Saturday, March 8, 2008

Musical inspiration

It happens that Larisa leaves Azeroth and goes out in the world as a normal human being, believe it or not. So the other night I had a night off from gaming and went to see the Mando Diao consert in Stockholm. It was a huge energy explosion, which made the floor swing, the blood boil and the brain disregard of all smart or confused ideas of grownups. The crowd was changed into one huge, swetting, exalted here and now, just as it always is in a successful concert.

But of course I can't let it stop there. Afterwards my thoughts start wandering, and I'm wondering what kind of activities in the game that this music would fit with. AoE is what first comes to my mind. Preferrably arcane explosion. Immediate, pulsating, intense damage - over and over again. It sucks mana - yes - but after all you should be exhausted and full of sweat after a rock concert, it's a part of the concept.

When it comes to may main spells, the slower, surging fire balls with up to 3 sec casting time, a bit slower music is suitable. But of course it should be heavy.

Now it's been a while since I last played with my own music in the headset. Most of the time a combination of TS and the game sounds is accompanying my game play. Of course I can get a bit sick and tired of the Blizzard music - but nowadays I've heard so much of it that I hardly hear it, it becomes like muzac in an elevator - a completely invisible sound curtain. But the sound effects actually give me some information that makes my playing easier. There are dialogues and sounds from spells, hits and other effects that adds to other sources of information such as scrolling combat text, chat windows and addon meters of different kinds - they tell me what happens in the game and gives a better game experience.

How much better I don't notice until I have to play in silence, which happens from time to time. My surrounding family doesn't always approve of seeing me in the middle of the living room, dressed in a headset and not set for participating in conversation with anyone else. If I keep the sound turned off and speak to them at the same time as I'm grinding mobs, they find it easier to put up with my playing. But I do feel a bit crippled, going around killing things, without hearing a thing.

As a matter of fact I didn't discover the game sounds until last autumn, after more than six months of playing. I had endured sound problems since I first started playing. Most of the time it just didn't work. Because of that it was natural for me to play my own music in the headset. It wasn't until I had to reinstall the whole game that it started to work, a happy surprise for me.

I can become a bit nostalgic thinking about the soundless era, when I didn't have any TS to listen to either. I was free to set music to the game after what feeling and mood I wanted to achieve. Especially I remember a run in Zul Farrak. I didn't have any idea of what to expect, I was just standing there at the summoning stone, preparing, sitting on my mount that was still brand new and fun, nonstop listening to the Clash, that was the perfect energizer. I was prepared to the teeth for the fight to come, full of expectations, focused, and concentrated. The energy building up - and so finally the clearance to go in and start KILLING. One -two-three-four...London calling to the faraway towns Now war is declared - and battle come down...

Isn't there a sort of musical touch in certain fights? When the fireballs rhythmically take off, disrupted by one or another scorch or counterspell. Sometimes the threat meter goes red and you have to intervene with a slower section. And then you can once again starting building up to the refrain and the ending crescendo, when you're nuking the boss into small pieces.

It's no wonder that you by using the right kind of music can improve your gaming experience, but in another way than by the sounds of killing blows and spells flowing through the air. Not to forget: long grinding sessions can become a bit more endurable, using the right kind of music in the headset, to help to keep up the energy and the focus.

So thank you Mando Diao for the inspiration! Unfortunately you can't come along into Karazhan next time I'm there, after all I need to be able to talk to my raid companions, and they'll find it hard to match your voices. But please, come along next time I'm going to Terokkar killing basilisks, or why not join me on a few rounds in the area for primal shadow grinding in Nagrand. Buffed with the music I'm convinced that Larisa will be able to endure a few more rounds than otherwise.

No comments: