Friday, January 15, 2010

Tickled Pink: Music from the Hearts of Warcraft

This is the final Tickled Pink post. Under this label the staff at the PPI used to give different perspectives on a topic that had tickled our minds. Since Elnia has quit there won't be anymore posts in this series. However, before leaving, Elnia sent me a last idea for a Tickled post. He never finished his part, but since I’ve done mine I could as well publish it. So here we go, tickled one last time!

Tickled Pink
The music is an integral part of Warcraft. From the choral chants of “Lamb of God” while in ghost form, to the swelling chords of Stormwind City, to the soulful punk of the new Icecrown Citadel music transforms the playing experience. In fact, the Blizzard developers have stated that half the size of recent patches is taken up by sound files alone. So what music leaves you Tickled Pink?

Larísa: To be honest I’ve missed out a lot of the music in WoW, if not most of it. There are several reasons for this. One is my former wreck of a computer, with its horrendous lagging. I had to take every possible measure to decrease the strain on the system as I was playing WoW. Apart from putting the graphic settings on a minimum, minimum, this also meant that I had to turn off the music or even the entire game sound, at least as long as I was raiding. It didn’t help much, but it helped a little and every counted.

This problem is gone, and nowadays I can turn on the music as much as I want. But I still miss a lot of it.

Partly I blame my non WoW-playing family members for this. One of the things that annoy them most is when I’m playing with my headset on, since it shields me from taking part in any conversation or noticing when they’re calling on me. When I’m raiding I have to use them, and they accept it since it’s something we’ve agreed on. But at any other time, I try not to use my headset as long as there are people around me. Since the computer is situated in the living room, this is often the case. The more discrete I can be in my playing, the better. So letting the sound come out of the loudspeaker is of definitely out of the question.

But what about the raids then? I surely could listen to the music then, since I have my headset on? Well, I could. But on those occasions I have so many other things to listen to – the instructions and discussions in the vent channel, but also alert sounds coming from a bunch of addons. Even if I do keep the music turned on nowadays, I tend to have it on a very low volume, not to distract me from more important sounds. This means that I don’t notice the music all that much, which probably is a shame.

However, if I was to choose the one piece of music from the game that meant most to me, it wouldn’t be the majestic music from a raid instance. No, it would be the most basic, childish, simple one you could think of: the default music in Elwynn Forest. To me this represents the heart of WoW. It reminds me of my first, innocent, struggling steps in WoW three years ago and it makes me feel cheerful, happy and positive for some reason.

No matter if you’ve had one of those nights when nothing worked the way that you hoped for and you just feel worn out, empty and disappointed. Enter Elwynn Forest, hug a cow, smell a flower, say hello to one of the guards, grab a beer at the inn, listen to the music and remember once again that Azeroth is a wonderful magic fantasy world where anything can happens.

This little melody speaks to me, telling me that there may be heroic deeds to be performed in far distance countries, but in the end every adventurer wants to return one day to the merry, sunny pastures we call “home”.


Fremskritt said...

I keep hearing about the music in WoW, but the truth is, I turned it off years ago and put Winamp in the background instead. Last autumn I turned off all other sounds as well, and to be honest I don't really miss it. Apart from boss emotes that is. But even those get boring quickly.

I actually did try to turn on the music in Northrend once, but turned it off again immediately. Norwegian folk music just isn't my cup of tea, and yes, I am from Norway.

Even though I am primarily Horde, I have had the chance to enjoy the Stormwind music though. It's epic.

Sephrenia said...

There's nothing tht says old raid to me like the music that plays when you're running down the ramp to Ragnaros. I think it's the same music that plays in SFK. It makes my stomach churn - I love it :)

Sephrenia said...

Found it! You can hear it in this video once he's talked to the guy to open the door to the courtyard...

Mmmm - I can close my eyes and see myself running to have a go at Ragnaros with 39 friends :)

Prelimar said...

i *cannot* imagine playing this game without the music. i love it all, i have the music on all the time. it integral to the immersive experience to me. the music of northrend is fantastic, and i often find music from the original soundtrack going through my head in my normal day-to-day life. blizzard did a top-notch job on the music for this game, and i look forward to hearing what they come up with for cataclysm.

G-Rebel said...

Music has the power to stir the soul. So often we will watch a movie, tv show, or play a game and not notice the music even though it's there. For me that means that it's doing its job, the music enhances the environment without ever being the focal point.

I love Elwynn Forest also, it's so light and friendly; makes me feel like I'm at home. Grizzly Hills music is some of the most rustic and beautiful I've ever heard in a game. I think I need to re-travel the world just to listen to the music because I'm sure that I've missed something wonderful somewhere.

Rhii said...

The thing I miss most about the Alliance, since I defected to the Horde side this summer, is the music in Stormwind. I actually bought a copy of the Video Games Live CD so I can listen to the Stormwind theme when I get a craving. It's evocative... regal and triumphant, and in some senses bitter. Very appropriate.

I do like Grizzly Hills too. :)

Kromus said...

The music is sheer delight.

I love the orchestra, I love most of the music.

