We dance when e’er we’re able.

“Finally, no matter how fantastic a game’s music is, when you hear the same music for the thousandth time, you start wanting to change things up a bit. Many players will simply turn the game music off and play their own collections. The problem is that an external music player has no context as to what’s going on in-game. Guild Wars 2 will offer a solution for this as well. We’re giving players the option of choosing external music playlists that the game’s audio engine will use as a replacement for the default in-game music. Players can choose different playlists for background ambience and battle music, for instance. Additionally, when appropriate, such as during cinematics, the game can revert back to in-game music temporarily to give the best possible cinematic experience, then resume the custom playlist when it’s done.”

ArenaNet continue their series of audio design diaries with an interesting piece detailing some of the new features they’ll be adding to the audio system for Guild Wars 2.

As a player of MMOs who generally turns the sound off after a while, I have to say that I’m quite excited at the prospect of being able to tweak the music score when the mood takes me. Jeremy Soule’s soundtracks are always a delight, but still, there are nevertheless going to be days when you just feel the urge to listen to something a bit different.

It’s fun that (they claim) you can pick your own selection of ambient and battle music to be played at the appropriate time determined by the game system, and I’m already considering the excellent possibilities that such a system would allow: battle music set to Yakety Sax, the Ying Tong Song or the The Tra La La Song? How about a hook for when you inevitably run away from combat or attempt to avoid crap mobstacles, for which there can only be one song to bravely throw-in the sponge to. Then there’s the possibility to switch things up a bit, having songs such as Iron Maiden’s Run for the Hills as ambient music, while Eine kleine Nachtmusik tentatively tinkles into your ears whenever an epic battle breaks out.

Once again ArenaNet are making all the right noises, where the overarching impression I take away from their media presentations is one of ‘careful consideration of the issues facing players of MMOs’; it’s encouraging, yet my enthusiasm still can’t help but be tempered by the fact that we’ve heard asseverations like these in the MMO space before, where the resultant game did not seem to deliver anything like the promises of its promoters.

In war we’re tough and able,
Quite indefatigable.
Between our quests we sequin vests and impersonate Clark Gable.

4 thoughts on “We dance when e’er we’re able.

  1. Bronte

    Yes, but this runs the risk of monotony over the course of time as well. Unless they keep making new tunes and adding it to the mix, the sound design will eventually, inevitably stagnate.

    Hell I got sick of listening to my own mp3’s playing Vice City!!

    Captcha Word: “wenis”. OK seriously, are you two fucking with me?

  2. Hunter

    Bronte it sounds as though your variety of music is the problem, not the ability to change it.

    Sounds pretty awesome to me.

    Oh and yes they’re fucking with you.

  3. Jim

    No point to this comment, other than to say I’m hopped up on opiates from getting my wisdom teeth out so it’s really easy to say how much I love this blog and am completely and continually floored by the quality of writing and the creative approach you guys have every day.

    No different from the drunk at the bar saying, “I love you man” but there it is and thanks.

  4. Melmoth Post author

    @Bronte, @Hunter: We’ll know we’re getting bored when we start using classic advertisement jingles for the game’s musical score. Imagine I’d love to be an Oscar Mayer Wiener cracking out from the speakers as your team of heroes charges into battle. Inspiring!

    I think at most we’re tentatively frotting with you, but generally we aim for a more Tantric involvement.

    @Jim: “No different from the drunk at the bar saying, “I love you man””

    Much appreciated as always, Jim. Just try not to throw up on the blogroll. Hope you have a swift recovery from your epic boss fight with the Tooth Fairy.

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