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World of Warcraft: The Sound of Pandas Fighting

/ Dec 18th, 2012 No Comments

World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft‘s newest expansion Mists of Pandaria has been keeping players busy with new features for months. What might go unnoticed however is the quality of Mists’ soundtrack and how it brings an Asiatic swing to everyone’s favorite MMO. This is perhaps the most complex and intricate score to come from Blizzard’s World of Warcraft franchise yet. Since Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard has gone above and beyond to create beautiful and moving soundtracks to accompany gamers on their adventures in the Azeroth and Mists of Pandaria is no stranger to great music.

Like Cataclysm and Wrath of Lich king before it, Pandaria uses musical styles of the cultures here on planet Earth that those in Azeroth emulate. The newest World of Warcraft soundtrack borrows heavily from the classical music of China using instruments like the Guqin, Zheng, and Pipa mixed with the orchestrations of western music. The orchestrated tracks boom with emotion, invoking a feeling of bravery and a lust for exploration that the new continent of Pandaria has opened up to brave new heroes.

The expansion’s score ranges from powerful and intense, to calming and joyous, and sometimes even a bit goofy. The opening track “Heart of Pandaria,” which also serves as the music for the log-in screen, brings the classic tune of World of Warcraft into an inspiring Asiatic motif. The powerful ups and downs borrow from tracks throughout the album and from pieces only heard while traversing the depths of Pandaria. If a gamer wants to get pumped to play in Pandaria’s vast wilds this is the track to start with.

“Wandering Isle” meshes the various pieces heard during the 1-10 Pandaren leveling experience on the enormous traveling landmass–from which the track’s title borrows its name–into a swaying composition fit for an orchestral performance or a relaxing meditation. The piece is heroic and calming all at the same time. The arrangement meshes together the feeling of a new Pandaren adventurer, exploration of a new land, and the sights and sounds of the Wandering Isle into a single artistic work. Tracks like “Way of the Monk” and “Go Ask the River” almost exclusively use Asiatic instrumentation with little to no Western orchestration. They can be both peaceful and intense with their use of harps, the Chinese Zheng, and a variety of other instruments to create a back and forth rhythm between the various themes.

When it comes to composing music for World of Warcraft, Blizzard has used many of the same musicians since the days of The Burning Crusade, but with Mists of Pandaria they brought to the team a composer known as Jeremy Soule. Soule is best known for his work in Skyrim, but has also done notable pieces for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and many of the tracks in the Guild Wars franchise.

Blizzard hired Soule into the music team to create many of the pieces heard while wandering the forests of Pandaria. Notably in the Karasang Wilds and the Veil of Eternal blossoms you will recognize the style that Soule has put into his compositions for Skyrim. If you love soundtracks, Asiatic music, or World of Warcraft, the Mists of Pandaria soundtrack is a wonderful listen and does not disappoint an avid audiophile or a fan of the game.

Bryan Haag

Bryan Haag

Associate Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Bryan is a newcomer to Gaming Illustrated and focuses on industry topics.
Bryan Haag
Bryan Haag

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