Read (and listen to!) Part 1: Combat and Battle Themes here.
Life isn’t always about going from one battle to the next, even if it seems like it sometimes. Even heroes have to find downtime to do… I dunno… other stuff. Non-combat non-saving-the-world/galaxy stuff, like cooking, cleaning, searching library records, going to work: the decidedly less life-threatening parts of one’s day. (I’m convinced that my trunk has an escape handle in it because the car manufacturers know I’ll need it one day with my dangerous gamer mommy lifestyle being what it is. Obviously.)
So, these are tracks that function well to get you moving, thinking, working— but without making you feel like you’re about to be ambushed or that you need to draw a weapon. Some of these tracks are also good for just chillin’, if you’re so inclined. All of these serve well as music in the background of the action, rather than taking center stage beside the action.
Storm Peaks from World of Warcraft (Wrath of the Lich King)
There was nothing quite like flying around Storm Peaks while listening to this music. I had a habit of flying to one of the empty Titan buildings and just standing there, looking out over the mountains and snow plains. The music gives a sense of enduring majesty, despite the tumultuous events taking place in and around the region. It is undoubtedly sad and mournful, a dirge contemplating loss and regret. But it also has tones of hope, peace, and calm— or, perhaps, that’s what the denizens of Storm Peaks are seeking with help from adventurers.
There She Is from Portal 2
This is one of the few “quiet” tracks I actually enjoy simply because it is quiet. It invokes a sense of curiosity, making you want to investigate and discover. The nice thing about the quietness of this piece is that it allows you room in your brain to think. There’s an unmistakeable suggestion in the music, but it doesn’t grab you by the neurons and push you toward a predetermined goal (e.g. punching your foe in the face, running for your life).
Terran Theme 1 from Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
You may ask, “Why is this Terran theme on the ambiance list while the other Terran theme is on your Combat and Battle Themes list?” Personally, I get a greater sense of industriousness from this piece. The intro of the SCII Terran theme has that same idea of preparation— but in the sense that people are rolling up their metaphorical sleeves and getting down to business. I inadvertently begin humming this while I’m at work, specifically while on the desk helping patrons, returning materials, and a multitude of other things all at the same time. The best part about it is when the music kicks into high gear around the 2:40 mark, which is perfect for those particularly busy hours.
Upper Club Afterlife and Dark Star Lounge from Mass Effect 2
There’s nothing quite like a good techno beat to get you into the right working mindset. Of course, the downside is my propensity toward dancing along with the music. That’s why I usually keep these tracks inside the house, usually when I’m cooking. So there’s an image you didn’t need burned into your brain: me, cooking dinner, while dancing in the kitchen to space-techno. You’re welcome. But in all seriousness, a lot of my nights in college were spent listening to similar Hybrid, Crystal Method, Daft Punk, and Blue Man Group tracks on Pandora Radio while doing research and writing papers. My brain shifts into a different mode that makes me content to remain utterly focused on my task.
Eversong Woods from World of Warcraft (The Burning Crusade)
Elegance and menace, with a melancholy tone, yet thoughtful and inherently beautiful. Like the music from Storm Peaks, the songs of Eversong Woods make you want to stop and just enjoy the scenery for a moment— or two, or many. Anything that takes me out of the level grind mindset and places me in the virtual world in a deeply personal way is amazing in its own right. It’s something Blizzard does with its music very well, no matter what game they produce; this particular set of ambiance pieces is, arguably, the best. That be some good thinkin’ music.
Next week… Well, it’s the launch of Mass Effect 3, which means I may not be all here (more so than usual, that is). Couple that with an 8-hour afternoon and closing shift at the library and I may as well just toss in the towel. But, we shall see. Maybe I have some drafts lying around to spark my poor brain into writing something other than “Stuff I Like” lists.