A few weeks ago we witnessed the showdown of the ages (or at least the epoch known as “late January 2019”), as Massively OP readers voted on and debated the best MMO soundtrack of all time. All Time, people. This was no trivial matter! There were links to songs, wails over particular titles being overlooked, and not a small amount of vote brigading going on.
When all was said, done, and voted, we ended up with a list. A top 10 list, as a matter of fact. To be sure, a lot of these votes were based on game popularity and familiarity — seriously, if everyone took the time to go through the Lineage II OST, it would be a crowd favorite — but it’s an interesting assortment that shows our mutual ties to video games and their soundtracks.
So let the countdown begin, as we start at number 10 and make the journey to see which title won the day! What’s the best MMO of all time? You’re about to find out…
10. Final Fantasy XI (2% of MOP reader votes)
Narrowly edging out SWTOR for a spot on this list, FFXI shows that its score is still fondly remembered by fans, even as its younger sibling is better known these days. With acclaimed composer Nobuo Uematsu at the helm, this is a more classic “Final Fantasy” soundtrack and one that has more than a few gems hidden amongst its songlist.
9. EVE Online (3%)
EVE players have a strange and wonderful relationship to the game’s soundtrack. The mostly ambient synth does little to reach out and grab immediate interest, but for those who sailed among the stars for years listening to it, this is the soundscape of the galaxy.
8. Guild Wars 1 (3%) and 7. Ultima Online (3%) [tie]
An exact tie brings us to these two older titles. Guild Wars boasts an amazing symphony by Jeremy Soule that continues to be among the best music that composer has created, while Ultima Online cashes in on the franchise familiarity and fan loyalty with these well-known MIDI tunes.
6. Age of Conan (4%)
While I don’t quite understand the passion some players have for the Age of Conan soundtrack, it’s hard to deny that it boasts a strong following and an array of impressive awards. So what does the soundtrack to a barbaric world sound like? Very beautiful and majestic, to be frank.
5. Guild Wars 2 (4%)
As we turn into the top five, we’re treated to the score to this sequel — and what a score it is! Guild Wars 2’s base score, as done by Soule, is dependably impressive, but even better (in my opinion) are the follow-up expansion and living world soundtracks that were all done in-house.
4. Lord of the Rings Online (6%)
The score of Middle-earth, created by Chance Thomas and many others, helps to bind this setting together to make a believable sounding world. There’s an “old” tone to many of these tracks, with simple and natural instruments such as the guitar and flute make an intimate environment.
3. Final Fantasy XIV (9%)
There were lots of strong feelings and acclaim for Final Fantasy XIV’s soundtrack in the polls, and for good reason. This game’s enormous soundtrack is packed full of masterful and memorable tunes, including some of the most nail-biting boss themes you’ll ever hear in an MMORPG.
2. World of Warcraft (10%)
The enormous past and present playerbase of WoW makes this entry almost a given, even if the soundtrack wasn’t that good. But — no shocker here — it is pretty incredible with so many fan favorites that it is hard to think of one dominant one. Even the game’s more recent soundtracks — Legion and Draenor in particular — are stunning and part of this storied legacy.
1. WildStar (39%)
Jeff Kurtenacker’s video game opus by and large swept the polls — and for good reason. WildStar’s soundtrack is widely cited as one of the best features of the game and the best that the MMO industry has ever produced. There’s a lot of diversity of styles on display here as well, from solemn hymns to goofy jigs to exciting trailer themes to tear-jerking ballads. It’s well deserving of the top spot on this list.