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Battle Bards Episode 101: Ragnarok Online

As the Battle Bards cruise into their second hundred episodes, it’s time to cover a very long-lived fantasy MMO from 2002, Ragnarok Online. The game has an… interesting soundtrack and a devoted following in some circles, but as the crew discovered on today’s show, the score is not without its criticisms. It’s time to kick summer vacation to the curb and trumpet another parade of MMO music!

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 101: Ragnarok Online (or download it) now:

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Get pumped for LOTRO: Mordor with wallpaper art and a soundtrack interview

While Lord of the Rings Online players are chewing over the Mordor pre-order packages, there are a few free ways that fans can get pumped up about the expansion. For starters, Composer Chance Thomas appeared on an episode of NPR’s Music Respawn to talk about his return to the game to score Mordor. He stresses that his contributions aren’t just an imitations of the soundtracks from Peter Jackson’s films.

“People assume all the time that I take the movie themes and re-work them,” Thomas said. “I went to the source! I took from the source material the feelings, the ideas, the colors, the themes, and the harmonies that are a reflection of that world.”

If music isn’t your bag, what about gorgeous concept art? This year, the studio has commissioned renowned Tolkien artist Ted Nasmith to create three pieces for Update 16, 20, and 21. The Mordor wallpaper in particular is drop-dead awesome, and you can download all of them to your computer for use. You can check them all out below.

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Path of Exile optimizes the crap out of its new beta build

Lag spikes and stuttering framerates may be a thing of the past in Path of Exile. The devs announced that with its next beta build for The Fall of Oriath, they are implementing changes that will keep FPS at a playable pace even when players are spamming the heck out of flashy skills.

“In Wave 3 of the Beta, we have significantly improved the speed of creating and destroying objects. This was the primary cause of spikes when using a lot of skills. We can now create thousands of skill effects per second without significantly slowing down the frame rate,” the studio reported. “We have also added a new feature called Dynamic Resolution. This is a feature that allows us to maintain high frame rates even as the amount of particles increase by decreasing the resolution of the 3-D scene temporarily.”

The team also devoted some screen space to sharing behind-the-scenes insights into the expansion’s soundtrack. You can listen to a little of that after the break!

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Jukebox Heroes: Six goofy RuneScape tunes

Over the past year I’ve nearly been bested by the unclimbable mountain that is the RuneScape soundtrack. With well over 1,200 tracks currently existing in the game, it’s sheer folly to try to listen to it all straight through. That, of course, is exactly what I’ve been attempting, yet with new tracks coming out all of the time, I feel that there’s no end in sight.

If I’m to be forever working my way through an MMO soundtrack, RuneScape is a great place to be. As I’ve been discovering, there is such a sheer variety of interesting and catchy tunes on display covering a wide swath of biomes, races, events, and situations. What I perhaps like best is how RuneScape’s score isn’t in the slightest self-conscious with being silly and bizarre. In fact, it seems to revel in it!

So today let’s take an odd musical interlude to listen to six goofy and weird RuneScape tracks before we all get serious again about our video games.

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Battle Bards Episode 100: Centennial spectacular!

After four years and over 700 MMORPG music tracks, the Battle Bards have arrived at their 100th show! For this centennial spectacular, Syl, Steff, and Syp reminisce about the most notable shows, their best soundtrack discoveries, and their favorite tracks. This super-sized show gets wrapped up with a bout of listener emails and a promise of another amazing hundred episodes!

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 iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 100: Centennial spectacular (or download it) now:

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Hear Project Gorgon’s Bard healing like a rock star

We are still waiting for the full reveal of Project Gorgon’s promised Bard skill, but in the meantime we can enjoy a sneak peek at what the class has to offer. Or should we say, a sneak listen? That doesn’t rhyme. Oh well.

