Category Archives: Battle Bards

Battle Bards Episodes #17 – #19 and yet more Links, so many Links!

I am a slacker when it comes to updating news for the world’s most famous, and only, MMO music podcast. That’s because we already have a fabulous stand-alone page for which Tesh, Lord of the Tinker Dice (and deck!), was so kind to design the logo. I am simply assuming that anyone following Syp, MMOGC or myself is following that page too but then I’m probably mistaken. So, let’s round things up then, shall we!

Early December made for a particularly nostalgic episode 17 in which the bards visited the music of MMO starting zones – a topic dear to many players. Even if you tend not to care much for soundtrack, you will probably remember a track or two from bygone starting zones or that’s my experience talking to other players, anyway. Back in WoW, it was always Elwynn Forest vs. the Barrens; which side are you on?

For Christmas, Syp decided it was time for payback (probably for episode 15) and to pay homage to Vanguard; a game neither myself nor Steff played much and had the hardest time listening to. Vanguard has made for my most difficult picks on the podcast thus far and our regular listeners will notice us squirming and fighting for words which happens rarely enough.

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Being the jolly ironic bunch that we are, we celebrated this New Year with an episode on “Dead MMOs“. One might say the podcast can only get livelier from here. No really, looking back on the music of MMOs past and digging up buried pearls for the rest of you, was a most gratifying experience. Games might fade away but memories and music are forever.

Links, More Links!

Beside visiting Salzburg and wolfing down new Steam games over Xmas break, which was absolutely wonderful, I’ve been rather busy adjusting and updating my stagnant youtube channel. Google has finally forced me to G+ for this reason although I have my doubts that the page will ever serve as much more than a dummie. There is only so much social networking I can handle (or maybe this is going to be a second twitter experience, so ask me again two years from now!).

For all the VGM fans who were too lazy to click on the links in my Greatest Videogame Soundtracks of 2013 post, there is now a new video up with teasers of my favorite music of last year. Having had some mad fun with Cook, Serve, Delicious last week, I also decided to give another let’s play video a go. While I have no fancy ambitions, I am still working out the best way of doing these and improving my way of speaking, or so I hope.

Still on the subject of new games and GOTYs, I was happy to be back for another great chat on MMORPG.com’s GameOn podcast with blogosphere buddies Chris and Liore. I believe we’ve covered a wide variety of games for 2013 and certainly managed to stay representative, as in delivering some very different opinions!

As for our favorite blogosphere, December was a most entertaining and creative month on many a blog, so here’s a couple links in case you missed them:

  • Liore held a most excellent “Trivia Showdown on 2013” on episode 41 of her Cat Context podcast (it was hard!)
  • Murf vs. Internet got a fair number of bloggers to bring all their end-of-the-year posts together for Listmas. The final result can be found here.
  • Joseph Skyrim continued his Darklands story, an epic journey starring many familiar blogosphere names and characters. He also did KILL off “Gypsy Syl, a bard and vagabond of 30 years” in chapter 5, for which I shall never forgive him.
  • And finally, Jeromai shared a similarly goofy and entertaining blogosphere experiment with his two-part play-through of Sleuth – and you may guess who was brutally murdered this time, again. I will try not to interpret this further!

Make sure to check them out for some great roundups and good laughs!

Battle Bards – Episodes #15 and #16: Tearjerkers and AION

Adventure isn’t always about the heroic and cheerful moments. There is a time and place in games and MMOs too where we should be challenged with complex feelings and choices. And so it was my turn to come up with the next Battle Bards topic for episode 15, scaring off my co-hosts in the process; Tearjerkers, or rather sad melodies, proved to be a tough nut to crack for the bards. What constitutes emotional music? Does it make you feel misty eyed or gloomy, melancholic or wistful? Once we started asking these questions, episode 15 opened the door to a wide variety of thoughts and ideas and personally, I think everyone did just fine coming up with interesting picks for this show!

