Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #24-19

What are the best and most popular MMO theme songs of all time? A couple of weeks ago I posed this question to the Massively OP community and encouraged fans to submit their own list of music themes in response. We saw a healthy amount of email votes and comment nominations since then, and I was able to compile a nice list of the top 24 MMORPG themes from it.

There were several surprises, at least to me, in the final results. I thought some games would’ve gotten more nods, while others seemed to come out of nowhere to demand a spot on the list. Each of the themes on this list was put out there by at least two fans, which is why we’re going to start with number 24. I’m thinking we might have an honorable mentions column as a post-script, but we’ll see how it goes.

Today we will begin our countdown to number one, looking at your favorite MMO themes with my own take on each. Let’s get started!

24. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Clash of Destiny is a very heavy and imperialistic theme that doesn’t make for “fun” listening, although it is certainly memorable and melodramatic. The opening strains got me perhaps more excited than I should’ve been for the rest of the track. If you’re into a cross-blend of the Imperial March and Duel of the Fates from the movies, this might be your thing. I just miss the less serious, more high adventure tone of the classic Star Wars theme than what we get here.

23. Anarchy Online

This was the first big surprise of the countdown for me, because I kind of assumed I was the only one who liked Anarchy Online’s ambient synth approach. Apparently not! This track is supremely relaxing with a touch of mystery and absolutely perfect for the game in question.

“I’ll include Anarchy Online’s main theme,” wrote Zen Dadaist, “even though technically the launcher didn’t have one, and these days its silent until you load up a character or go into creation.”

22. Black Desert

I feel that newer games are at more of a disadvantage in voting scenarios such as this, since they haven’t has as long a time to cultivate that nostalgia factor or as large of a listener base. Still, it’s great to see Black Desert’s theme make the chart, as it quite adequately serves to get the listener excited as it gradually builds up into a rip-roaring crescendo of adventurous spirit.

“Very rousing and epic,” Zen Dadist said, “very motivational to go off into the world and kick all sorts of backside. Pity the game itself bored me after a week”

21. ArcheAge

I’ve never been all that impressed with ArcheAge’s soundtrack as a whole, although there were a few gems worth mining the OST. The theme here (character selection) is dreamy, with a heavy element of female vocals and choir. The percussion makes it vibrant and makes me think of Pacific islander music. Really good stuff and a solid entry.

20. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

I’ve always been partial to this theme. First of all, just listen to that violin! It sounds so crisp and vibrant, I want to go sailing out to look for untamed lands as a result. There are elements of Final Fantasy-style music going on here, but for the most part Vanguard’s theme offers up a meaty, original, and stirring melody that sticks in the head for a long while after hearing it.

19. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

I suspect that one’s preference for a WoW main theme is largely dependent on when that player first started playing this MMO. While I will still exalt the original theme as being the best (obviously), all of the expansions have their own take and offer up interesting variations. The Burning Crusade mixes the exotic and magical with the dour, taking us back to the long-ago times of… 2007? Was it really that long ago? We are OLD, people.

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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11 Comments on "Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #24-19"

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Zen Dadaist

Some of my picks made it! Woo! Totally not listening to the embedded AO track at work right now… nope!

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Loopy

RIP Vanguard :(

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Phubarrh

Man, that Anarchy Online music transports me.

threeknee
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threeknee

I’m sad I missed the vote >.<
That's a rather low quality version of the Burning Crusade theme. This one's better: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTnWoMl0Jew

nvidia
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nvidia

Always loved the Vanguard theme. You can tell it was EQ-inspired, and rightly so. Vanguard will always be the real EQ2 to me.

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Rottenrotny

I really enjoyed the Burning Crusade music.
I remember going to the midnight release, picking up my copy then literally running home to install.
Once I got into the game I made a Blood Elf character and was so impressed with that somber cello music from Sunstrider Isle that I called my friend up to play it for her over the phone.

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Little Bugbear

I never played Vanguard, but I love the soundtrack. Can’t wait to see the rest of the top 24 picks, so I can add some more song to my collection.

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Indigo Salma

Ryl2 ‘s launcher music .

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Vexia

I’ll own up to it. :P I voted for the Burning Crusade login theme, and I started playing during that expansion. My favorite part is the little flute solo bit that occasionally plays. MoP’s login theme sounds pretty good to me, too, but the BC one has a lot of feelings attached to it as the foundation of my time playing WoW.

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Katriana

Thank you for putting the YouTube embeds in so we can listen to each one while reading your comments. I suspect many of the songs on the list will be from games I’ve never played, or didn’t play much, so being able to listen to them without digging up links on my own really helps for knowing what it is you’re talking about. I’ll be looking forward to the rest of the list :)

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Nordavind

I can’t stand the wait! Release the rest of the list! D:

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