The theme park ride never ends. Today I thought I'd go through the highlights of the Original and Burning Crusade Soundtrack. The music of World of Warcraft is a journey in its own right. A journey you could miss if you turn it off. I had an AddOn that allowed you to play music in-game without having to tab out. I used that for a while. Sometimes I had youtube running in the background. Sometimes I listened to nothing besides the hum of the computer fan. I always came back to the game music though. So where did it come from?
The soundtracks to World of Warcraft were created by a small group of people. Here they are. They're Blizzard regulars and all worked on the Warcraft III soundtrack. It was made entirely with synthesized instruments because obviously computers make better music than puny humans. The soundtrack is vast in scope, attempting to encompass the world. The original soundtrack had to cover two continents of varying terrain, remember. But how does it measure up?
From what I understand there's no technical tricks or incredibly moving harmonics but there is a harmony. The tracks blend into the scenery, accentuating it without overpowering. Every new area brings the stirring of a tune, a scene setter for what to expect. Of course one of the big flaws of the original game was quantity. There were only so many tracks composed for the first version of World of Warcraft, each divided into shorter subtracks that played individually. A zone or region of the world would have a particular track dedicated to it with its subzones each tied to a subtrack. Thus over the course of exploring the entire zone you would hear the entire track. The problem was though that there were so many zones, not to mention the fact that each zone usually had at least 8 subzones. That's an awful lot of bread to spread not so much butter on. So tracks were re-used. The track to the Barrens also featured in the Blasted Lands. Feralas has the same track as Stranglethorn Vale. Where zones shared a thematic, they also shared a soundtrack. Or was the thematic tie created by the music?
As we've seen some of these zones were neglected in content so naturally they suffered in terms of ambience soundtracks too. The original game was very ambitious and the corners cut show in the dilution of the soundtrack. The Burning Crusade didn't suffer such dilution and comes out feeling a lot stronger because of it. Over the next few posts in this series I'll explore some highlights from the old soundtrack.