music

Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset added a new hour of music and 7,224 lines of dialogue

You might be finding yourself enchanted with Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset’s pretty visuals, but what about the delight that your ears are sampling?

ZeniMax gave props to its audio team that handled the music, voices, and sounds of the recent expansion, saying that its work was “designed to wholly immerse you in the home of the High Elves.” Zeroing in on Summerset’s magical ambience was of key importance for the group, with the music leaning on wind instruments to distinguish itself from the other releases.

And don’t forget the extensive dialogue! “We have 7,224 lines of unique dialog in Summerset,” says Voice-Over Supervisor Becky Ichnoski. “For this chapter specifically, we spent a total of 108 hours in the studios recording, making up 37 individual sessions with a total of 35 different voice actors.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 175: Virtual heartbreakers

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin get a little bit crazy and weird as they date MMO NPCs, throw themselves into the middle of studio fights, take a ride on the delay/launch whiplash train, and more!

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’s music brings back all the feels?

One of the reasons that I love and listen to MMO music so much — other than it rocks, obviously — is that it has this incredible power to trigger nostalgia and latent memories of time spent in-game.

It’s amazing: I might have been away from a game for years or haven’t even thought about it since it went offline ages ago, but the second I hear the main theme or an iconic track, it is like I never left. Occasionally I marinate in City of Heroes’ score or the vanilla World of Warcraft soundtrack just to be transported back to around 2004.

Which MMO soundtrack brings back all the feels for you? Is there a particular theme that makes you close your eyes and gives you goosebumps as you are transported back in time?

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Battle Bards Episode 122: Happy town

In peaceful villages and bubbly burgs, you just know that there’s bound to be an abundance of happy music! Whenever the Battle Bards regroup to lick their wounds and drink the terrors away, they often find that happy town music is perfect to soothe jangled nerves and re-center one’s heroism. There’s plenty of those tunes in today’s episode, so recoup with them as they listen to the songs of the common folk.

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 122: Happy town (or download it) now:

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The Game Archaeologist: Myst Online

The impact of Myst in 1993 was akin to an atomic bomb going off in the PC gaming world. The leap forward in graphical fidelity (aided by the large storage capacity of a CD-ROM and all of the full-motion video and gorgeous images tucked into it) captured gamers’ imaginations and made this adventure title the best-selling PC game of all time, at least for several years. Brothers Robyn and Rand Miller’s story about a stranger who had to solve puzzles through a good-looking (if deserted) landscape was devilishly difficult, yet that challenge kept players coming back for months and even years.

The Myst franchise surged forward at that point, with several sequels, remakes, and ports selling like hotcakes through the final game’s release in 2005. Yet something interesting happened along the way when an offshoot of the series — Uru: Ages Beyond Myst — evolved into an MMO. With a focus on multiplayer exploration and puzzle-solving instead of non-stop combat, it may be one of the very few MMOs out there that eschews fighting for brainpower.

It’s an oddity, no doubt, and despite it being an incredibly niche title, it has fascinated me enough to pull me into a research rabbit hole. So let’s take a look at Myst Online: Uru Live!

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Life is Feudal: MMO’s first big patch includes slavery, PvP battle arenas, and improved religion

Didn’t like the idea of slaves in Conan Exiles? Then you probably won’t dig them in Life is Feudal either. The MMO version of the Life is Feudal games is debuting its first big content update soon, and slavery is among the new bits. It works a lot like Conan’s system too.

“No need in wasting your time on gathering resources manually! Save your time and energy by taking advantage of the new slave mechanic. Players can place up to four slaves per outpost, each additional slave speeding up productivity and earning even more production. There are a couple of ways one can get slaves in Life is Feudal. You can acquire them by controlling the slave outpost in a Red World, buying from other players, or enslaving knocked out players! This feature works only in Red worlds. Now you can make the best of your conquered foes!”

There’s quite a bit more to the patch, including a new PvP battle arena, new religious ranks that allow players to take on the power of the gods, new outpost building features, and a new guild rank system, plus improved music and map heraldry. Notably, the walls between the game worlds will come down, allowing players to move between them and communicate with people in safe or danger zones.

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Lord of the Rings Online 22.2 update is live with sweeping class balance changes, wearable instruments, and new story quests

It’s release day for Lord of the Rings Online. Update 22.2 is the big ol’ class balance patch that everyone’s been fussing about for the last few weeks.

“We have taken steps to improve the power, gameplay, and overall enjoyment of numerous classes throughout the game, as part of a longer-term effort to optimize class balance,” Standing Stone says. It’s buffed the potency of multiple traits and reset trait allocation for all affected classes too. Notably, Champions got a hefty damage and healing buff, Guardians will find Keen Blade got a do-over, Hunter lines and skills got major overhauls, Warden DPS is up up up, and some of the Lore-master’s traits have been outright deleted (I’ll let MOP’s Justin be the arbiter of whether that class is improved or not!).