Episode #15 – Tearjerkers OR Direct Download

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Episode 15 show notes

  • “Intro Cinematic” from Blade & Soul
  • “Forgotten Sorrow (in-game piano version)” from Aion
  • “Sorrowful Lamentations of a Rusty Heart” from Rusty Hearts
  • “Ul’dah Town Theme at Night” from Final Fantasy XIV
  • “The Sea of Sorrows” from Guild Wars 2
  • “Shadow Kingdom” from Asheron’s Call 2
  • “Arthas, My Son” from World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Two weeks later we returned to the more sunny and nostalgic side of things with episode 16, talking all things AION with much support from Steff, the only Battle Bard with actual AION experience. This soundtrack features a lot of surprises, epic scale and dramatic choirs – almost a bit too much in places (for me anyway), but we still managed to cover a variety of different themes (we hope!). The tower of eternity is definitely a soundtrack worth exploring at length!

Episode #16 – AION OR Direct Download

Episode 16 show notes

  • “Utopia 3.0 main theme”
  • “Tower of Eternity”
  • “Song of Katalam / 4.0 login”
  • “Fortress of Gods”
  • “Death Waltz”
  • “Steel Rake”
  • “Canyon”

Battle Bards – Episode #14: World of Warcraft

Do you remember the sound of Elwynn Forest? Can you smell the scent of beewax candles and lumber? Do you recall the way a murloc dies?

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It was high time the Bards took up the immeasurable soundtrack that is World of Warcraft. Needless to say, this last episode 14 is full of dear memories, nostalgia and merriment. I never miss WoW more than I miss it through its music. And for once, all the Battle Bards agree.

Episode 14 show notes

  • “A Call to Arms” from World of Warcraft
  • “Elwynn Forest” from World of Warcraft
  • “The Shaping of the World” from World of Warcraft
  • “The Sin’dorei” from The Burning Crusade
  • “Castaways” from Cataclysm
  • “Mountains of Thunder” from Wrath of the Lich King
  • “Stormstout Brew” from Mists of Pandaria
  • Mailbag: Ian

Friday Linkage

Battle Bards episode 13 has aired this last Tuesday and it’s adventure time! One of our most abstract theme shows so far, it was both interesting and challenging to think of MMO tunes that convey the spirit of adventure; that feeling of setting sail into the blue. Adventure and travel are every explorer’s bread and butter but no matter your Bartle profile, it means a great deal of different things to different people. What does it mean to you? Find out and tune in!

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Episode 13 show notes

  • “Open Sea Music” from Pirates of the Burning Sea
  • “Explorers and Artifacts” from Guild Wars 2
  • “Spiritual Elysium” from Anarchy Online
  • “Step to the Next World” from Aion
  • “Talking Island” from Lineage II
  • “Romulus Suite” from Star Trek Online
  • “Breeland Jig” from Lord of the Rings Online

An NBI-2 Status Update

This October’s NBI has already attracted a fair group of new MMO bloggers – head over to the official forums to check them out! We are only halfway which means there’s plenty of time left to sign up as a newcomer or to contribute as a sponsor. The poetry slam event is still going too and around ten MMO bloggers have already risen to the challenge. This has been great fun so far, so keep them rhymes (or not rhymes) coming, folks!

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Women who play interview

Kazz from Gameskinny has started an interview series on female gamers, bloggers and women generally active in and around the field of gaming. It is her proclaimed goal to reach out and encourage women who play to step into the light – to join communities such as the blogosphere and other networks where gamers roam and are being creative, without fear of rejection.

“Women in gaming” is a topic I wanted to write about for some time, but never quite found the right approach. Whilst there are many tales available of the horror stories and downsides for women who dare to call themselves gamers, my own experiences – as a gamer and game blogger – have actually been quite positive.

I’ve always felt that it is important to highlight what is going wrong and to expose those who judge by gender. But equally, women are playing games, they are making games, and they are making positive contributions to gaming communities. [Kazz]

As a videogame blogger I have a lot of self-cringe when being asked to give anyone an interview on myself; it seems like a horribly self-absorbed thing to do unless your name is Jane McGonigal or Markus Persson in which case you probably have something important to say. However, after overcoming these initial misgivings I was happy to answer Kazz’ questionnaire which led me way back, to humble beginnings and parts of my gamer biography I have never talked about before on the blog. If some of my own struggles can inspire anyone to take heart, that’s a worthy cause right there.

