Memories evoked by music

| Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Lately I've been listening to music from WoW. Some of it is beautiful. This might explain why I've also been writing a bunch of WoW posts. I'm spacing them out a bit, because otherwise there would be ten in a day.

I have a habit of linking music with what I'm doing at the time. Consequently, the Coldplay album Rush of Blood to the Head is linked to a few of the Ender novels. The soundtracks for the Lord of the Rings are a slow wake up before I go to high school. Muse takes me all over the worlds within Warcraft. And of course, the music from WoW itself reminds me of what I would do as I heard it.

The Dalaran music, as impressive as it is, merely reminds me of being quite bored while I fished for coins in the fountain.

Zangarmarsh also makes me think of fishing, as I fly around looking for certain pools, as well as the occasional bit of mining. It is leveling music and I've found that leveling music is often my favorite. Elwynn and Barrens music are both very calming to me. But Zangarmarsh is not merely fishing and mining. It's also nervousness, wondering what is just over my shoulder. The habits of a PvP server, rather than a neutral city.

Grizzly Hills makes me think of trees and beautiful scenery, sometimes flying, sometimes riding. It was a place worth riding through, not like that ugly Borean Tundra or the initially pretty Howling Fjord, which rapidly lost its charm.

Nagrand may be my favorite of all. My brain adds to it the clatter of a Turbo-Charged Flying Machine and all the swooshing swinging of me beating up people fleeing the burning wreckage of Halaa. I see myself flying over scenic vistas, swooping down for a mote cloud or adamantite node. Or, inching closer and closer to the edge, trying to get the range for one of the misplaced clouds that players couldn't actually gather from. I wonder if they ever fixed those.

I didn't listen to the game music as much back then, so I don't have any memories of vanilla music beside the Barrens, Elwynn, and Molten Core. The last one evokes a sense of epicness and a total inability to fully comprehend how damn tall the boss is, as well as epic failure, as I did not know that I was not supposed to talk to Domo, so now Ragnaros is slaughtering the raid, to a grand soundtrack.

Do you have any particular memories or feelings linked to game music?


Anonymous said...

I always found the ingame music awesome and very fitting. Yet, I hardly had it turned on. With Teamspeak, important combat sounds and addon-notifiers in my ears the background music was just too noise and distracting. Every 2-3 months though I had to remind myself to turn it on again, because I might have missed the music of whole zones/dungeons.
I fear most players have it turned off and/or their own music as a background, even if they are just herbing/fishing etc.

Shintar said...

There is a certain night-elfy theme that always makes me think of my first time in Ashenvale.

I was a bit disappointed that the Cataclysm broke many of my former associations by changing a zone's music, or worse, replacing it with a theme that used to be played somewhere else. That can really play havoc with a long-time players brain. :S

Kring said...

> the initially pretty Howling Fjord, which
> rapidly lost its charm.

So true. :)

> I wonder if they ever fixed those.

You're talking about an Outlandaclysm, right?

> Do you have any particular memories or feelings
> linked to game music?

For me, the music in all the TBC 5 man dungeons is awesome.

And, of course, Kharazan (which was planned to be a multi wing vanilla 5 man).

> With Teamspeak, important combat sounds and
> addon-notifiers in my ears the background music
> was just too noise and distracting.

There's nothing more epic then not understanding your raid in Teamspeak because the boss is so loud. That always adds to the immersion for me. It feels more like war. :)

Tesh said...

Ooh, too many music-game connections to cite for me. I'm the sort that buys soundtrack CDs and listens to them. My life is saturated with game music, and it's tied to a lot of memories. Chrono Cross, perhaps most of all, and most of the Final Fantasy games.

One that sticks out, though: Annie Lennox's "Walking on Broken Glass" always reminds me of the "BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception" game. I know, that's sort of reverse of what you asked, but it's my strongest association.

Liore said...

I am a terrible Luddite who turned off my in-game music somewhere during TBC and never got around to turning it back on, but I feel downright wistful and misty-eyed when hearing the classic Ironforge trumpet (?) swell.

Anonymous said...

Storm Peaks - when the brass section starts up and you've got the stormclouds rolling on the horizon, it is the most epic zone in the game. Nagrand is a close second.

Coreus said...

Elwynn and Barrens music are both very calming to me

Both of these tunes are create an immensely powerful nostalgia in me every time I hear them. Every.Time. One of the most spine-tingly moments for me playing WoW was in the Cataclysm alpha/beta/whenever they added the new music-- stepping into Elwynn Forest with the new textures and hearing that amazingly lush new arrangement of that familiar motiff. I'm getting goosebumps just recalling it.

Also, go fly through Howling Fjord again. I'm appalled you could forget how amazingly beautiful that zone is.

Anonymous said...

In a kind-of-the-same-thing-but-different way, TV shows do this for me. The husband and I will often have TV on in the background while we play, so every once in a while a certain episode of a show will come on TV, and I'm suddenly transported back to Mulgore. It's always very creepy/surreal.

Klepsacovic said...

Speaking of TV shows, and WoW, does the Northrend transport music not sound a bit like the Firefly music? Not the main theme, but the "and now we're back" sound.

Kal said...

All of Pretty Lights music is both WoW leveling music and running music for me. Both are very grindy by nature, and I like to mentally check out a bit.

I like the in-game music, but I usually only run it for a few days, then turn it off.

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