Legion, the next World of Warcraft expansion, is almost upon us. For many MMO players out there this means getting ready, reading up on Demon Hunters and prepping their bank space and numerous alts for this August 30th. For others, it means hiding away and hoping for the initial tidal wave of Legion spam across all their social gaming channels to fade again quickly and go back to normal. I have not been a WoW player for several years now and I count myself among that last group. I do, however, also have one particular thing to look forward to in the expansion: A brand new World of Warcraft: Legion soundtrack!
Over the course of 12 years, and ever since Jason Hayes brought us the first whispers and melodies from WoW, the tremendous soundtrack library of this title has grown with every expansion. While soundtrack fans may argue about which installments of WoW had the best or “worst” music (WotLK and TBC in that case, if you must know!), nobody would disagree that the numerous composers of World of Warcraft have produced a fantastic catalogue of beautiful and memorable MMO tunes for us to enjoy forever.
The Legion soundtrack has been composed by longstanding and acclaimed Blizzard house composers Neal Acree and Russel Brower, as well as Clint Bajakian (Warlords of Draenor, God of War III, The Uncharted series) whose game soundtrack credentials date as far back as Monkey Island 2. The official Legion soundtrack is unreleased as of now and can only be acquired as part of the retail-only Collector’s Edition bundle, as indicated on Blizzard’s official Legion pre-order webpage.
This is where I have two concerns or hopes: First, that the player base will also see a digital purchase option for the music soon. And secondly, that it’s going to be a more complete soundtrack release than the one we’ve had for Warlord’s of Draenor. I was not impressed with the selection of tracks on the WoD Collector’s Edition album; it was missing crucial titles such as Wolf at the Gates along with other, equally puzzling omissions. It’s given the WoD soundtrack an unduly bad reputation, which I’ve discussed on a dedicated Battle Bards episode a while back, too. So fingers crossed for a much more well-rounded Legion OST release!
Five Tracks for an early Introduction to the Music of Legion
Official soundtrack speculations aside, the pumped up and ready WoW player base has already had a chance to listen to a whole list of tracks ever since the alpha. It’s safe to say the music in Legion has taken a very dramatic, thematic shift to fit the story around the return of the ever green and gloomy Burning Legion. This means a welcome departure from the Orcish tribal tunes in WoD, with Legion turning a much darker and broodier page in Blizzard’s songbook. There’s many a sad and heavy melody to be found in this new soundtrack, along with some formidably dark and menacing tracks and emotional revisits. For anyone looking for merry and whimsical tunes, however, don’t get your hopes up!
1. Demon Hunter Theme
Fans of Illidan get their heart’s desire in Legion with Demon Hunters becoming the second playable hero class in the game. The slow and mysterious Demon Hunter tune surprised me a great deal as it turned into a beautiful and ethereal track after the 3 minute mark, which gets under your skin for sure. This is a very rich, long track overall with many twists and turns that takes time to listen to and digest fully.
2. Anduin’s Theme
Already and unofficial fan favorite, Anduin’s theme is dedicated to the successor of King Varian Wrynn and young heir to the throne of Stormwind, without going into spoilers. It can be heard in parts of the alliance city and definitely belongs to the more heart-wrenching and memorable tracks in Legion. The beautiful vocals have been provided by YouTuber Julie Elven who collaborated with Blizzard to bring this song to life. No doubt, Anduin’s theme will give WoW fans much to talk about in the future.
3. Suramar City
The Kaldorei city of Suramar is located on the Broken Isles and features many of the familiar, ethereal nightelf cues we’ve known since vanilla World of Warcraft. The Legion soundtrack is great news for nightelf fans in general, bringing back many a memory of Teldrassil and Ashenvale with more elvish tracks such as Enraptured Woodlands or Enchanted Night Elves. A clear case of love it or leave it!
4. Last Stand
The Last Stand may very well be my favorite track from Legion so far. This powerful and gripping tune is scary and grandiose in equal parts and definitely heralds some of the epic action to come in Legion. A most formidable use of dramatic strings and choirs in this one, alternating between louder and slightly quieter parts – turn up that volume for full effect!
Another quiet and more mysterious track, Val’sharah should make all the druids in WoW happy who will find their class refuge in that part of the Broken Isles. This track grew on me for its brooding and composed nature which makes up one distinct aspect of the Legion soundtrack.
Would I buy? – Yes! But please make it a digital purchase.
Who is it for? – Everyone into WoW history and heavily orchestrated soundtracks with booming choirs.
The Legion soundtrack will appeal to long-standing players and fans of World of Warcraft. For others, it may take some time to fully appreciate and get into some of its heavier and broodier tracks, which are rich with cues from older expansions. I will reserve final judgement until such a time as I’ve heard the official soundtrack release. For now, I am optimistic that the Legion soundtrack has much to offer in the same way as Warlords of Draenor, which has become one of the better WoW soundtracks in my book. It’s refreshing to see WoW’s music go down a darker path in this sixth expansion, even if that means taking a backseat for more lighter and merrier tunes.Related: A Bard's Tale, Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Legion, MMORPG, World of Warcraft