As a fan of video game music, I get ridiculously excited when it comes time for World of Warcraft to release a new expansion. I know this means we are about to be gifted a wealth of soundtrack goodness, both in quality and quantity.
However, I was a little nervous about Battle for Azeroth, because Blizzard almost had set the bar too high with Legion and Warlords of Draenor — two expansion OSTs that are the finest the game has enjoyed to date. Would BFA measure up? Was there any room for new fantasy themes to be added to the game?
I need not have worried. While not quite as astounding as the previous two expansions, Battle for Azeroth’s score is rather well-done all around and ranks very highly in my personal estimation of this game’s ever-growing soundtrack collection. Let’s listen to a few highlights!
Before the Storm
When it comes to World of Warcraft’s expansion soundtracks, everyone leaps for the (new) main theme first. Does it stack up? Is it still epic? What will we be listening to for the next two years?
It’s always a little hard to review these, because the main theme is always a combination of classic WoW’s theme and an overture of the themes that are found in the rest of the soundtrack. For Battle for Azeroth, it’s a lot of angry battle, choral chants, and the delightful tribal music that I’ll be talking about… right now.
Might of Zandalar
Having played back and forth between the Alliance and Horde areas, I can say that the latter aren’t nearly as fun or interesting to me. Then again, that’s usually how I feel about the Horde, so your mileage may vary. Yet when it comes to themes, the Horde has a hands-down winner with Might of Zandalar.
After an opening minute of filler, some breathy flutes usher in this powerful and highly memorable theme. As I’m typing this, I’m blasting it at full volume because it deserves nothing less. There are so many layers to the one-minute core theme that I could listen to it on repeat for quite a while to pick them all out.
The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar delivers a warm, homey feel full of bustling energy and exotic moments. It’s the kind of track that you hear and instantly feel as though you’ve been transported to another land. For me, I got more of a South American vibe than anything else, with more natural-sounding instruments dominating and giving a tribal feel.
If you love puns, then you’ll appreciate the literally named Dive Bar that can be found underwater off of Anyport. As with the goofy inhabitants and concoctions (what does one drink while under the sea?), the atmospheric music is silly, manic, and even somewhat reminiscent of John Williams’ classic Star Wars cantina theme.
Pride of the Seas
This track is the Alliance’s Might of Zandalar, a majestic piece that’s full of blaring horns and crashing cymbals. It’s all about power, victory, and heritage shaped into the form of a high seas adventure. This would be totally at home in any good pirate or period naval movie, don’t you think?
Time & Tide
I feel like this is my dark horse pick for this soundtrack. There were a lot of other worthy contenders, but Time & Tide enchanted me from the first time I listened to its emotional journey. It’s at times overpowering and subtle, but always drifting in and out much like its namesake. Some of my favorite WoW cues are ones that tap into an inner connection between the player and the game, and I think that this track is one of those conduits.