music

Jukebox Heroes: Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire’s soundtrack

I feel comfortable in saying that I hold the Guild Wars franchise’s soundtrack in high regard. There’s excellent music across the board from a variety of composers, and in my opinion, it has only gotten better over time. The Guild Wars 2 Living World season 3 and Heart of Thorns scores knocked it out of the park, and I could not wait to listen through Path of Fire when it released earlier this year.

That is why, to continue using an awkward baseball metaphor, I was let down when this expansion’s score was a mere double instead of a home run. It’s not bad, mind you, but it’s certainly not as great as the previous expansion or what the team has been putting out in the meantime. Perhaps some of this stems from the desert theme, which I’ve always found to inspire somewhat stereotypical “desert music” that sounds samey and not that thrilling. Guild Wars: Nightfall was my least-liked score of the original game for this reason as well.

Again, I want to emphasize that I don’t hate Path of Fire’s score, I just don’t like it as much as what’s been done before. This time around, four composers put together the album: Maclaine Diemer, Wilbert Rogett, Brendon Williams, and Stan LePard. This team did produce several highlights that I prefer to mention rather than talk about what didn’t work, so let’s give those pieces a listen!

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Final Fantasy XIV launches patch 4.15 with music and MOBA gameplay

It’s time to smash up some robots with other robots in Final Fantasy XIV. There’s more to it than that, sure, but the core of the game’s new Rival Wings PvP encounter is that you are leading a team of robots (mammets) against another team of robots (mammets), and sometimes you get into a robot (machina) and use them to smash cores. It’s all of the robot action in the game you could possibly want, and if you’re familiar with the mechanics of MOBA combat, you will likely find this pretty familiar. Try it out for yourself; patch 4.15 has just gone live today.

The new Perform system, on the other hand, is less robot-based. It’s entirely based around making music as a Bard, and that means hitting a whole lot of different notes to make your own original music. (And the patch notes even warn you that you had better be making your own music, thus making the game a place where saying “anyway here’s Wonderwall” might literally get you in trouble.) So you can make your own song after stomping robots for a while. What more could you ask for?

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Massively Overthinking: Are modern games too cheap?

This week’s Massively Overthinking topic is a submission from reader and commenter camelotcrusade, who takes the industry’s current fight over monetization in a different direction from lockboxes. “Are modern games too cheap?” he asks, probably slowly reaching into a can of worms with a wicked gleam in his eye.

“When you think about it, many other things we buy have increased in price over the last decade but AAA games are still expected to be a maximum of $60, with many of us waiting for sales (or for free-to-play). Meanwhile, games everywhere are adding shops, post-release content, and DLC galore with increasingly aggressive pricing models. How much of this is to make-up margins they can’t capture up-front? How much should an AA game cost in 2017? $75? $90? Is there a price point where lockboxes, gambling, and in-game stores could focus on value-add instead of survival? And how did we get here? Whose fault is it? And how do we get out of this, or is ‘would you like a game with your store’ the future as we know it?”

Let’s talk money!

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Battle Bards Episode 109: Club Penguin

When you’ve got a club full of penguins overseen by the Mouse House itself, you know things are going to get both wacky and weird! Club Penguin may not be everyone’s go-to MMO for music, but its wide array of simplified genres certainly give the Battle Bards a lot to discuss on this week’s show.

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 co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 109: Club Penguin (or download it) now:

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Perfect Ten: What to expect when you play World of Warcraft Classic

Are you ready to play the most anticipated MMORPG from 2004? It turns out that, yes, many of you are. The frenzy over World of Warcraft Classic is probably nowhere near its zenith yet, as the announcement of the server has sparked enormous amounts of conversation among the community.

While we most likely have a while to go before Blizzard’s time travel machine is complete, it is not too soon to start thinking about the logistics and reality that a legacy server will entail. The existing emulator community and a look at the past development and operation of vanilla World of Warcraft can give us an idea of what WoW Classic will be like, although Blizzard’s vision may differ in format, business model, and features.

What will it be like to jump back to the first year or two of World of Warcraft and play that version of the game? It’s going to be a drastic shock to veteran and new players alike, especially those who might have forgotten how MMOs used to operate back in the day. Here are 10 things to expect when you log in to Classic for the first time.

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Final Fantasy XIV brings out patch 4.15 on November 21

At long last, Final Fantasy XIV Bards can put on a show with patch 4.15. The patch is slated for November 21st according to Twitter, and it will bring with it the new Perform action for Bards, letting you put together all of the songs you want within housing districts. The official preview even says that you can bring the realm to life with the sound of music, delighting any fans of Julie Andrews.

The new patch will also bring with it the new Rival Wings PvP mode, pitting two teams against one another with mech backup and all the fun tricks you’d want from a MOBA-style PvP option. You’ve got two weeks to prep up before the patch arrives, so perhaps you should practice a bit with your preferred job in PvP, which might even be Bard. That would tie everything together nicely.

Anyway, here’s Wonderwall.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 143: BlizzCon strikes back

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree dig into the exciting news from BlizzCon, mull over the troubles at Marvel Heroes, mourn the passing of a great studio, and cover a handful of MMO updates.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO soundtrack makes you the most nostalgic?