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Jukebox Heroes: Six musical themes for upcoming MMORPGs

Usually in Jukebox Heroes I’m looking back at current and sunsetted MMORPGs, but this week I thought I’d change things up a bit by looking ahead. That’s right — we’re going to be going into the future to listen to a half-dozen main themes to upcoming MMORPGs.

Some of these titles are on the cusp of releasing this year, while others have a long way to go. Still, it’s kind of exciting to listen to these themes and imagine actually logging into the finished product, don’t you think?

So here we go, with title tracks from Crowfall, Fractured, Gloria Victis, Worlds Adrift, Project Gorgon, and Camelot Unchained!

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Battle Bards Episode 121: Myst Online

The world’s first, best, and only MMORPG music podcast is back to venture into a rather obscure title, Myst Online! The Battle Bards delve into this odd, atmospheric soundtrack that isn’t quite like what we’re used to hearing in online games. There’s some love, some hate, some snark, and some indigestion. Also, we discover several of Syl’s greatest fears and force her to live through them.

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 121: Myst Online (or download it) now:

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Perfect Ten: MMO features that help players express individuality

When you play a single-player game, you automatically feel quite special and unique. You are, after all, the very centerpiece that the entire game revolves around and caters to. Your ego soars high like the eagles and cannot be tamed.

This all changes when you step into a massively multiplayer environment. Suddenly we’re one of a crowd, a fish swimming among other fish made of the same templates. We’re part of the swarm of Chosen Ones destined to save the world. In that environment, it’s easy to lose that sense of individuality.

Happily, MMORPG designers have long given us ways to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the crowd if we so desire. There are plenty of avenues to express our creativity, inject our own personality and desires, and otherwise reclaim that sense of individuality in these virtual spaces. Today we’re going to march through a list of 10 ways that players can express individuality in their MMOs.

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The newest Bless Online trailer previews founder pack goodies

If you’re still planning on charging onward into Bless’s headstart this coming week, undaunted by controversy over the game’s monetization, then you might want a closer look at exactly what you’re buying. Neowiz has released just that in trailer form, complete with soaring music, romping mounts spewing icy particle effects, and zippy spin-arounds of the costumes on multiple characters. Even if you’re not grabby-hands about the game’s early access open beta, you still might want to peek at its combat, armor, and mounts. Happy Saturday!

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Massively Overthinking: The case for rarity and randomness in MMO monetization

Last week, Guild Wars 2’s Crystin Cox gave a monetization interview to Gamasutra during which she made one specific argument I wanted to pull out and re-examine. She was trying to explain why lockboxes can provide a “value” to players that they can’t get any other way.

“When we talk about cosmetics, there’s a demand for every individual cosmetic. Like maybe I love cowboy hats, I just want to buy cowboy hats. But there’s also a demand, and a lot of players feel this way, for just cosmetic options. I like cowboy hats sure, but I also like bandanas, and I like clown hair, I like everything. I don’t really have a super strong preference. I just want more things to put in my dress-up box. That demand can be satisfied a lot better sometimes with just giving you a random thing because that can be done a lot cheaper. If you don’t care about which one you get and you just want one, you can get it for a lot cheaper. When you’re talking about games that have rarity, and rarity’s a big part of that game, then lootboxes can be done to distribute something on a small scale, so that not everybody has access to it but some do, as sort of a jackpot item. And then that gets into a little more complexity around the economy and your game, and whether not this is an enjoyable part of your game for people to play, play with the economy of some such. But if it is, then you can use lootboxes to be a pretty good distribution for something that’s very rare.”

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Fractured preps for Kickstarter campaign and releases its main theme

Fantasy MMORPG Fractured is working hard to prepare for its future Kickstarter campaign — and it needs your help with the planning. The team laid out a list of potential pledge tiers this week for community evaluation and feedback.

These pledge packs cover a wide range of potential rewards, such as forum titles, digital copies of the game, beta access, in-game currency, premium membership, character slots, the soundtrack, pets, cosmetic skins, statues of you, the ability to be a “development advisor,” and a mule. Probably shouldn’t have put the mule last. Not really the most exciting of selling points, unless you are a mule enthusiast. If you are, please do not let us know.

The studio also released the game’s main theme on Soundcloud, which might get you stirred up to support the upcoming campaign. “Among the myriad of pieces that make up an MMO, we believe that the soundtrack often doesn’t receive due attention,” the studio said. “The creator of this wonderful record is the German composer Armin Haas, who is going to keep working on other tracks for the Fractured OST in the months to come.” Give it a listen after the break!

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