Backers of Jeremy Soule’s 2013 Kickstarter campaign are still awaiting the long-promised symphony by the video game composer, but at least they have a consolation prize to provide companionship over the holiday break.
Soule recently released The Northerner Diaries, a 12-track, 54-minute selection of vignettes and preview pieces of his still-upcoming Northerner Symphony album. It appears that the Diaries are only available to backers of the Kickstarter campaign, so you either have it or you don’t right now.
“The Northerner Diaries are my virtual orchestral and choir ‘sketches’ as I work towards the completion of my Symphony 1,” Soule said. “These recordings represent wild and unfiltered ideas created in the same vein as concept art that you might see from an artist prior to the commencement of an oil painting.”
The enormous delay of Soule’s symphony has produced a protracted backlash against the composer as the wait for his final work has stretched on for four years now with no signs of an end.
Oh, I can hear all of you out there, mewing with frustration that Massively OP hasn’t yet announced the truly important awards yet this season. Well whine no more, because the 2017 Online VGM Awards are here (here are 2015 and 2016 for educational purposes)!
Not only are these the only awards that you’ll find on MOP that deal with the greatness that is MMO video game music, but these are also the only awards that are chosen solely by me. It’s a total power trip that Bree allows me once a year, and I do not squander it. Sure, perhaps I go overboard with the heralds and the flinging of glitter in the faces of my coworkers, but I need it. Oh how I need it.
Without further ado, here are the six awards that I will be handing out from my throne of speakers and keytars. Get your amazed faces ready now to save you the effort later.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained’s weekly progress report is on the shorter side (for CSE) given that the game’s monthly newsletter just went out, but there are some interesting tidbits within, including the fact that the studio is considering uprooting the game’s hosting services and migrating elsewhere. The team’s also been working on battlegrounds and warbands, status effects, animations, female clothing, tech stuff, and boats.
In great news for anybody still lamenting World of Darkness, victory seems assured for vampire MMORPG Shadow’s Kiss, whose Kickstarter should conclude on Tuesday with more than double its ask.
Meanwhile, Elite Dangerous patched its patch, Shroud of the Avatar is hosting a Movember team, Valiance Online teased female toons, Project Gorgon is planning its next update early tomorrow morning, we spoke to Mark Jacobs about developer wages, Ship of Heroes prepped its combat alpha, and Star Citizen drove eyebrows to the sky by announcing the pre-sale of land claims in space.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
How about this for a new November tradition at Massively OP: Let’s get together at this time every year to see if video game composer Jeremy Soule is ever going to make good on his effort to create and release his classical music album, The Northerner. Because between talking about it this time last year and now, Soule still hasn’t produced anything substantial to show for the $127,000 that he raised from fans in a 2013 Kickstarter campaign.
This raises the deep question: What do you call it when a music album becomes the equivalent of “vaporware?”
Kotaku noted that in the past year, a fake apology from Soule somehow got posted to the Kickstarter page and then left there without any way to remove it. His representatives pointed fans instead to a February 16th Facebook update in which Soule explained that part of the reason for the delay is that his company is developing a new musical technology that will be used in the symphony. A much more recent update stated that his “Northerner Diaries” — excerpts and vignettes of the upcoming album — will be released next month on December 20th.
Our suggestion? Check out Guild Wars 2’s newest expansion album instead, which is currently available to listen and purchase.
Lately I’ve felt the need to get into gear and cover a lot of the more recent MMO soundtracks that have released alongside their launches and expansions in 2017. If I’m going to get through these by the end of the year, I best start now!
And so our next soundtrack for examination is the rather excellent Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind OST by Brad Derrick. I haven’t hidden my disappointment in the base game’s soundtrack, as it didn’t quite live up to the expectations established by previous Elder Scrolls titles. Therefore, I’m happy to say that Morrowind really stepped up to deliver a much more memorable and moving soundtrack with plenty of nostalgic elements.
For more on the making of this score, read Derrick’s interview on the main site: “For The Elder Scrolls Online, the music has to bridge the gap between the familiar and the new, satisfying player expectations while still having a unique identity. This means making sure the music is ‘Elder Scrolls-y’ enough to sound like it’s from the same universe as the other games, but at the same time different enough so that it’s clearly ESO music, belonging to the time and spaces of our game.”
Now that Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind
has launched, chances are that anyone interested in this expansion is in there playing instead of moping about on the web. But that didn’t stop the team from putting out the last of its “Naryu” video guides out, this one focused on the PvP battlegrounds. See it below!
The team posted all of the Naryu guides on one convenient page, covering many of the key locales and features from Morrowind. Make sure that you don’t miss our Morrowind launch coverage and roundup from earlier this week.
For those awaiting the next album in the Elder Scrolls series, ZeniMax said that the Morrowind soundtrack should arrive in digital stores very shortly. You can listen to the first track, featuring Composer Jeremy Soule, also after the break!