Tangentially, I always wanted to write an article on my personal gamer bio; I think this would make for an awesome blogosphere meme. I’d love to hear fellow MMO bloggers to talk about their own journeys – how it all began and which games they deem the most significant and formative. In any case, over the course of the questionnaire I realized once more how much I owe the blogging community and how thankful I am for discovering it, including all the special bloggers and commenters who have engaged with me over the last few years. I was a fairly isolated gamer before I started my blog. I still hold a torch for fellow gamers and geeks everywhere, no matter the sometimes bad propaganda or foul apples on boards and comment sections. We are the community.

So, thanks Kazz for having me. For all those who are similarly nosy and curious as myself where their fellow bloggers are concerned, you can find the interview here.

Happy weekend everybody! I shall resume more game-related news and ponderings soon, well as soon as an MMO out there does something interesting. Here’s to hoping!

Battle Bards – Episodes #11 and #12: Oddballs and Lineage 2

The Battle Bards are back and so am I with another double update on the world’s favorite (and only) MMO music podcast! It’s gotten slightly weird in episode 11 where Syp, Steff and myself discuss MMO music oddities – the quirky and fun of the genre, if no less formidable.

Episode 12 is one of my favorites for we get preachy (and in places ranty…well mostly that was Steff) about the beauty and variety that is the highly underrated Lineage 2 soundtrack. Be sure to listen in, there’s bound to be something here for everybody! Special high point of this episode: I actually managed to pronounce Lineage correctly. Well, most of the time!

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Episode 12 show notes

  • Introduction (including After the Storm and The Beginning of Gracia)
  • Opening: Call of Destiny
  • Counterattack
  • The Final Decisive Battle
  • Temple of the Moon
  • Praise the Victorious Knight
  • Merchant Ships from the East
  • Floran Theme
  • Mailbag: Ian
  • Outro (Unicorn Rest)

Battle Bards Episode #10: Age of Conan

What pleases the Battle Bards? To crush their enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their husbands. We were off to a rough start this Battle Bards episode #10, realizing that 66% of the bards don’t actually enjoy the much acclaimed Age of Conan soundtrack nearly as much as they should. Oh well, with much help from Steff we still did our best to pay homage to Conan, Hyboria and Knut Avenstroup Haugen in what proves to be our sweatiest and dampest podcast session yet!

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Episode 10 show notes

  • Introduction (including “Northern Grassland”)
  • “Hamlets of Aquilonia”
  • “All Heroes Unite”
  • “Memories of Cimmeria”
  • “Villages of Khitai”
  • “Ambush from Three Directions”
  • “The Sands of Forgetfullness/Tortage Beach”
  • “The Damp Barachan Nights”
  • Speakpipe: Reply to Axel Grimwulf
  • Mailbag: Reply to Kuter
  • Outro

Feel that we didn’t include your personal holy grails? Let us know and as always, we hope you enjoy this latest BB episode!

Battle Bards – Episodes #8 and #9: EQ2 and Tavern Music

It’s Battle Bards time and as usual I am looking back on the last two episodes which there were the elaborate soundtrack of Everquest 2 and a personal favorite: tavern music. The Prancing Pony is one of those oddities in the world of MMO taverns, so in case you never noticed why that is, it’s time to tune in to this latest show and hear what we’ve got to say about wandering bards, fire places and jam sessions in LOTRO, WoW and elsewhere.

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Never has a Battle Bards episode revolved around a more fitting topic or been recorded with such perfect timing (for it was Weatherstock that same night) – one might say the podcasting stars were aligned for this one!

Episode picks:

  • “Prancing Pony” from Lord of the Rings Online, composed by Chance Thomas
  • “Tavern Rock Volume 1” from Dungeons and Dragons Online, composed by Stephen DiGregorio
  • “Tavern” from World of Warcraft, composed by Jason Hayes
  • “Spelunken und Tavernen” from Drakensang Online, composed by Tilman Sillescu and Markus Schmidt
  • “Deepwater” from World of Warcraft, composed by David Arkenstone
  • “Pub” from Ultima Online, composed by ??
  • “Inn Music” from Final Fantasy XIV, composed by Nobuo Uematsu

 
A big thanks to those who have already left us a voice message lately, we’ll be getting back to you on our upcoming shows!

