Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #40-31

Justin Olivetti
J. Olivetti|02.25.14

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Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #40-31
MMO main themes hold the potential to be some of the most powerful and magical pieces of music, partly because we associate them with particular games more than anything else. A great theme will dredge up intense memories or euphoria by the third note, and I see composers putting in their all with many of these themes.

A long time ago I did an MMO theme countdown of 20 tracks, but since then I've heard a lot more and have wanted to do the list all over again. So this week in Jukebox Heroes, we're kicking off a countdown of the top 40 MMO themes -- in my opinion, of course. I listened to over 150 themes and spent hours ranking them to create this list.

Because these choices are bound to be a little controversial and stir up debate (which is encouraged!), I set down a few rules that I wanted to share here. I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So no points added or subtracted based on the love of the game; I'm counting down the best music, period. Let's see what numbers 40 through 31 have in store for us!

40. Neverwinter

It starts out very dark and ominous, but like all Cryptic theme tracks, it's grown on me. It's not very complex, and I think it could stand to be sped up a little, but it does enough of a job to get on this list. Bonus: Here's a fan playing it on the piano!

39. Order and Chaos Online

Listen to that bass! Oooh, that bass! Just love it. And I like the theme here a lot, but it's a little too short and far too repetitive to get a higher spot on the list.

38. Dino Storm

No, I had never heard of this game either, but I am jamming to its western/sci-fi theme nevertheless. That electric twang gives it a bite that made it hard to ignore, even if it isn't on the lips of the nation.

37. Ragnarok Online II

Wow, we're really changing things up here, aren't we? Instead of a pounding epic tune, this is a soft, weepy ballad of the sort that you often find in Asian RPGs. It's dead gorgeous, though, and there's even an English version if you want to know what she's singing about (spoilers: it's turtles).

36. Dark Age of Camelot

For my money, this theme sounds a little old and sometimes harsh, but my gut is telling me that it deserves a spot in this countdown even so. Maybe it's because it's given up all pretentions and just gone for a full medieval castle fanfare without any frills.

35. Aura Kingdom

Sometimes you need a theme that just lifts you up and does its darndest to make you feel good, and this is that theme. It's just so very cheery. You win the internet! Yay!

34. Continent of the Ninth Seal

A good action MMO should have an action-packed title theme, don't you think? This is a pretty good one, too, with all of the pulse-pounding beats that makes me wonder what other treasures this soundtrack is hiding.

33. City of Steam

This theme has the clanks that give it a hint of the game's steampunk motif, but it's the strings and female vocals that really captivate me. There's just a rainbow of emotion packed in here.

32. Asheron's Call

I've always gone back and forth on whether I like this theme or it's a little too much. But when that happens, I ask myself, "Would this make for an epic movie trailer soundtrack?" And I have to admit that, yes, it would.

31. RuneScape

This really sounds like a grand overture of a great adventure in the making, which is a terrific state of mind to be in when you're about to log into an MMO. Oddly enough, it's not nearly as good as some of the other tracks in its OST, but it'll make our #31 spot easy.

Next week we'll be counting down numbers 30-21, but in the meantime, sound off in the comments! Which main themes do you think deserve a spot in the top 40?

MMOs aren't just about looks; they also have great soundtracks that often go unnoticed. Heroes don't stand for that! Every Tuesday, Jukebox Heroes will check out a game's soundtrack and feature the best tunes to share and discuss. Your DJ for the hour is Justin Olivetti, and the request line is open!
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