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Posts with tag Music

Story and Sound: Mozart would be writing the World of Warcraft


I've been thinking a lot lately about the dynamics of telling a story. What exactly is a story? How do you tell it most effectively, both from an artistic narrative stand point, and a consumer-friendly attention grabbing one? I've also been concerned with new ways to tell a story, especially one that people might discount at first since the story mechanism lives on the edge of pop culture.

Besides working on WoW Insider, I also make my home at the Minnesota Opera, working on their website and advancing an opera's story through digital mediums. Opera is an old art form, one that if not nurtured and brought into the next century is at risk of becoming obscure. I'm proud to work for a company that realizes this and does some really ground breaking things.

It struck me recently when sitting through a dress rehearsal the eerie similarities between Warcraft and an opera like The Magic Flute. After thinking about how very like these two story-telling vehicles are, I realized that they are both just a natural progression in humanity's ability to tell a story.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Video Games Live heads around the world on tour

Video Games Live, which plays your favorite video game music (including some of WoW's greatest hits) with a full orchestra, is off on a world tour this year. This means that wherever you are, there's a reasonable chance they'll be playing somewhere in the vicinity. The tour kicked off in Phoenix, Arizona this weekend and is heading to Mexico before jumping around the US and then moving on to China, the Middle East, Europe, South America, and Canada. (Sorry, Australia!)

If you're interested in catching Video Games Live, well, live, check out their tour dates page for tickets and backstage packages -- though tickets to shows later this year and next year aren't available yet. And if they aren't stopping anywhere in your area, they have three albums of great gaming music -- Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 -- available on iTunes and Amazon to get your game on.

Filed under: News items

Video Games Live Level 3 album out now


If you're a fan of great video game music, you're probably familiar with Video Games Live, which produces orchestral arrangements of songs from your favorite games. Last year, frontman Tommy Tallarico took to Kickstarter to fund VGL's third album, Level 3, and the finished product is now available on iTunes and cdbaby. (Kickstarter backers, don't fret -- digital downloads and physical rewards will be headed your way soon.)

On the Warcraft front, the album features VGL's take on Invincible from Wrath of the Lich King (zoom the video above to 4:25 for a preview). If you're interested in picking up your own copy you can get Invincible for $1 or the entire album for $10 -- and if you enjoy Level 3, you should definitely check out VGL's back catalog which features more music from World of Warcraft and plenty of other games.

Filed under: News items

Yes, you can play WoW on a MIDI keyboard


Though we hadn't previously considered this particular gameplay option, Reddit user Apterygiformes has rigged up a MIDI keyboard to send commands to his computer that are read as keystrokes in WoW. It doesn't look terribly practical -- Apterygiformes says the project is just for fun -- but we have to admit, the piano accompaniment to this lowbie hunter's gameplay is certainly interesting... though we're guessing it took some setup to give it any kind of musical quality.

But it leaves us wondering what other WoW classes might sound like when played in this manner. With different skills and cooldowns, wouldn't each class would have its own musical soundtrack to enjoy? Without any musical skill of our own, we'll have to content ourselves with seeing if Apterygiformes continues this particular experiment.

Filed under: News items

"Invincible" and other great WoW arrangements by June Lee


We know some of you prefer to play with the game sound muted, but we're big fans of the World of Warcraft soundtrack -- and if you are, too, we think you'll enjoy June Lee's WoW arrangements. We've talked about Lee's excellent arrangements of WoW tunes before, and we continue to be impressed by his latest -- a string quartet playing Wrath of the Lich King's "Invincible." However, if strings just aren't your thing, earlier this month he posted a piano arrangement of "Invincible." If you like what you hear, Lee has a bunch of other instrumental arrangements on his YouTube channel, all of which impress.

Prefer the soundtrack just as it is? Then you might be interested in checking out the previews of the Warlords of Draenor soundtrack from Blizzard. Spoiler alert: we think they're pretty great, too.

Filed under: Arts and Crafts

Preview the Warlords of Draenor soundtrack

Something you may have missed amongst all of the BlizzCon coverage from last month was that Blizzard posted 4 tracks from the Warlords of Draenor musical score. They're tucked away in the corner of the media section on the Warlords website as MP3 file downloads. You can find them here on the official website or download them directly below. The "Gardens of Karabor" track may remind you of the original Black Temple theme from The Burning Crusade with a new twist. New music for the Alliance capital perhaps? "The Clans Join" will remind you of current Horde themes, only much more ... savage (I knew I could work that word in somehow). "Magnificent Desolation" is definitely my favorite of the bunch. I can't wait to hear the rest of the music.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: What are your favorite in-game tunes?