Battle Bards – Episode #7: City Themes

swtownIn this lucky seventh episode of Battle Bards, Syff, Step and myself are rambling about all things MMO city/town music and why we all hate the Stormwind theme! We also find out that Steff actually says “SWOH-TOHR” for SWTOR (I know, silly right?) and that I am apparently incapable of pronouncing Lineage correctly…I did give it my best shot towards the end of the show though!

Episode picks:

  • “Coruscant” from Star Wars: The Old Republic (comp. Lennie Moore)
  • “Stormwind” from World of Warcraft (comp. Jason Hayes)
  • “Imperial Square” from Allods Online (comp. Vladislav Isaev, Mark Morgan)
  • “Meridian” from RIFT (comp. Inon Zur)
  • “Seville” from Uncharted Waters Online (comp. Kazunori Miyake)
  • “Crossroad at Dawn” from Lineage II (comp. Bill Brown, Inon Zur)
  • “Kingdom of Light” from Aion (comp. Yang Bang-Ean)

 
There are cookies hidden in this episode! Also, we apologize for the overall sound quality this time around; Syp lives in a country where they’ve only just discovered electricity. As always, thanks for leaving us your feedback and don’t be shy on rating the show sometime!

Battle Bards – Episodes #5 & #6: Guild Wars 2 and Wildstar

For those who have noticed MMO Gypsy looking slightly different over the past few days, the blog was undergoing some scrutiny by the hoster due to recent commenting issues (readers reporting that comments were lost to 404 errors). The good news: this issue appears to be fixed now! Hooray!

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Since my last musical reporting, the Battle Bards have ventured forth once more – nay in fact twice more – waxing lyrical on the beautiful soundtrack of Guild Wars 2 and more recently on the exciting genre fusion that makes the music in upcoming AAA-MMORPG Wildstar. It is a particularly interesting challenge to talk about tracks before a game has even released, being unable to place them inside the game. Do we even dare to assess a soundtrack without first-hand knowledge of the complete opus?

Well, we sure did and being offered the great opportunity to have composer Jeff Kurtenacker on the podcast, we made sure to get as much info on the creative process of scoring for Wildstar as possible! Not just that, Jeff introduced two to-that-date unreleased tracks on the show which proved to be my personal favorites – so make sure to check out Episode #6 for some exclusive Wildstar teasin’!

Battle Bards – Episode #4: Lord of the Rings Online with Chance Thomas

It doesn’t happen every day that you get the opportunity to not only get together with other soundtrack geeks but such illustrious guests as Chance Thomas, composer for the official LOTRO OST and many beloved a LOTRO tune out there. It was particularly hard to come up with favorite picks for this show! Thankfully, Chance had insights and anecdotes to share in abundance (even for those tracks composed mainly by Steve DiGregorio), so it was with a sad heart that we called an end to such a wonderful session after one and a half hours. For those of you looking to read more about Chance Thomas’ work, be sure to check out his official homepage and also his fascinating Gamasutra feature I mention at the beginning of this episode.

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This Episode #4 will always have a special place in our three hosts’ hearts, I am sure – and we’ll be putting effort into presenting you with more such interesting interviews in the future! For those of you wondering what happened to our elusive fourth host Dodge (as mentioned in previous shows), the Battle Bards are happy to confirm that we’ll be remaining a “golden trio” after all! Many thanks to all of you who have been listening to and supporting this geeky project so far; we appreciate the re-tweets, iTunes ratings and reviews. Every episode is a learning process we enjoy a great deal and we’ve got plenty more goodness in store for you!

Fellow Podcasts Shout-out

Following in Syp’s footsteps, a quick shout-out to some of our fellow blogger and podcasting friends in the closer MMO blogosphere, bringing delightful geekiness to our iPods and other mobile devices week after week! Fun podcasts on our favorite topic aren’t easy to come by, so thanks and keep rolling guys!