soundtrack

Jukebox Heroes: Kritika Online’s soundtrack

It’s kind of a sad commentary on 2017 that Kritika Online is one of the most significant MMORPGs to launch during the calendar year. No real disrespect to Kritika meant, just saying that in past years we might not have even noticed such a release. It’s been a meagre year for new launches, is what I meant.

Still, this odd but plucky import got the backing of En Masse (TERA) and managed to carve out a small niche to operate in the west. Instead of presenting itself as a generic or cutesy MMO, Kritika Online decided to embrace a hair metal aesthetic to match its over-the-top combat style. It’s loud, brash, and frantic — and its music complements that direction.

While there are a couple of Kritika tracks that I did enjoy a lot during my review of the soundtrack, there weren’t as many standout pieces as I had hoped. I would imagine that listening to what amounts to nonstop boss battle music would get a little old after a while, but perhaps this game is meant for small but intense play sessions. Let’s give it a listen today!

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Shadow’s Kiss devs interview vampires as their Kickstarter nears finish line

Even though it’s looking more like Christmas than Halloween around these parts, Shadow’s Kiss is taking its Kickstarter all the way to the bank. The blood bank.

The indie vampire MMO is about to finish a successful fundraising campaign, having raised over $67,000 of its initial $25,000 goal. This means that the community has unlocked a number of stretch goals, such as crafting, a ritual magic system, a soundtrack from Midnight Syndicate, and demolitions.

“We’re honored and a bit overwhelmed by the support from the community,” said Clockwork Throne President Thomas Sitch. “This Kickstarter is going to allow us to finally bring the world a vampire-themed MMO, with gothic story elements, horror, and the ‘coolness factor’ of being a vampire set on ruling the night.”

Flush with all of that future cash, the team apparently funded a trip to the city to interview real vampires during which all of the devs were killed. Or so the following mockumentary videos would have you believe.

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Aion EU kicks off Christmas festivities

It’s beginning to play a lot like Christmas around these here parts. Aion’s European version is getting a jump on the holiday season with the start of its Solorius Festival.

“The gleam of snow and scent of gingerbread: Atreia is full of cheer and getting ready for the Solorius Festival,” the team announced. “The Christmas trees have been decorated, Christmas hats are the latest craze in the towns, and those who are not careful keep finding themselves caught in the crossfire of a rain of snowballs.”

The festival contains many activities, including playing a virtual board game, a Shugo game, the Snow in Atreia event, and plenty more. Even better, there is a string of boosts that will be running through ost of the month to help players with increased drops, AP, and crafting results.

Source: Aion EU

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Battle Bards Episode 110: Acoustic guitar

The Battle Bards are quite familiar with the power of the strummed guitar and lute, knowing that such simple instruments can bring down walls, devastate armies, and dethrone monarchs. But on their off days, acoustic guitars are simply pleasurable to hear and are sprinkled throughout many a-MMO’s soundtrack. It’s six-stringed serenity in the 110th episode of this podcast!

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 110: Acoustic Guitar (or download it) now:

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Another year passes and Jeremy Soule’s Kickstarter album is still unreleased

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.

Source: Kotaku

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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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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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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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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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The Survivalist: ARK Aberration has already been delayed, but here’s what to expect

Surprise! ARK: Aberration, the survival sandbox’s next expansion that was slated to launch this month, is delayed. Shocking, I know. Actually, if any fans were actually surprised, they obviously haven’t been following ARK: Survival Evolved very long. The delay, along with a other news, was announced during Twitch Con 2017; Studio WildCard showed off the expansion to a host of streamers who, in turn, showed the game off to the rest of us. Fans got to see hours of Aberration gameplay, learning little tidbits about the world and its unique flora and fauna as streamers experienced the malfunctioning ARK for the first time. And the world does look fascinating!

Besides the delay and the peek into the underground world, we learned that the Structures Plus mod will be officially integrated into the game. This is fabulous news for builders who’ve been waiting a long while for this feature to get some attention. And for those who want some real-world ARK goodies, the ability to purchase the The Collector’s Edition of ARK: Survival Evolved sans game and expansions was also announced. Also, ARK itself and the expansions are on sale this weekend only.

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