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!
18. Lineage II
I’ve often said that Lineage II has one of the most underappreciated MMO soundtracks out there. It is simply stunning, and this theme is a perfect introduction as to the quality and production value that’s at play here. It also starts out sounding a lot like the soundtrack to Dances with Wolves, but doesn’t end there!
“This is probably my favourite track out of any MMO,” wrote reader Oleg. “Only other tracks from Lineage II can compare. And I didnt even play this game.”
17. EverQuest II
It may “just” be a remastered and lengthened version of the classic EverQuest theme, but I still get goosebumps hearing this theme. It’s such a quintessential fantasy track that communicates so well what you’re getting into with this game.
Reader Mailvaltar explains the pick: “There are a lot of themes that I like, but I only voted for EverQuest II because I listened to this for literally at least a thousand times. Not only do I like it very much, it also brings lots and lots of good memories from my most- and longest-played MMO.”
16. Guild Wars 2
I was well and truly surprised that we didn’t see more votes for Guild Wars 2’s theme, considering the game’s popularity and even how well-respected its OST is in the community. But it’s still gratifying to see that it made the countdown.
It’s an epic theme in its own right, but one that is tonally full of dread and conflict even as it weaves in magical and defiant cues. I am not always a fan of the heavy use of choir, and by the end of this track there’s almost a cacophony going on. It’s a decent prelude, but there are so many better tracks from this game as a whole (including what I used to think was the main theme, which turned out to be the Norn theme).
Let’s keep the Guild Wars train chugging along, shall we? Prophecies’ theme comes next up on the list, which I imagine for both its sublime beauty and the fact that this was the original that kicked everything off. It’s definitely more old-school Jeremy Soule, more akin to his Morrowind days than his Skyrim era. I actually like that, because it takes the time to softly tell a story instead of getting too hyperactive with the trumpets and cymbals.
Is it cheating to include a track that was, technically, used in a movie first and then coopted for the MMO? Is it a shame that it wasn’t higher up on this list? Ah, who cares, I get to listen to some classic John Williams — and my favorite Star Wars tune of all time. It’s so mysterious and emboldening, and forever will it be linked to my childhood’s memories of this franchise. I imagine that hearing this day in and day out of playing SWG must have cemented this track as a classic in some players’ minds.
13. World of Warcraft (original)
In my opinion, there’s no finer main theme to WoW than the very original (which I wish was still being used, to be honest). Seriously, listen to this track! It starts out so strong, like a marching army, then transitions into this swirly magical bridge, then crashes into a wild and exciting climax. Plus, it helps that we heard this for well over two years when we first started playing.
“Legends of Azeroth kicks me in the nostalgia and gets me fired up for a bit,” recommended reader John. Sir, I concur.
Tune in next week as we head into the top 10 MMO theme tracks as voted on by you!