As an MMO music collector, I’ve gathered some really obscure soundtracks over the years, including ones from games that people don’t even remember existing, nevermind having actually played. I won’t lie: Some of these soundtracks are downright forgettable. They might have one or two halfway decent tunes tucked among them, but they certainly do not have enough good tracks to justify a whole column on them. Once in a while there might even be a gem that can be sifted from the pile, but these end up being anomalies.
Back in 2016 I posted a quick list of six great tunes from MMOs that most people had never played, and today, I’m going to do another. Sure, maybe there are a few of you out there who did log into these games back in the day, but chances are that a majority of readers on the site did not. In some cases, the music is all that remains of a long-lost experience.
So let’s see what gems we might uncover today!
“Misty Moors” from Rubies of Eventide
I’m probably not starting on the strongest foot with this uneven track, but there’s something intriguing here with how it’s trying to establish a mysterious atmosphere. It’s definitely synth/MIDI town that peppers in a lot of background sound effects to keep it from being too tranquil. I think that as a zone track, it would certainly be evocative, although probably not to everyone’s taste.
“Deep Sea Palace” from Zu Online
This eastern MMO does sport a few interesting tunes, but Deep Sea Palace really caught my ear with its haunting melody that takes us through a magical place that few have ever seen. While most of the track is relatively quiet, it does build up to this incredible crescendo that makes me want to listen to it all over again.
“Character Selection” from Wizardry Online
There was zero respect from the community for this short-lived Daybreak import back when it was running. The weird setup and buggy experience kept a lot of people away, which means that few ever heard this transcendent character selection music. It’s exactly the kind of peaceful, non-intrusive tune that I would want to hear while fine-tuning my character. Too many character creation themes are loud and jarring, which can make the user feel pressured to get going already. This track? It invites you to take your time.
“Outdoors” from The 4th Coming
Wow! This really old MMO had a couple of strong surprises lying in wait when I came upon its score, and Outdoors bowled me over with this uplifting and stirring synth piece. I don’t know why it gets cut off that early, but from what is present here, this track delivers the goods and then some.
“Psychobilly Slugfest” from Motor City Online
If that previous track was too high fantasy for you, how about some rockabilly for a change? This racing MMO had one of the most audibly distinctive soundtracks I’ve ever encountered, and while I can only take rockabilly in very small doses, I do appreciate the energy and catchy nature of this track.
“Lobby” from Exteel
Ah NCsoft, don’t you get tired of cancelling all of your games? Anyway, here’s the lobby theme to Exteel, which was (I believe) a game of giant fighting robots. When you’re getting amped up for a match, you need the music to match — and this theme does the trick. It’s a lot like adventure movie trailer music that keeps building and building until you’re out of breath just listening to it.