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The music of Wrath of the Lich King

Zach Yonzon

Wrath of the Lich King is shaping up to be one hell of an expansion. It looks like Blizzard has pulled out all the stops with remarkable quest design, breathtaking landscapes, and even wonderful music that really sets the mood for adventuring in Northrend. Even though World of Warcraft allows players to access iTunes from within the game -- and I know a lot of players turn up their own music when playing -- I highly recommend playing Wrath with the music on and turned up when it finally hits retail.

Music in World of Warcraft has always been a point of pride for Blizzard, with their work on Karazhan being widely praised for setting a great mood and being enjoyable overall. The music in Wrath continues that tradition with scores from Blizzard veterans Russell Brower, who composed the login screen theme for the new expansion. Brower was also behind the music for The Burning Crusade login screen as well as the affecting melodies of Eversong Woods and the Ghostlands (some co-written with New Age musician David Arkenstone and fellow Blizzard veteran Jason Hayes).

Dragonblight has one of the most haunting background melodies I've heard in the game so far, and its music is part of why WoW Insider's Elizabeth Harper considers it to be her favorite zone. Composed by Derek Duke, who has also done work on other Blizzard games such as Warcraft III, the themes vary from day to night and set a somber tone throughout the scarred zone. It's not something that jumps out at you when you play, but certainly sets the ambiance even when played at a moderately low volume.

In the game files, there are contributions from Blizzard musical director Glenn Stafford, as well, who composed my favorite themes from Warcraft III such as Lordaeron Fall and Frostmourne. Although I haven't heard all the music for all the zones -- the game files suggest that they're not entirely done, either -- I'm looking forward to the music in higher level zones such as Icecrown Glacier and of course, my favorite zone, Lake Wintergrasp. There's certain to be some chilling music in the Caverns of Time: Stratholme, too and I'm excited to finally hear the sounds inside Naxxramas. With the attention that Blizzard is paying to every aspect of the game, I'm not surprised it's taken them this long to come out with the expansion. If anything, hearing the music of Wrath of the Lich King has only gotten me more excited for the much-anticipated cinematic rumored to be due in Leipzig this weekend. Hopefully, they'll include a soundtrack in the Collector's Edition just like they have in the past. For me, it's certainly one more reason to order one.

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