In covering MMORPG music for the past five or so years, I’ve discovered something interesting (yet not truly surprising). I can appreciate and even love pieces of music from games I’ve never played, but there’s this strong and compelling connection between the ones I have enjoyed and music that I listen to from them at a later date.

These soundtrack pieces can trigger a tidal wave of nostalgia for my gaming days of yore, such as stepping into Elwynn Forest for the first time, gazing in awe over the Shadowlands, or heading to Freedom Court for a costume contest.

Which MMO soundtrack (album or select tracks) makes you the most nostalgic for certain titles? Are there any newer pieces that you’re sure will be imprinted into your brain as long-lasting favorites?

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Ashes of Creation wants to create the ideal and iconic RPG tavern

It’s a well-worn but welcome roleplaying game trope that adventurers gather before quests in a colorful tavern full of shady characters, intrigue at every table, and a bard strumming a lute in the corner. This iconic setting is something that the team behind Ashes of Creation wants to get right with its upcoming game.

So what will the Ashes of Creation tavern offer? Aside from purchasable food and drink, a private chat space, customizable music, rentable rooms, battle maps on tables, parlor games, and (of course) rested experience. The team said that the latter is important to put butts in the chairs and “keep you socializing with your fellow players and to enjoy the amenities tavern owners provide.”

Taverns will also serve as a launchpad for quests: “Taverns foster adventure in a few ways, one large part being the bulletin board. The bulletin board, quests can be posted here and completed too. If a tavern owner needs supplies they can post quests, others can also purchase space in order to post quests as well.”

Meanwhile, check out the team engaging in all sorts of Halloween nonsense — and perhaps spot a few development Easter eggs on their screens!

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Jukebox Heroes: Revelation Online’s soundtrack

Eastern MMORPGs have a great shared legacy of incredible soundtracks, ranging from Aion to Lineage II to Final Fantasy XIV. And while there are both standouts and generic-sounding OSTs, it’s very unusual for an eastern game to feature a western composer.

But I suppose if you’re going to do that, you would do yourself well by recruiting from the best. I’m guessing that’s what happened with Revelation Online, which hired World of Warcraft and Overwatch Composer Neal Acree to score this fantasy title. The west-meets-east design here sounds a little bit odd and a little bit off to my ears, especially considering how Acree attempts to create a very Chinese-sounding album for a very Chinese MMO.

Was he successful? More or less, yes. It’s a decent soundtrack, nothing that I’m going to praise to the high heavens, but one that I won’t drag through the mud, either. I think that the best thing I can say about it is that Revelation Online’s score is that it’s very pleasant. And sometimes that’s exactly what you need when you’re sitting down to relax and play a game for hours on end. Let’s take a listen.

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Lord of the Rings Online’s Mordor soundtrack is now available

Months following the release of Lord of the Rings Online’s climactic expansion comes the soundtrack to Mordor. Composed by Chance Thomas, this 16-track score is published by Thomas’ HUGEsound Records and contains an end credits-like song called “Ever On.”

Massively OP recently reviewed the soundtrack, finding it to be a much darker and more dour score with the occasional bright spot. “Mordor’s OST is very competent and does a great job helping to sell the corrupted, death-strewn nation,” we wrote, “but it’s not anywhere near as fun to listen to as, say, Thomas’ adventurous Riders of Rohan or his classic Shadows of Angmar work.”

The Mordor soundtrack can be purchased digitally through HUGEsound Records, Amazon MP3, or iTunes.

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LOTRO Legendarium: Reviewing the Mordor soundtrack

Here’s a weird thing to admit: I was actually concerned when I heard that Lord of the Rings Online brought back Chance Thomas to score this year’s Mordor expansion. It’s not that I dislike him or his music; on the contrary, I recognized that Thomas has created a large amount of terrific music for this MMO’s beloved score. And while SSG has done very well with its scoring in house (Gondor in particular), I would normally be ecstatic to see Thomas come back again.

My concern stemmed from the source material. Mordor is evil, through and through, and I knew that this would call for an oppressively dark soundtrack. I felt that no matter who scored it, it wasn’t going to be an eminently listenable album, and I worried that Thomas’ efforts would be hamstrung by this setting.

After receiving an advance copy of the score (which will go on sale digitally November 1st), I found my concern borne out. Mordor’s OST is very competent and does a great job helping to sell the corrupted, death-strewn nation — but it’s not anywhere near as fun to listen to as, say, Thomas’ adventurous Riders of Rohan or his classic Shadows of Angmar work. That said, there are a couple of standout pieces and some very interesting elements going on with these tunes, so let’s go through it track by track to grok this latest chapter in the LOTRO musical archive.

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Chronicles of Elyria on a la carte prices, skins, and this weekend’s convention game

Looking to just buy your way into an exclusive alpha program? Want to put your name on a star or tombstone? Thinking about adopting a pet? Chronicles of Elyria has you covered on all of this and more.

The fantasy MMORPG is getting ready to offer a la carte shop options, allowing players to pick and choose their advance purchases as the title trundles through development. There are many options to pick from, including Beta 2 access ($20), Alpha 1 access ($155), the soundtrack ($10), the option to name a landmark ($100), and a server-exclusive coat of arms ($25). The tombstone thing is quite real, by the way, and half of the profit of each one sold will be donated to the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

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