It's no secret that we think WoW has a great soundtrack, but with unique musical accompaniments for each zone, city, and dungeon it can be hard to pick favorites. But if you're anything like the WoW Insider crew, there are some zones where you turn the volume up and tracks that you keep on your music player to make your workday commute seem a bit more epic.

So today we're asking: just what is your favorite WoW music and how do you listen to it? Do you keep your game music in game, do you spend extra time in your favorite musical zones, or do you simply add your favorite tracks to a playlist for any-time entertainment?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Are we ready for WoW: The Musical?

draenei with bow
The more I hear about the Warcraft movie, the more excited I get. Everything seems to be lining up pretty well so far, and what we finally see on screen will no doubt live up to Blizzard's exemplary cinematic standards. But I think it's safe to assume that we'll probably see a fairly straight narrative story.

Is there a different option? Following certain horrible precedents, could something like WoW: The Musical work out? Imagine Thrall singing an Azerothian, "I dreamed a dream of Horde's gone by!" or Ragnaros reprising some version of Hellfire. All things considered, maybe the music of Warcraft resembles in-universe chants like we saw from the Hobbit movies. Music, sure, but music that makes sense in the theme of the story.

I can't help but hope, though. And if our favorite characters were to bust out into song, what would they sing? What kind of music are you hoping to see in the movie?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Do you play with music on or off?


World of Warcraft has an incredible soundtrack that I occasionally listen to even when I'm not gaming -- and I especially enjoy live performances, like Video Games Live and the Video Game Music Choir above. However, when I am gaming, I often do so with the sound muted -- and I'm guessing I'm not the only one. Often when playing -- especially doing the same old dailies or leveling another character through a zone I've cleared a dozen times -- I'm multitasking with the television on to something more exciting than the same old thing. But I know this means I'm missing out on WoW's great music, but sometimes I'm just not that interested in the level of immersion a good soundtrack would provide.

So it usually surprises me when I somehow manage to unmute the music -- say, running a fresh install of the game -- and I'm reminded how great the game music actually is. But tell me, readers -- do you play with the music on or off?
Do you play WoW with the music on or off?
Always on! The game has great music.1431 (36.3%)
It depends; sometimes off and sometimes on.1601 (40.6%)
I always play the game muted. I prefer my own soundtrack!907 (23.0%)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Video Games Live Kickstarter project heads to the finish line

It's going to be a photo finish for the Video Games Live's Level 3 project on Kickstarter, which is in its final days with nearly $30,000 to raise to meet its goal. If you're not familiar with Video Games Live, it's a group headed by Tommy Tallarico that tours the country playing live orchestral arrangements of video game music -- and the group has frequently graced the BlizzCon stage. The current fundraising campaign is aimed at producing the group's third studio album -- dubbed Level 3 -- and though they haven't finalized the tracklist yet, it will feature tracks VGL hasn't yet tackled from games like Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger/Cross, Shadow of the Colossus, Skyrim, Journey, Monkey Island, Destiny, DOTA, Assassin's Creed, Earthworm Jim, Silent Hill, Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Super Smash Bros., Metroid, Donkey Kong Country, Mass Effect, Katamari Damacy, BioShock, Beyond Good & Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Street Fighter II, Uncharted, Portal, Tetris, Red Dead Redemption, Devil May Cry, Megaman, Soul Calibur, Resident Evil, Pac-Man, and our favorites, World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. Blizzard tracks from WoW and Diablo are confirmed to be on Level 3 -- so we may be treated to a studio version of Invincible, as played by Video Games Live in the video above.

Sound interesting? It's not too late to chip in -- and pick up a ton of great video game music for a very modest cost. Backers can get Level 3 as well as VGL's earlier albums and plenty of other extras: check Kickstarter for all the details.

Filed under: News items

Hearthstone's tavern-style music available to stream or download

Hearthstone's tavernstyle music available to stream or download
If you have a love for video game music or just Blizzard music or just Hearthstone music, you'll be pleased to know that Blizzard has posted several of Hearthstone's music tracks online for the very affordable price of free. So if you're in the beta, but enjoy Hearthstone's tavern-style tunes -- or you aren't in the beta but really want to be -- you can download or stream three Hearthstone tracks from the game's media page. Whatever your interests, they're good listening -- and if you want to know more about the music itself, Destructoid has a music-centric interview with Hearthstone team members Eric Dodds, Jason Hayes, and Peter McConnell.

