View From the Road
A View From The Road: Play It Again, Sam

John Funk | 21 Dec 2009 21:00
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The comparable "boss battle" themes that the game does have (see: Naxxramas) are all very atmospheric; they're good for setting a mood but not for much else. Perhaps that's simply a consequence of how the two genres treat bosses differently. In a single-player JRPG, a boss marks a finale to a section of the plot, and is a one-time event. In other words, you won't be going back to Seymour Guado once you've beaten him in hopes of getting better loot (Ok, ok, maybe that was a bad example.) Meanwhile, MMOG bosses are mere obstacles to be surmounted, many with very little plot relevance, and many who can be "farmed" in hopes of getting the loot that you want.

Furthermore, because high end raid bosses require absurd amounts of communication, a lot of players might not want epic music getting in the way. After all, it'd be very hard to enjoy the ominous Latin (or Latin-esque) choir of a song like "Liberi Fatali" if you were yelling at people to stay out of the patches of fire on the ground. But that hasn't stopped some games from adding their own balls-to-the-wall-awesome boss battle music - take "The Roars of the Warrior" from NCSoft's Aion. That's the sort of song that I'd love to hear more of when fighting an apocalyptically evil villain who aims to conquer the world, but maybe that's just me.

To Blizzard's credit, the designers have added more of this kind of thing with the background music to the Crusader's Coliseum (or, for that matter, "Bronze Jam," the electric guitar music that plays when you're fighting a boss reminiscent of a certain late Godfather of Soul). But these tiny steps are just the beginning, and if games like WoW or BioWare's upcoming The Old Republic can deliver on having mind-blowing and memorable boss music then that'll be one thing I can cross off my "ultimate MMOG check list."

Because hey, do you really expect to enjoy lightsaber duels that don't have something like "Duel of the Fates" backing them up? Yeah, I didn't think so.

John Funk never really liked "One Winged Angel" all that much.

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