It’s oh so quiet

When I set foot into Bastion of Twilight three weeks ago with my guild, I was excited. I was so curious to see what Blizzard had done with the new instances in Cataclysm. And then, approximately 10 minutes later, I was stunned – by silence. 
“Is my headset broken?”, I wondered, checking my USB hub and ingame sound settings. No, the music was definitely turned on, it was even on loop, as it usually is. Ummm okay, maybe the music comes later, you know when we get further in or face our first encounter.

Nope. It stayed silent in the raid instance and now, four dead bosses later, it’s still quiet. And not just that: it’s the same in the other instances too – there is no soundtrack at all! Where is the music in your new raiding content, Blizzard?

Now you might chuckle at this, because you never have your ingame music turned on in WoW. I know many raiders don’t, they consider it distracting or even annoying. And very rarely, when we’re discussing the most complex fight during a wipenight, I will turn my music off too. But most of the time and certainly by default, I enjoy my music in MMOs. It adds immensely to my gaming experience, it makes a raidnight twice as epic and memories of awesome kills last twice as long (we love you, Raggy!), if they were accompanied by an exciting, bloodrushing score. Never will I forget the dark and wonderful symphony meeting us in Black Temple, when we stepped out of the sewer on our way to Supremus; suddenly clearing all those draconic packs on the way didn’t seem quite so tedious. Even Stumps turned his soundtrack on for that part (and that means a lot).

The silence in Bastion of Twilight or Blackwing Descent is absolutely unnerving. I could take long and boring trash or meager decoration, but the acoustic “nothing” I am met with as I enter these places is vexing me in a way I can only describe as wrong.. Soundtrack is an essential part of MMOs, well at least MMORPGs. It adds depth and wonder to fantastic worlds, it makes us sigh in awe the first time we walk through Elwynn Forest. Music and sound satisfy one of our major senses and shape our reality, inside and outside of games. And Blizzard has always been top notch in this regard: WotLK was a wonderful expansion for soundtrack lovers. Up to date I have collected all the music compilations for WoW.

Yet in Cataclysm, music seems to have become a mere afterthought? I already noticed while leveling in the new zones, that there was no “Grizzly Hills” in Cataclysm and no “Stormpeaks”. The only place I can remember for its music, is Mount Hyjal which has lovely tunes in places. But really, is that it? And: am I the only one noticing or caring about this?

It seems at least one guy did notice on MMO Champion’s forums. Overall it seems however, and I probably shouldn’t be surprised, that the vast majority of the playerbase does not consider the lack of music any loss in Cataclysm… For me, the shiny world of WoW, the beautiful maps and soundtrack, have always been essential – the one big veto for WoW; if all fails, there is still that art in the game I can enjoy.
I don’t know what I’ll do if Blizzard slowly takes that shine away too.

Have a good weekend everybody. And remember to listen to some music sometime.


  1. omg.. I _thought_ it was quiet.. but I put it down to me having _all_ my sounds turned down rather low because there is a guy talking on Vent that is really really quiet, and what with straining to hear what he is saying while trying to block out the sounds of Pocoyo, and the 3 year old wanting me to plant mushrooms and wahhh I want you to play your dwarf mummy instead, she can make people into frogs.. I just missed it. WAH. No music :/

    I love the music of WoW.. it was one of the things that hooked me on the game in the first place. The number of people who say Kara is the best raid instance ever, mostly do it because of the atmosphere, and the music is _such_ a big part of that.

    No raiding music makes me sad 🙁

  2. I … err … didn’t notice.

    Now I do need my audio turned on, but I usually don’t run the music loudly. I rely rather heavily on the audio clues while tanking – I need to know when I missed or got parried and this is only possible when the sound is up!

    Akilzon was a nightmare – I basically had to turn the sounds down to hear the rainstorms on time.

    However, I am with you. I think the game should have music, and I do like some of them (Grizzly Hills and even the old Stormwind are nice). I’m just a good bit oblivious to it, and thus can’t really provide an argument for having music.

    “I want music in the game, I’m entitled to music in the game, the music is what makes your game great – oh yeah, no, I turned it off” maketh not a cunning speech.

  3. I often go hang out in the Storm Peaks just for the music.

    And the Molten Core music still gets me stirred up. It’s possibly my favourite WoW music, even after all this time.

  4. I will admit, I hadn’t noticed. I’m one of those people who have music off for the most part (like a previous commenter I have people who speak quietly on vent). I have sounds on, but music off – or at least very quiet, so I hadn’t noticed.

    That is a shame though, cause some of the music is really good. I usually go through periods when I will turn all the music back on, but I guess for raids there’s no point then 🙁

  5. Are you sure about this? At least it’s not like this in all zones. I recently quested through entire Vashj’ir and I definitely noticed the music, which I thought was appropriate for the underwater atmosphere.