Still need more music? Blizzard tunes have recently been added to the Video Game Music station on Pandora. Rock on!

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

The music of Mists with Russell Brower

The music of Mists with Russell Brower
Blizzard's Community Management team sat down with Russell Brower for an interview on the creation of not only the soundtrack to Mists of Pandaria but other game sound elements as well. Russell talks about the constant immersive properties of music, quoting a friend in saying that "the ear doesn't blink", and linking that to something that I think Blizzard does a great job of, providing music that contributes to an area's feel, atmosphere, and quality. I don't ever play without the game sounds and music switched on, nor do I play with other music playing in the background -- doing all these things affects my enjoyment of the game, and Russell says that his team strive to keep people's game sounds turned on. One thing he added that made me laugh was that the team had to tone down the sound made by the launcher when the game download is finished:
...after two hours of installing, suddenly the game will go "BOOM!!" when it finishes. People started to install games with the sound off
Brower goes on to recall that so many people hated the constant roaring on the Sindragosa fight in Wrath, which I'm sure will resonate with a lot of our readers. What other game sounds would you like to hear toned down? Personally, the noise that mage tables made rates pretty high on my dislike list.

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Filed under: Blizzard

The Queue: Music is distracting

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Sarah Pine (@ilaniel) will be your host today.

Thanks to tumblr for introducing me to the Armenian pop singer Sirusho. I can't get this song out of my head, despite not understanding a word of it. This video in particular has been praised for featuring some wonderful Armenian design, and it's easy to see why!

Ron2 asked:

What's your favorite class and/or race for a gathering alt? Horde or Alliance, Mining, Herbing, and/or Skinning, I leave that up to you.

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Filed under: The Queue

Poll: What zone has the best music?

map of azeroth
I'm going to open this one with a personal story. In 2009 at a Blizzcon party, I had the good fortune to be introduced to Russell Brower, and I promptly went all starry-eyed and gushed about how much I loved WoW's music. His face lit up and he said, "Oh you are just the best thing!" and kissed my hand. Then asked me what my favorite was. My answer was immediate, and without hesitation: Black Temple.

Now, let's fast-forward to today, in 2013, almost four years later. Has my answer changed? Maybe. Black Temple is still definitely up there, but I'm not sure it's the out-and-away winner anymore. With Cataclysm many of the zones got updated music, so areas I wasn't super enthused about before suddenly became much more compelling. In the end, the five I've come up with are Grizzly Hills (a perennial favorite), Black Temple (still love it), Ashenvale ("Nightsong" alone makes this nomination), Karazhan (haunted mansion!), and Kun-Lai Summit (mostly for "Way of the Monk," which plays upon entry into the Temple of the White Tiger). Vote on your favorite in the poll, but don't think this is the definitive list. I'm sure there are plenty of zones I've overlooked, so tell us what I've missed in the comments.
Which zone has the best music?
Grizzly Hills2399 (49.8%)
Black Temple300 (6.2%)
Ashenvale597 (12.4%)
Karazhan955 (19.8%)
Kun-Lai Summit569 (11.8%)

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Are you listening to Pandaria while you quest?

I love the soundtrack for Mists of Pandaria. They didn't have music enabled on the beta servers at first, it was patched in much later during the beta process. But the few themes that I heard were striking, beautifully performed and went with the scenic landscapes I was exploring. I figured getting the Collector's Edition was a given because I really love the art books, but the soundtrack was also a bonus. And as I leveled in Pandaria this week, I did so with the music on, because I liked the tracks I heard in beta.

And then I walked into the inn at Halfhill and was greeted with the above tune.

I didn't really think there was anything that could make me love Pandaria even more than I already do, but this jaunty little ditty sealed the deal. I love this expansion. I love how there's dark moments, but woven in between are these crazy little moments that lighten everything up. The inn music with its cheeky kazoo theme immediately reminded me of our dearly departed and missed cohort in crime Mat McCurley and his crazy kazoo on the WoW Insider Show.

Needless to say I have yet to turn off the music in game, but I do wonder about everyone else. Are you listening to Pandaria while you level? What do you think of the music in the game? Do you prefer listening to your own tunes, or do you like listening to the game soundtracks? And perhaps the most important question of all -- kazoos. Coolest thing ever, or coolest thing ever?


It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Mists of Pandaria

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