Jukebox Heroes: Your top six favorite MMO music themes
After over a month of voting and counting down, we’ve arrived at the final six picks for your favorite MMORPG theme songs of all time. It’s been absolutely illuminating seeing the formation of this list and the placement of certain tracks, and I’m glad that everyone who wanted to got to participate.
Before I reveal the top six themes, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Glitch by Vexia: “”As proof this is the ‘main theme’ since the game is closed, my soundtrack CDs have some variations of the Groddle Forest music that are titled ‘Glitch Theme (Demo),’ ‘Glitch Theme (Rook’s Woods),’ etc.”
- EVE Online: Empyrean Age by Alex: “EVE has, like, DOZENS of theme songs. They make a new one for each expansion. It should win on variety alone. Or be in a different category. If I had to choose one, it would probably be the Empyrean Age login theme.”
- Phantasy Star Online by Totakeke: “Boom, nothing can beat PSO’s theme. Period.”
- City of Villains by Colonel Zechs: “Who wouldn’t like this song?”
- SkySaga by Socontrariwise: “Just so cheerful!”
Are you ready? I know I am! Here we go!
UO went with the franchise’s signature song, “Stones,” for its memorable and relaxing main theme. For hundreds of thousands of Ultima players, the recognizable factor of this track makes it a winner, or as reader Loopy said, “for the nostalgia!”
This right here is a track that gets your mind spinning up with possibilities over exploring an entire virtual world, and even though there is nary a percussive beat to be found here, that doesn’t mean that it lacks excitement and anticipation. It’s just a different variety, that’s all.
While I am sure that there are those who hold a torch for the old version of the LOTRO theme song, it seems as though the newer track, as introduced in Riders of Rohan, has supplanted that tune in the opinions of many players. This theme, LOTRO Legacy, sounds crisper and contains a stirring melody of many of the best cues from the soundtrack. I’m just happy to see support for LOTRO that propelled this into the top five!
If you’re a die-hard Final Fantasy player, it’s hard not to feel those thrilling goosebumps from the opening notes of the familiar prelude here. That harp is joined by a majestic, stately score that clearly is trying to connect with past games while presenting itself as a penultimate version of sorts.
Reader Vexia disagreed on which track should be nominated: “I think of End of an Era as the main theme to ARR instead of the login music which is a variant on the prelude theme from all Final Fantasy games’ title screens.”
Old and MIDI though it may be, for many players there is no MMO theme song as iconic and wonderful as the EverQuest title.
“I still have EverQuest’s theme song in its myriad forms burned into my psyche, never to be forgotten,” said reader Zed Leppelin. Fellow reader Jordan concurs: “The theme song loading in watching trailers it was just so epic and different from any other theme music at the time and really set the world apart from all others. Even the MMOs since have never had such a peaceful and intense musical score. Takes me back everytime I hear it.”
While I’ve always liked this main theme and knew it had its fans, I didn’t realize until running this vote just how incredibly popular it was with our community.
“With a decent sound setup, it is excellent and fits the nature of the game’s themes well,” Zen Dadaist noted. “The Secret World’s theme really sticks with you and establishes the feel of the game fairly effectively,” John chipped in. And Dajhryne had the final word on this one: “I like ‘epic’ about as much as anyone, but I think I’ll have to say TSW’s theme is epic because of originality and sheer fittingness of the theme.”
1. Age of Conan
Believe it or not, there was a tie for first place here; TSW and Age of Conan ran neck-and-neck right to the finish line. But in the ordering of this list, I’ll give the judge’s edge to Age of Conan’s theme, just because it always seems to get more buzz as a fan favorite and is perhaps the better known. Still, Funcom had two in the bag for the top spot, so it must be doing something right in the music department!
Thank you everyone who participated in the voting, and I hope you enjoyed the results as much as I did!