    But maybe you’re right. I’ll have to listen a bit more attentive to see if something has changed. For my own part I appreciate the small changes they’ve done to the original music. The inn music, the Elwynn music etc is almost the same, but still somehow renewed. I like that. Oh and Don Morogh had a ton of music with the clock-imitating thing that was perfect for a gnomish setting.

  6. @ Issy
    It makes me sad too. 🙁
    maybe they’ve just totally overlooked this detail when creating Cata, no idea. I can’t understand why the raids wouldn’t have music.

    @ Koch
    Hehe well, as long as we can agree that there SHOULD be music, whether you listen to it or not, we’re good!

    It happens to the best! 🙂
    And Stormpeaks, oh my…spent hours there at night on the minefield, listening to the song. And GH too, that place was wonderful (and it had bambi and stumper lol).

    Indeed, in raids you won’t be able to tell the difference…

    The zones all do have music yes, but I’m still trying to find the beautiful and stunning pieces – I can’t say it’s been easy so far. Like you said, places like Vash’jr have music that fits, but it’s more ‘atmospheric’ there, an addition in the background and not really a carrying tune. Hyjal so far is the only zone I found interesting for its music.

    The raids are however quiet, it’s horrible.

    And I loved what they did to the old zones too, some great ‘new old’ music in Azeroth! I’ve enjoyed that very much in 4.1.

  7. I can’t raid without the music – it’s just too soul-less. I usually have it on very quietly though, so it doesn’t interfere with actual communication. I’ve only been into a raid a couple of times so I haven’t noticed the absence yet but … *howl*. GIEF MUSIC PLOX! I can only presume it’s an oversight because there are some wonderful scores in the new expansion. Every time I go into Grim Batol I have to physically stop myself running away to watch Lord of the Rings.

  8. @Tam
    Hehe, I can actually not recall Grim Batol’s score right now, but Gilneas is absolutely wonderful too.
    If it is indeed an oversight, I have a hard time understanding how that would be possible – 2 years between WotLK and Cata and none of them ever noticed their raids have no music? 😀
    and yet, it’s possible! fills me with hope!

    I can only guess what that would be. No thanks? 😛

  9. I wondered about that myself, but I’m having some weird glitch in my raid environments right now where the combat sounds continue 10-15 seconds after the fight is completed (most noticeable on trash) so I just assumed it was the same error.

    I find this rather disappointing because I find the music of a place really adds to the experience. However, on the other hand, I often turn OFF the music when we’re first running encounters because I simply cannot handle any more input. Depends on how distracting it is!

  10. I have to admit I hadn’t noticed this either, but like Windsoar I’m suffering from the weird combat sound effect bug, which is very annoying and distracting, so I don’t think I would have noticed the music either way.

    What I can remember of Cataclysm music in general is a bit of a mixed bag. I think several of the new tunes playing in the zones are too “strong” for background music, meaning that even if you liked them at first they start to get on your nerves a bit after so much repetition because they keep demanding attention. Orgrimmar’s music is a prime contender here. The one bit of new music that I really remember and liked is a tune that starts playing in the Barrens when you approach Ratchet – it’s an upbeat, adventurous melody and gives the event an almost cinematic feel: adventurers discover a town, behold!

    But to get back to the raid music, there is probably hope. People might remember that Karazhan was originally a quiet place as well, with the music not getting added until later, and yet people still remember it as very iconic today (see Issy’s comment).

  11. I haven’t been in BoT yet, but I have noticed the BWD music! Unfortunately, I noticed it just enough to go “god this is boring; it’s the same as like 4 other zones! which are also boring!”

    Of the new music, I like the pieces you can hear at Camp Taurajo, Ashenvale, and the lake on the border of northern Feralas (you have to fly up there, and I don’t think it’s used for anything although there is a camp of allies up there…). Those are all very moving or exciting pieces for me.

    I DON’T like the music in Felwood. In fact I could safely say that I loathe it. It can be summarized as *quiet..quiet…BWAAAAMP…*

  12. I haven’t been to the Bastion of Twilight yet but I do remember something similar happening elsewhere, where there was absolutely no background music and I had to double check to make sure my sound was still on. It was so eerie.

    I always have my game music on because I just adore almost all of it. To me, it’s one of the key elements to setting the mood and I don’t know how others can live with it off. It’s also one of the reasons I got the collector’s edition of Cata, so I could have the soundtrack. I find that it’s great to listen to while I’m at work and it really lowers my stress level.

    Hopefully the lack of music was just an oversight when they were scrambling to finish Cata for release. They can fix that sort of thing in a patch, right? >.>

  13. While missing the music in a raid instance is not good, otherwise Cata music is great, not only are there great pieces in nearly all new zones, there is also a virtul tide of new music all around the old world in the revamped leveling zones.

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