Tuning in to MMOs

Zyngor | Friday, August 08, 2014
Today's topic was inspired by a forum post. A couple days ago, an individual requested the addition of a violin to the collection of playable instruments in LOTRO. A Turbine producer responded, saying it was not "in the immediate cards," but that "the music system [will be] getting some love."

Playable instruments in LOTRO
So...music systems in MMOs. They are few and far between, and add a bit of personality to a game. Off the top of my head, I only know of two MMOs that have implemented an in-game music system: LOTRO and a Korean-based title called Mabinogi. While I cannot speak about Mabinogi, I'll give a primer about the music system in LOTRO.

The music system in LOTRO is fairly easy to pick up, but can be a bit difficult to master. Essentially, all you need to do is equip an instrument that your race is able to play (the minstrel class is able to play any, and can train others to play a certain instrument), type "/music" to activate that mode, and utilize certain keys on your keyboard, which correspond to musical notes. Simple enough, right?

While it is possible to play a simple song manually using the keyboard, it would be a bit tough to manually play a more complicated tune. As such, the game utilizes a system that allows users to queue up a file, which will automatically make your character perform that song. These files (ABC files) are player-created, and uses the same keystrokes that are typed out on a text file for playback.

The fun part is that you can play with others! By simply grouping up, it is possible for each member to sync up and perform a song (more advanced files have parts for multiple instruments) all together. As such, some players have even decide to create their own bands, and perform in common areas on a fairly regular basis.

As LOTRO is a more story and roleplay-driven title, the music system was a perfect fit. Performances, especially on roleplay-encouraged/required servers, occur on an almost daily basis. One such group, the Lonely Mountain Band, has even created an annual large musicfest, Weatherstock, performed atop of Amon Sul (Weathertop, an important ruin in the lore).

Hundreds gather annually for Weatherstock, a day-long performance of various LOTRO bands
I would love to see more MMOs that offer a form of musical composition. I'm not that knowledge about SWTOR, but I'd imagine some players would enjoy to create their own Cantina band (permissions pending, or course). From what I have seen in LOTRO's success with music (even in the midst of other player woes these days), it certainly offers the opportunity to draw different crowds in the game - even those that are not specifically gamers. The roleplay aspects are apparent when it comes to music, and it fosters a creative audio flair.

Interested in MMO music, whether it's player produced or soundtracks? Check out the Battle Bards podcast!

What games would you like to see introduce a musical composition system? Please share below!

No comments:

Post a Comment