Music in MMOs

January 13, 2010

I had this thought while playing EVE Online last night, as I was fiddling with the jukebox that kept stopping up on me: I love in-game music. Even though there’s technically no sound in space (at least, not any that we can physically hear with our ears) I couldn’t bear playing the game in silence. I just had to have that ambient music in the background to fully enjoy myself, not to mention that EVE also happens to feature a top-notch soundtrack.

I know there are players out there who completely mute the music in the games they are playing. To each their own, I guess, but I personally can’t understand that at all. Some of the most epic scores I have ever heard are from games. When done well, a soundtrack adds to the immersion experience, far from taking from it. I notice that a lot of times while browsing reviews and opinions about my favorite games, very few of them ever mention the music. While I care about things like graphics, game content and combat mechanics as much as the next gamer, music matters to me too. From the jolly old tavern jig to the ominous war drums, the music that fits a particular mood in an MMO (or any type of game, really) can make a huge difference. Take Dragon Age: Origins, for example. The music from this game sent pleasant tingles down my spine from beginning to literally the very end as the credits rolled to the DJ Killa remix of “I Am The One”.

Holy crap, are the humans elitist!

When it comes to MMOs, I can still remember the feeling I got the first time I ran through the gates of Stormwind in World of Warcraft and this started playing in the background. This was the capital of the humans; you were supposed to feel overwhelmed by its size and majesty, and the music reflected that perfectly. My human warrior never felt more puny as I took my first steps ever past the statues of great Alliance heroes that lined both sides of the path into the city.

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