Listening to nothing
For some reason, at some point I turned off the music for when I’m playing a game. I probably had some TV show I wanted to watch at the same time and I didn’t need the extra noise while trying to follow the plot.
For some other reason, I never turned the music back on.
And it’s awesome.
I am hearing stuff I never heard before in the game. Sure, I’ve heard combat sounds before, but when you’re NOT fighting stuff, you can hear all the noises that would happen in the background and that are usually covered up by the music. This is what is called the “ambient noise” in your sounds panel.
Turn that baby all the way up, shut the music off and turn up the sound. You get to hear all sorts of things that really would happen if we were to step into the zone we’re in, but we’d never know it ’cause the music is forever on loop, blasting away. (I am saying nothing against the music in the game – I love it, I find it beautiful.)
Really, I think you should try it out one night and go check out some zones and see what they sound like. At first in whatever zone I was in on my alt, there were the crickets in the background. Nothing interesting, right? But then I hearthed to Dalaran – my hearth is set in the back of the (Alliance) inn overlooking the Beer Garden. I have to run through the inn to get outside. There was this weird clinking noise. I stopped for a second and realized that it was the clinking of plates that you might hear if you really were in a functioning inn and there were people eating.
You’ll hear footsteps as you run. (You might think “duh” to that, but the footstep sound varies depending on what sort of surface you’re running on – dirt, stone, wood, metal – and will also change depending on your armor type – clinky if you’re in mail, softer noises if you’re in cloth, etc.)
The baby alt went to Wailing Caverns and sure enough, there was the wind, wailing and swooshing through the caverns. Not in a “wind” type of way, but in the way that wind really would go through caverns. I haven’t heard that type of wind again in the game yet, either.
Going to the shore for a few quests? You’ll hear water lapping up on the beach. You’ll hear a few fish jumping in the water. If you’re by a lake, you may even hear frogs.
That whole bit I wrote about footsteps? It’s the same for your mount, too.
If you have to go under the water for any reason, it was that weird echo-y “I’m underwater and there’s no other way to describe it unless you’ve also been underwater!” sound. I really like it.
I had to go to Desolace last night. *shudder* There was wind there too. But it was the sweeping, unrelenting “wind sweeping over nothing” wind that is appropriate for the area. Makes you feel small and insignificant.
Luckily, I also spend some time in Stranglethorn Vale last night too. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit a tropical jungle in your real life, on a vacation or somesuch, or even just seen one on TV, you know that there is lots of talking between birds, insects are talking, frogs are talking… maybe if you’re close enough to a croc while fishing you can hear them hiss… it’s all in STV. Lends quite a bit of realism to the zone. If you head over to the coast, all the “shore” noises apply too.
And there are more and will be more that I’ll take note of, I’m sure, as I quest more. These are all in Old Azeroth since my alt is still small, so I’m actually anticipating what the zones in the Outlands and Northrend will sound like!
Do you run with your music off and the ambient sounds up? What have you noticed? If you don’t, will you try it out one night to see what the music is covering up?