miscellaneous, Firefall, Jukebox Heroes, Music

We're finally here: my top 10 MMO theme tracks. I anticipate that out of all of the weeks, this will be the most controversial, since not only am I proclaiming the 10 best, but you'll realize which of your favorite games I've left out of the top 40 entirely.

A final reminder as to my self-imposed rules for this list: I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So there were no points added or subtracted based on my love of the game. I'm counting down the best music, period.

If you missed earlier parts of this series, check out themes #40-31, #30-21, and #20-11. Otherwise, hit that continue button and get listening already!

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Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #20-11

Age of Conan, Darkfall, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Allods Online, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Defiance, Jukebox Heroes, Dragon's Prophet, Music

SWG
We're growing ever closer to my top picks for MMO theme songs, but we're not quite at the end yet. This week we are on to the third part of our Top 40 MMO main themes countdown. To repeat my self-imposed rules for this list: I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So there were no points added or subtracted based on my love of the game. I'm counting down the best music, period.

If you missed earlier parts of this series, check out themes #40-31 and #30-21. Otherwise, hit that continue button and get listening already!

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Composer Jeremy Soule reiterates EverQuest Next exclusivity [Updated]

Fantasy, Guild Wars, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, The Elder Scrolls Online, Music

EQN
Composer Jeremy Soule won't be going back to Tyria, as he reminded fans today that he has signed a contract to exclusively create MMO music for EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next Landmark.

On his Facebook page, Soule responded to a fan's query about his future projects: "No, I won't be returning to Guild Wars. EverQuest has an exclusive with me for the future projects that involve MMOs. [Guild Wars] was a good experience over many years. As with all good things, it had to come to an end."

Soule was the main composer for Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. He has also contributed to The Elder Scrolls Online main theme but will not be doing any other music for that title.

[Thanks to Bogotter for the tip!]

[Update 3/12/2014: Soule's agent has contacted us to clarify that his exclusivity to the EverQuest games is lime-limited and is unrelated to his abbreviated work on ESO. We may yet see him return to the Elder Scrolls franchise in the future!]

The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best soundtrack?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Music

GW
As the resident MMO music nut here at Massively (but not the only one, oh no), I spend probably more time than is healthy listening through soundtracks and hunting down pieces of music that ears have not heard in years.

I've got my favorites: The Guild Wars and World of Warcraft albums are a no-brainer, but I'm equally partial to Runes of Magic and Lineage II as well. If I have to pick a "best" out of the lot, my brain shuts down, I panic, and I grab the first Hello Kitty Online folder I see.

So I'll leave it up to you all: Which MMO has the best soundtrack?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #30-21

Aion, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, Free Realms, Mabinogi, Wizard101, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, The Elder Scrolls Online, Jukebox Heroes, Age of Wushu, Music

GW2
We're back with our second part of our Top 40 MMO main themes countdown, this time digging into the middle of the pack. To repeat my self-imposed rules for this list: I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So there were no points added or subtracted based on my love of the game; I'm counting down the best music, period.

If you missed the first part, check out themes #40-31. Otherwise, hit that continue button and get listening already!

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The Daily Grind: Have you created any pro-quality MMO fan content?

Sci-Fi, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Sandbox, Music, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen Retaliator concept art
I spent part of the weekend listening to Star Citizen's blowaway-badass unofficial soundtrack. It's unofficial because award-winning composer Pedro Camacho has been tapped to score Cloud Imperium's space sim sandbox opus for realz. Fortunately, though, that hasn't stopped an enterprising group of musicians from creating their own pro-quality digital album and releasing it for free on the SC forums.

What about you, Massively readers? Have you created any noteworthy fan content for your favorite game?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Get down with free World of Tanks and World of Warplanes soundtracks

Historical, Real-Life, MMO Industry, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, World of Tanks, World of Warplanes, Music

Music sets the mood, and now you can get in a World of Tanks or World of Warplanes mood wherever and whenever you want. Wargaming.net has released the original soundtrack for both games, and fans can download a free copy for their favorite devices from the official sites, Google Music, or the iTunes store. To grab yours and start jamming out, visit one of the following links:

For WoT: For WoWP: [Source: Wargaming press release]

The Elder Scrolls Online explores the creation of its music

Fantasy, Video, Previews, News Items, Consoles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Music, Subscription

Anyway, here's Wonderwall.
Music plays a major role in setting the mood of any game. Sure, it might not be what makes or breaks The Elder Scrolls Online, but it would be difficult to get into the feel of epic adventure if the game's soundtrack were played entirely on harmonicas and vuvuzuelas. The latest development blog on the official site explains how the game's music was developed, how it was recorded, and what you can expect from the experience.

