Jukebox Heroes: Exploring EverQuest’s official soundtrack

    
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It is fairly rare for an MMORPG to sell an official soundtrack these days unless the game is fairly prominent (i.e., Final Fantasy XIV and Elder Scrolls Online) or the score is critically acclaimed. It’s doubly rare for a much older game to stealth release an album without much fuss at all.

And yet this seems to have happened with the original EverQuest. A little while back, Daybreak packaged up a 24-track album for the game’s modern-sounding score and put it on places like Amazon. This release was so quiet, in fact, that I only recently found out about it. Considering how few views it has on YouTube, I think this passed by most people’s attention.

While I’ve listened through a great deal of EverQuest’s score in the past, I approached this album with great interest to see if there undiscovered tracks or new versions to be had. Today, we’ll be exploring the highlights of this official soundtrack release and demonstrating that even when an MMO is long in the tooth, it can still jam with the best of them.

“Main Theme”

What is there to say about this one? EverQuest’s title theme is still one of the most recognizable in the genre. I love how unashamed it is to go full-on high fantasy, even though at times it borders on cheesy. If you can walk away from a theme and hum it easily, then it’s a good composition in my book.

“Sunrise over Qeynos Hills”

While this might sound a bit like the score to a Pepperidge Farm commercial, I suppose that’s because there’s a type of “happy morning” soundtrack that makes its way into different mediums. This is a warm, chirpy track that reminds you that it’s time to get out of bed and start grinding your way through the next hell level.

“Norrathian Seas”

I’m pretty dang sure I’ve never heard this one before, and that’s a shame because it is a trippy little piece. The background has that bubbly, underwater quality to it, but the main melody is all breathy flutes and tappy drums. For a nautical theme, it’s about as jaunty as they come.

“The Gypsy’s Trek”

The rich acoustic guitar caught my attention with this simple yet effective piece. It’s sort of a slowed down dance that rolls inspiration, struggle, and endless journey all into one.

“Dawn Over Norrath”

It’s another sunrise track! This one, for the life of me, sounds like the background music for an EverQuest breaking news broadcast or something. At least the beginning. The piano comes in a little too strong for my taste, but overall it’s a highly optimistic piece that couldn’t be pulled off in most games.

“Faydark”

The combination of the low humming and those fast-moving guitar picks gives Faydark an immersive atmosphere from the start. It definitely sparks my imagination and would make any adventure into a region sporting this track a real treat.

“The Jaunty Bardic Song”

This right here might well be my favorite EverQuest track of all time. I previously knew this as the Bard Guild song, but I’ve never heard it outside of a barebones MIDI format. I like how this is fleshed out with a wider range of instruments while continuing to convey this earworm of a track.

MMOs are meant to be heard as well as seen, and chances are that music ties your memories to these games more than you might realize. Every two weeks Jukebox Heroes listens through a game soundtrack and picks out the highlights to share and discuss. And if you like this column, then don’t miss the author’s MMO music podcast, Battle Bards!
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PepinoCantador

Decades later, and that main theme still gives me tingles.

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thalendor

Ah, the EverQuest sound track always brings back memories…

flatline4400
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flatline4400

Great memories of all these songs. It’s hard to get that 1999 Soundblaster FM Synth feel nowdays though! Had to hunt down and install a midi bank and the original EQ Midis, and it’s almost as good… These are a nice update though!