After thinking about it, my favorite is proberly Elwyn Forest, mostly because of the memories attached. 14, looking for the MMO i've been sorely begging for, and finally, I found it. Level 1 Human Warlock.

I also love the new music in Halls of reflection :D

to each his own, but I wouldn't be able to do that :(

Klepsacovic said...

Have you tried less conspicuous earbuds? Perhaps have then in only one ear; it can be disorienting, but it's a gesture of "I am still listening to the world."

Klepsacovic said...

Have you tried less conspicuous earbuds? Perhaps have then in only one ear; it can be disorienting, but it's a gesture of "I am still listening to the world."

Angelya said...

I loved the music in Wrath so much that I bought the soundtrack.. when I was travelling for 5 months and I missed wow, I'd just play the Dalaran music and it made me feel better :)

I also love the Grizzly Hills music, and the music in Howling Fjord. As for old world, the Stormwind music was great, but who can go past the tunes you hear in the taverns :)

Brooke said...

I made it a point to experience all the music after the release of WotLK. Now the dungeons all have so much more depth to me. The music can really add that little bit of extra, and keep your heart pumping.

Holly said...

I admit I used to keep the music going nearly 24/7 in a lot of ways it is wonderful music. But many many moons ago, when raids had to run back to molten core through BRD 5 at a time, and my priest had +healing instead of +spellpower, my eyes had to be on the game and what I'm doing. Even the tiniest world mob at level 60 proved a challenge likely to take my entire mana bar, and make me curse being a healler, because I was too stubborn to take help, and too poor to take respecs.

These days I admit I even rarely look at the screen, less there be something I need to pay attention to, I've set a mod to ding should I get a poo debuff in nearly every dungeon or raid, I hit the buttons what I hit to do the various things I do (save for healling, then I keep the health bars hovering more right side of my screen. On my second monitor, I watch anime, I watch movies, I read books, I literally don't look at wow much these days while chatting on vent with people I enjoy. I usualy turn on sounds to hear new ones, music when new dungeons launch, new voices, new spell sounds, then back off they go when the n ovelty wears off and I go back to wishing for days when every mob was a boss encounter, of figuring out how much to heal me, and how many smites that were more like sneezes it would take to kill that icy dragon that hid my whelp inside it.

Carra said...

The WoW music played for quite some time. But one day (a year after I started playing? that would be four years ago) I decided to uncheck the "music" checkbox and use my own mp3s.

Putting up some good music can put you in the right state for doing a raid boss. You just have to find the right music.

Now that I think of it, I'll always have some background music playing while I'm playing WoW.

Anonymous said...

Heehee. Sounds like I'm adding to the chorus. I enjoy pretty much all the music in WoW, but have been known to make special trips to Grizzly Hills just to sit by a lake and chill.

Davide said...

If someone say "music in WoW" i immediately think about the music of the Brewfest event: simply wonderful in my humble opinion! You could be of every possible mood, but when this theme started you would have found a smile on your face and your arms moving at the time. For that reason, even now i sometimes put "WoW brewfest" on youtube and re-listen it again. The Horde version is funny, the Alliance is my absolute favourite!

Larísa said...

: I actually think the folk music, for instance in Grizzly hills, fits quite nicely into the atmosphere and settings. It's been a while since last time I did some salmon fishing, but I remember that it was pretty nice if I ever got the opportunity to listen to it.

: that's mighty! I've hardly ever put my foot in there, being alliance, but I liked it!

: oh, you get used to it. I can imagine it's great to be able to listen to the music all the time.

@G-Rebel: re-travel the world actually isn't a bad idea, especially not these days when you have to take a deliberate decision to do so, not just sticking to the dungeon portal clicking.

@Rhii: yep, Stormwind rocks! Glory to the Alliance!

@Kromus: I've only done Halls of reflection once and honestly didn't think about the music then. But I'll make my next time at a time when I can wear a headset and then listen carefully.

: hm... one ear? Are there such headsets? I've got one of those things that make you look like a pilot, with a built-in mic...

@Angelya: oh yes, the inn music! It's great! We're playing it here all the time, I hope you hear it!

@Brooke: I really should try to do this before cataclysm hits. Perhaps a project to work on in pugs I do at night.

@Holly: really? Watching anime, movies? Amazing. I'm really not at that level of playing. It still grabs all of my attention and in raids I can't afford to have loud music distracting me.

@Carra: yeah, sometimes non-wow-music can be good to make you in the right mood. I remember I wrote one post very early about how good Clash was for 5-man instances... Zul Farrak to London Calling... That was good times!

: Grizzly hills again! I see a potential marketgrowth for Scandinavian folk music!

@Davide: hmm... accordion has never been any favorite instrument of mine tbh, but at least it's a very merry little melody, you're right about that!

Davide said...

And what about all the laughing, the "drink! drink! drink!" chorus and so on? ^_^

Larísa said...

Well... I had a little bit of a problem with the extreme drink-until-you-fall-dead theme of Brewfest. I think they went a bit too far on that line.

However - I admit that the voices adds another dimension to it, giving some great atmosphere.