Brad Derrick and Rik Schaffer handled the composition of the in-game score, experimenting with a variety of different methods for delivering the songs. At one point the game featured a system that changed the soundtrack measure by measure based on context cues, but that proved unworkable in the long run; instead, the music shifts to a variety of pieces depending on gameplay, weather, and the like, with unifying themes in each environment. Click on past the break for a sample of the orchestral recording, as well as one of the bardic songs performed by the singer Malukah.

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Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #40-31

Asheron's Call, Dark Age of Camelot, Opinion, RuneScape, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter, City of Steam, Jukebox Heroes, Music

RuneScape
MMO main themes hold the potential to be some of the most powerful and magical pieces of music, partly because we associate them with particular games more than anything else. A great theme will dredge up intense memories or euphoria by the third note, and I see composers putting in their all with many of these themes.

A long time ago I did an MMO theme countdown of 20 tracks, but since then I've heard a lot more and have wanted to do the list all over again. So this week in Jukebox Heroes, we're kicking off a countdown of the top 40 MMO themes -- in my opinion, of course. I listened to over 150 themes and spent hours ranking them to create this list.

Because these choices are bound to be a little controversial and stir up debate (which is encouraged!), I set down a few rules that I wanted to share here. I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So no points added or subtracted based on the love of the game; I'm counting down the best music, period. Let's see what numbers 40 through 31 have in store for us!

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Jukebox Heroes: Allods Online's soundtrack

Opinion, Allods Online, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Allods Online
I'm particularly excited about this week's journey through MMO music because we're going to touch on one of those scores that doesn't get nearly enough of the respect it should. Like Runes of Magic's excellent OST, Allods Online's music is largely overlooked because the game itself isn't treated as a "serious" or "original" title. But one shouldn't be so quick to throw out the soundtrack with the bathwater (that is both messy and noisy!); Allods Online has several top-notch tracks that should be recognized no matter what you may think of the game.

Composers Mark Morgan (Fallout, Planescape: Torment) and Vladislav Isaev (Prime World) collaborated on the large project. "The music in Allods Online combines lots of different elements and styles," they said in a 2009 interview. "These range from dark ambient and ethnic music, symphonies and rock music, as well as various industrial noises. Some tracks in the game retain a Russian melody spirit combined with high a quality production and its own unique sound."

I think it's the Russian flair that sets this apart from being yet another fantasy soundtrack. Anything different and yet still catchy is welcome at my dinner table. Let's partake, shall we?

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Jukebox Heroes: Elf music

World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Vanguard, Runes of Magic, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Jukebox Heroes, Music

LotRO
As probably many of you know, I am no fan of the Elven menace. I won't rehash the reasons n this space, but I mention that because I do try to be a fair man. When I'm not trying to eradicate any pointy-eared immortal know-it-all tree-hugger in sight, I have been known to appreciate the Elves' musical culture. That doesn't make me a hypocrite. It just gives me slight pause before ganking the next Drizzt or Legolas.

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.

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Jukebox Heroes: Free Realms' soundtrack

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

Free Realms
There's something about the announcement of a game's closure that draws tons of interest to that MMO, the type of interest that it frankly needed long before now, not a few minutes too late. Even so, I had Free Realms on my to do list for a while now and figured that spending an hour with its score was something that needed to be done.

Free Realms had had a lot of fingers in its musical pie, including those belonging to Tracy W. Bush, Atli Örvarsson, David Raiklen, and Aaron Kaplan. As a score, it's very reminiscent of The Sims franchise's soundtracks: whimsical, childlike, and quite light on pounding percussion. The many minigames and themed zones probably demanded a good variety of motifs to be developed.

It's a very good score overall although not as wide on variety as I would typically like. Let's give this game the musical send-off it deserves!

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Jukebox Heroes: Firefall's soundtrack

Sci-Fi, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Firefall, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Firefall
There's something about militaristic science-fiction shooters that brings out the piano in the composer, isn't there? That's what I was thinking when I first heard one of the Firefall themes. Not that the track was bad, just that it made me wonder why these simple piano themes have been linked to such games. Oh, it's probably because of Halo, but I'd like to think that there are greater reasons than that.

So this week we're going to be taking a crash course on the Firefall soundtrack. As far as I know, composers Michael Bross and Boon Sim's score isn't available to buy or download anywhere, so the avid video game score collector is going to have to do a little digital yoga to coax those files out of the library. I think it's worth hunting around for it, as Firefall's music is an obvious labor of love and a desire to create a quality product.

"Initially, we experimented with something that was mostly synth-driven and atmospheric," Bross said in an interview, "but then there was a desire from the team to have something that leaned toward the orchestral. Over time, though, we settled into something that combined both orchestral and modern elements that lend very well to an epic but atmospheric feel."

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