Project Gorgon Composer Conor Brace posted a new piece of music that demonstrates the Bard healing with tunes while playing alongside the combat theme. Check it out:

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LOTRO releases 10th anniversary soundtrack

A week after announcing Composer Chance Thomas’ return to score the upcoming Mordor expansion, Lord of the Rings Online revealed another musical treat. The game, in collaboration with Thomas, has released a 10th Anniversary album for fans. The 26-track, two-disc album is being made available through Huge Sound Records and retails for $15 (although individual tracks can be purchased as well).

“This music transformed my career and gave me a platform so that I could take all of these places that we love in Middle-earth and bring them to life musically,” Thomas said. “I hope this collection of music will carry you away on the wings of your imagination. So here’s to all of the great memories… and the memories yet to come.”

You can hear the announcement and listen to an interview with Chance Thomas after the break!

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Battle Bards Episode 99: Tropical resort

The Battle Bards are on vacation at a tropical beach paradise! In the team’s 99th episode, they examine beach, resort, and island music cues from MMORPGs. Can it still be a resort when everything around you is out for murder? As long as the music is this good, who cares?

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 iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 99: Tropical resort (or download it) now:

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Heroes of the Storm releases its score for your listening pleasure

Heroes of the Storm might not be making its soundtrack available for purchase (yet), but Blizzard has released the score on YouTube and via streaming services so that you can get your MOBA music fix.

“Starting today, we’re taking the songs of Heroes of the Storm out of the Nexus and into your hands,” the studio posted. “Now you can use these epic backing tracks to help you battle those weights at the gym, tackle stacks of homework, or liven your evening commute; they’re yours to enjoy as you please!”

Give it a listen after the jump!

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LOTRO confirms Chance Thomas’ return to score Mordor, says it will be his ‘darkest’ work yet

It was perhaps the worst-kept secret for Lord of the Rings Online’s upcoming Mordor expansion, but now it’s officially confirmed: Composer Chance Thomas is returning to score the MMO.

Saying that “it was a long time coming,” the announcement marks a reunion between Thomas and LOTRO after many years apart. Thomas was one of the key composers who wrote music for the base game and its expansions up through Riders of Rohan, but he’s been absent from the project since 2012. In the livestream, Thomas said that the lawyers had to wrangle things out to make a way for his return.

The composer said that the Mordor expansion will be a “different feel” than what he’s done for the game in the past — and will be quite dark, indeed. He’s currently reading through the design document and looking at various pieces of Middle-earth art to help inspire his composition. Thomas has just now started writing the score but said that there will be live orchestral recording of at least some of it.

Thomas and Standing Stone teased a second special announcement that will come next week. You can watch the full interview after the break!

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Battle Bards Episode 98: Perfect World International

Perfect World — it’s not just a massive games publisher, it’s also an MMORPG! The team at Battle Bards timidly tiptoe into this unknown soundtrack, not sure of what may lurk around the next bend. Is it a hot pile of suck? An undiscovered gem? Forgettable fluff? We’re not going to tell you in the intro here; you’ll have to listen along with us to find out!

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 iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 98: Perfect World International (or download it) now:

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Listen to these brand-new Guild Wars 2 and EVE Online music tracks

An odd but interesting connection between Guild Wars 2 and EVE Online is that both games use Soundcloud extensively to post their soundtrack pieces as each MMO continues to develop. Seriously, there are so many tunes for both games on that site, that if you wanted to spend an afternoon awash in great tunes, you certainly could.

However, we would be remiss if we didn’t point you to several brand-new tracks for these games that released this week. Starting with EVE Online, check out the MMO’s newest theme song, “The Luminous Eye:”

With this past week’s Flashpoint episode release, Guild Wars 2 added a trio of new tracks for its Living World season three soundtrack (you’ll need to scroll down on the list):

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Battle Bards Episode 97: The sound of magic

“Magic can be ANYthing!”

The forces of magic run deep within MMORPGs, casting shadows of wonder wherever we look — and listen. In today’s show, Syl sparks a musical revolution as her fellow Bards struggle to rise to the challenge of defining what, exactly, constitutes a “magical” track and evokes that particular feeling. Did we nail it? You’ll have to join us for the journey to find out!

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 iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 97: The sound of magic (or download it) now:

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