Today we are sitting down with ArenaNet
Lead Composer Maclaine Diemer
, who players might best know from his work on Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
and Living World Season 3. Diemer picked up the baton from Jeremy Soule
, the original composer for the base game, and has been pumping out terrific music for the MMORPG ever since.
Massively OP: At this point in your career at ArenaNet, how many pieces of music have you composed for Guild Wars 2?
Maclaine Diemer: I think about this from time to time, but I honestly don’t know. I’d say it’s in the “several dozen” range, between all the holiday festivals, Living World content, Heart of Thorns, and other miscellaneous stuff like cinematics and marketing videos. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!
It’s starting to get serious now.
As we well know, people are highly opinionated about everything, but when it comes to music, there seems to be a (pardon the pun) higher pitch to the passion of those arguments. I’ve been doing an MMO music podcast for over three years now, and believe me when I say that there have been countless times when myself and my cohosts were aghast when someone hated a tune we liked and vice-versa, even though we shouldn’t have been surprised.
So as we head into the top 10 of the best MMO theme songs, as voted on by the Massively OP community, expect a lot of opinions and controversies. You may not like the picks, the order, or the comments, but hopefully one or two of these will make you happy (and there’s always room to be pleasantly surprised by a track you never heard before!). Suck it up and jump with me!
Last week we were off to a great start as we listened to the first batch of player-voted favorite MMO themes. As I said then, the results of the voting, in which I asked players to nominate up to 10 of their favorite main themes from online games, were both predictable and surprising. Nostalgia and familiarity obviously play a strong role in many of these votes, but no one was asking for objectivity here!
Today we’re going to continue our countdown to the top spot by looking at numbers 18 through 13 of your favorite MMO themes. I think there’s a good mix here, perhaps with tunes that I would have placed a little higher, but overall it’s gratifying to see each one of these make the list.
Enough jibber-jabber, let’s get to it!
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, ArtCraft says over 9000 gamers have been invited to try to break the three alpha servers active during Crowfall’s “Big World” playtest. “We’ve shifted our development approach to be more like a live MMO,” says Creative Director and Co-Founder J. Todd Coleman. Still on the way “soon” are the new crafting skill trees, unique world maps, the necromancy system that serves as the foundation for avatar swapping, and the protype for the Eternal Kingdoms. The company also crossed the minimum threshold for its Indiegogo-based equity crowdfunding effort, though it has been thus far unwilling to answer questions about its now-public finances.
Meanwhile, Pantheon is plotting a stream on December 9th, Ship of Heroes became the fourth City of Heroes spiritual successor (and has crowdfunding on the way), Star Citizen began testing alpha 26, Richard Garriott donated an in-game skull to a tavern in Shroud of the Avatar, and The Exiled kicked off its closed alpha (for which we still have keys!).
Finally, we sat down with Project Gorgon’s Eric Heimburg to chat about the state of the game and its graphics plans for 2017.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on!
Back in 2013, Composer Jeremy Soule (Landmark, Guild Wars 2) launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 to fund his personal project of creating a classical music album called The Northerner: Soule Symphony No. 1. The campaign was a great success, pulling in over $127,000, and fans were excited to hear what he would produce.
However, during the intervening years, Soule has failed to produce the album, stringing backers along with the occasional update and promise of progress. While he did post some sheet music this past September, fans have been fed up with the protracted project, filling up the Kickstarter’s comments section with their displeasure and demands for a refund. Soule has not given a definite timeline for the completion and delivery of his album, making some fans fear that it will take years more to finish, if ever.
Soule is a somewhat difficult figure in the video game music industry. He is widely admired for his talent while criticized for being paranoid and the poor customer service of his digital music service. In addition to the issues with his symphony procrastination, he has long since pulled the Guild Wars 2 soundtrack from his store (seriously, go ahead and see if you can buy a copy anywhere) and expressed outrage when he found out that a Skyrim concert was being performed this fall without his involvement.
MOP’s Justin Olivetti created the music-centered Jukebox Heroes column back on Massively-that-was and brought it along to us here, and to this day it’s one of my favorites. It’s also one of our most contentious, which might seem weird since it covers not pay-to-win or crowdfunding or internet warlords but… music. Video game music. It turns out that you folks have incredibly strong opinions about your video game music, and not a top 10 list of tracks goes by when Justin isn’t barraged with “you forgot X” and “why isn’t Y on this list” and “obviously bias, doesn’t include X” commentary.
So for this week’s Massively Overthinking, we’re turning the whole team’s attention to video game music — specifically, MMORPG soundtracks and individual pieces. Which ones are our very favorites? Which ones do we keep on listening to long after we’ve left the games? We’re confident you’ll populate the comments with everything we’re missing!
“It’s high time that we talk about the Heart of Thorns expansion for Guild Wars 2!” Syl says, and we couldn’t agree more. The Battle Bards assemble to look at the first expansion for this fantasy MMO — and the evolution of the game’s soundtrack from the Jeremy Soule era. The verdict? Unanimous love for this incredible score!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin Olivetti co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
We’ve got Episode 76: Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns for you after the break!