FFXIV: My Top-10 Soundtrack Themes

This post was planned a long ago, and as a composer and a music fan myself, who’s always touched by movie/game scores up to literal tears of emotion, I’m surprised I did not do this earlier.

Final Fantasy XIV is unique among other MMOs, as it has absolutely no limits with the music styles that it applies to different situations. Traditional orchestral epics and fantasy, yes, but you can also meet dance music, metal, punk and even chiptune!

It’s nigh impossible to single out a top-10, but I’ll try – in no particular order.

1. Torn from the Heavens – A Realm Reborn (vanilla)

This has to be mentioned first, as it was the first theme I’ve met to really rip me apart. It’s the climactic theme of the 1-50 story, epic, awesome, light as the wind, dramatic and super inspiring. Upon hearing this track, I realized that all the slog of 1-50 was worth it, and the whole game will be only better from now on.

2. City Theme: Ul’dah

Out of three starter zones, Ul’dah – the Arabic-inspired city-state – is my favorite. I like the measured maritime slog of Limsa, of course, and I’m not fond of Gridania which fits, but frankly suits more to a village rather than a capital. But Ul’dah is simply awesome – being so light-hearted, jumpy, epic and inspiring – it’s not what you expect from a Middle East city in music at all. Literally any composer would write something sloggish, as caravans go. Not in this case.

3 City Theme: Ishgard

Another city theme that’s my favorite is Ishgard – the major hub of Heavensward expansion. A city-castle state of the north, waging a 1000-years war against dragons (hence the spikes), noble, all knights and a medieval-inspired Holy See church. Unlike Ul’dah, its music fits its essence to a T: pipe organs, epicness and knight vibe.

4. Alexander Raid Theme: Locus

The first streak of Heavensward expansion’s “normal raids” (12 arena-boss fight sequences for 8 players) – Alexander – is where Square Enix fucks up all your expectations, considering what music you can and cannot use in the game of this type. You actually DO fight bosses along with this soundtrack, how’s that for an epic fantasy MMO?

5. Stormblood Main Theme: Triumph

One of the two major themes of Stormblood expansion (along with Measure of His Reach) plays in multiple variations, arrangements and types throughout it (for example, Kugane or Azim Steppe/Ruby Sea cities versions). But my favorite is the version during the final dungeon boss encounters, with sung choruses: “Storm of blood, born from blood of our fallen brothers” etc, anti-oppression, revolutionary, inspiring lyrics and music, and it soooo makes you want to fight the evil Empire.

6. Shadowbringers: Insatiable

Since Shadowbringers expansion, Square Enix employed a brilliant American voice actor/singer Jason C.Miller for the major themes and songs, and my, this is where the game shifted to rock! Of course I like the Shadowbringers major theme, but Insatiable is so full of tragedy, hope and drama that it’s the essence of the expansion in my opinion.

7. Endwalker: With Hearts Aligned

An absolute spoiler, but hell, it’s almost a year since expansion came out :) This voiced piece is an absolute gem and an emotional climax ever since expansion trailer. Hearing it in a final boss fight, as your lore buddies help you to overcome despair and infuse you and yours with hope is priceless.

My second favorite version (I don’t know which one is better actually) is the same track during Zodiark encounter:

This one is not tender, but super epic and restless, and is my major reason why I love this encounter when it pops up in Trial roulettes.

8. Endwalker: Close in the Distance

There will be no extra words. If you played through this part and haven’t cried at this moment, I don’t want to know you :) For the rest of you, just lean back, relax and let yourself a meditative moment of peace and dream.

9. Aglaia Raid: In the Balance

During Aglaia raid of Endwalker, we challenge 4 deities of a 12-god world pantheon (8 to come). The final boss is the Ul’dah cherished Nald’Thal: the twin brothers that oversee trade and underworld. This time, the Arabic vibe is over the top:

10. Pandaemonium Abyssos Raid: Scream

The current raid’s theme is so awesome that I’m afraid to expect what’s next. The composers seem to leap over their own head with every next patch – and yes, it’s the music for the boss encounters:

===

There are many, many more melodies, songs and jingles in the game that are my favorite, and I could have easily made a top-30, but this is it for today :)

2 thoughts on “FFXIV: My Top-10 Soundtrack Themes

  1. I remember reading that Yoshi-P was surprised that of all bosses in Aglaia raid; people loved Nald’Thal the most, i think the music is the reason for that :-)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s