Jukebox Heroes: MMORPG music for a haunted Halloween

You simply can't have a good and proper Halloween without a perfect soundtrack to back you up. Sure, you could just pop in one of those tired old sound effects cassette tapes (kids: ask your history teacher what cassette tapes are) and call it a day. Me? I prefer some genuinely atmospheric tunes straight from the games I love.

Today I'm going to put together a mix tape for your darkest dreams and your silliest spooks. It's Halloween, done MMO-style, and the only way to get to the dawn is to dive deep into the terrors of the night with gleeful abandon. Take my hand and walk with me, and don't worry if you start hearing voices murmuring just behind your left ear. That means they like you.

Final Fantasy XIV: The Haunted Manor Theme (Up at Dawn)

Oh, we're not going to get too unnerving, at least not at the start. Final Fantasy XIV's 2016 All Saint's Wake theme skews more to the silly than the scary, with sound effects and a cheery (even magical) melody.

And no, your ears aren't deceiving you: This is definitely an homage of sorts to the famous Addams Family tune. The snaps and harpsichord are a (ahem) dead giveaway.

Ultima Forever: Despise the Light, Live in Shadows

Of course, if you want something that won't make you stand up and do a jig, then you can always pop over to Ultima Forever. EA's now-canceled mobile spin-off had a horrible business model but, surprisingly, a flat-out terrific soundtrack. While Despise the Light, Live in Shadows is far from my favorite on this OST, it does fit the theme of an eerie, unsettling Halloween experience perfectly.

RuneScape: The Reaper's House

Even the Grim Reaper deserves a theme song, don't you agree? RuneScape thinks so, at least, and created this goofy track in which singers usher you into a very unwelcoming manor. It's in the spirit of Disney's Haunted Mansion, a gleeful embrace of Death with the hopes of robbing him of his fearful aspect. It's also pretty catchy.

WildStar: A Very Dominion Shade's Eve

This track is a madcap dance through the delightfully devilish holiday. I like how it sounds a little muffled and unclear, as if you were evesdropping on the spirit world and happened to hear the inhabitants striking up a band tune. Careful listeners can pluck out the Dominion's main theme tucked somewhere in this web of insanity.

World of Warcraft: Brill Tavern

This short tavern tune seems to stick out in the minds of many, including myself, as one of the more unique and atmospheric tracks. The jangling of bells is chaotic and unnerving, suggesting a frantic attempt to recreate music by creatures who might be completely insane.

If you want a fuller and more soothing Undead music experience, you can listen to the other tavern tracks that the composers added to the game as well.

Pirate101: Cool Ranch Haunted Tavern

Speaking of tavern tunes, how about this quite unsettling track? The combination of an out-of-tune piano, distortions to the music, and a muffled filter make it sound like you're hearing this through a tub of water. The effect is a theme that sounds like something out of a nightmare that you can't escape. Neato!

MMOs are meant to be heard as well as seen, and chances are that music ties your memories to these games more than you might realize. Every two weeks Jukebox Heroes listens through a game soundtrack and picks out the highlights to share and discuss. And if you like this column, then don't miss the author's MMO music podcast, Battle Bards!
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