Friday, February 12, 2010

MMOs versus Music

When I solo in MMOs I usually run i-tunes in the background. Mainly I play electronica (from experimental to mainstream), or electronic pop bands (think Radio Head or Bjork). I was a dance monkey in my youth, and I still like to hear beats while I beat my foes with a giant sword (though my clubbing days did not in any way involve violence or giant swords). But I listen to a lot of random stuff, from world music to classical. Listening to whatever music I feel like while I run around makes soloing in MMOs a lot less grindy to me.

The music doesn't always help with my immersion, however. I can tell when I've hit a really good piece (to my tastes) because it takes me right out of the game. I stop caring about whatever I'm doing, I just want to listen. If I can port out to a safe spot I will. At the very least, I'll finish up my current combat as quickly as possible and run to a spot that looks safe. Sometimes I will log out altogether and just bliss out for an hour or so while whatever I am listening to plays out. That sounds alone can produce such rapture never ceases to amaze me.

[This post inspired by a recent encounter with Vivaldi.]


  1. That either sounds really good for the music you're listening to or bad for the game you're playing. I tend to play music during games that I've spent a lot of time in, like WoW. I love WoW's music, but not for two years straight. :)

  2. @Anjin: It reflects on the music more than the game. I recently found a really exceptional version of the Four Seasons. The director and performers put as much tension into it as the music will hold and still remain what Vivaldi wrote.

    You touched on a tangent that I don't think has been discussed much. The best MMO music in the world still isn't going to last you forever and ever. I remember how awesome I thought the music in WoW was when I first started playing. A year later, not so much.

    More recently, Age of Conan has the best music I've encountered in a game for a good long while. I had the in game music going for exactly one week before I went back to i-tunes. When I hit a new zone I start the in game music again for a few days to hear the theme until I get tired of it.

  3. Most of the time I do not play any music while playing, or possibly play something on the radio at the same time.

    Most of the time I have not been bothered so much by the music that is there, even if it can become repetitive after a while. There are a few cases where the music is really annoying, but in most cases I do not really think about it unless the music is very good.

  4. I used to play music all the time, but I've since switched to listening to podcasts when soloing.

    I'm right with ya on how affecting music can be. Both emotionally and as a mechanism to surface memories.