Music Issues

Nov 8

Written by:
11/8/2012 5:49 PM 


It has been brought to my attention only yesterday by our revered admin, Frozen Compass, that GW2 has some issues regarding its background music. Specifically, he claimed that the game is almost 'mute' in this aspect with either only one single track being played every now and then or nothing being heard at all. Of course a made fun of him in the guild chat...

But then I decided to look into it. I knew that there are lots of different themes playing throughout the game, varying depending on area/location or activity. I listen to them on my wife's speakers every day (don't ask why not on my own...). Besides, there's a 4 CD box set to prove this! But are these 78 tracks really being heard in the game? Apparently, no. And there are a number of things that can be blamed for this. I'll start with the obvious, then move to more 'bizarre' scenarios.

1] You cannot hear any sounds from the game: you've either got your speakers turned off or your headset not plugged in. Or you've got a severe hearing impediment. Not the game's fault, these. Or you may have muted your system sound. Or the game's Master Volume. Check these out before you read on!

2] You can hear environmental sounds (ambient) from the game, like birds or the waves of the Sea of Sorrows, but no background music. Go into the Sound Settings [F11 - Sound] and verify that the "Background Audio Volume" slider is maxed out (far right side). While you're here, slide the "Master Volume" slider to the far right as well.

3] In the same tab, there's a "Music Interval" slider. This needs to be as low as possible, so set it to the far left. I said LEFT dude!

4] Further down, same tab: the infamous "Mute when GW2 is in the background " check box. Unless you're trying to convince someone that you are NOT playing GW2 when you're supposed to be doing something entirely different (like working, for example) it's best to leave this un-checked. The reason is that there have been mentions that Alt+Tab-ing in and out of the game can in some cases 'mute' the game's music entirely. I do that a lot, btw.

5] Same tab again: observe the "VOIP Ducking" slider. This is a tricky one. It basically "controls the volume adjustment when using a 3rd party VOIP program". Like RaidCall, for example. Again it has been known to be conflicting with some programs, like Mumble or Spotify. Although the latter is not a VOIP program, one cannot but spot the nature of a potential source of problems. First off, make sure you do not have any applications running which re-produce music, but the game itself: a 'Media Player' program, a tab on your web browser (streaming), or a "3rd party application" like RaidCall or Skype or Ventrilo, etc. Just to be on the safe side, place this slider to the far right (have to check...) which translates to exclusively playback game sounds only. If in doubt, leave it in the middle (default). Hint: on some sound cards it is possible to check which applications have access to the 'mixer' and change this setting at will.

6] Last on this tab: the "Audio Device" scroll down list. Typically you do not need to change this (Default device). But if you have more than one sound cards on your system, try experimenting with this.

7] It is possible to make the game run with 'no sounds' playing, albeit I do not believe you have done this because it's something you'd undoubtedly remember. Anyway, you can do this by adding a '-nomusic' switch  to the command line. Note there's also a '-nosound' switch which totally shuts down all game sounds.

8] Finally, there's the 'custom playlist' feature that could cause problems. Remember there's a "Music" folder in your 'Documents and Settings\Guild Wars 2' folder. If any of you have been experimenting with this, it is possible that there are still some 'invalid' files left over inside it. By default the game will override its own music tracks in favor of the ones you tell it to play for each of the 8 occasions. As a final measure then, delete all contents of the "Music" folder - and restart the client to make all the above changes take effect.

That's all I could find or come up with. Please, any of you who have had problems with "no background music" in the game, try the above and report back here with your findings. We need feedback from all of you in order to better understand the problem and find a proper solution to it!

2 comment(s) so far...


Re: Music Issues

Wow, I'm mentioned in this one! Well, anyway, some other people from our guild mentioned being unable to listen to any music at all. My specific issue wasn't not hearing any music at all, it was that I heard one specific song from the client's internal Ambient (I'm guessing) playlist and rarely anything else. I initially had assumed that this just means I don't really like Jeremy Soule's music, since it all sounded pretty much the same to me, until I noticed it is actually the very same sound file.

After experimenting with custom playlists, what I've figured out is that the client has some song randomization problems (I've even included a blank song in the beginning as someone somewhere on the web mentioned). Even playlists that have many songs usually default to the first. Moreover, lots of playlists default to Ambient for no apparent reason. Even when it should go to Battle or NightTime, the client more often than not defaults to Ambient (while other times it doesn't, all in the same game session). Underwater seems to work almost flawlessly, as does MainMenu, while City and Crafting never trigger at all (unless their names are spectacularly misleading).

However, even with custom playlists that contain multiple songs, the client seems to have a hard time not picking the same song every time a specific playlist is triggered.

But even with these issues thrown aside, the custom playlists still offer much more variation than leaving the game use its default ones. While we were having the conversation that's mentioned in this article, the same (client default) song repeated itself three times in a row. And I literally can't name another song from the Guild Wars 2 soundtrack except this one (I used to call it 'the Queensdale song', but it turned out to be a severe understatement) and the one played during character selection.

Since I've not found any reference to this specific issue mentioned clearly anywhere on the web, I had preferred to not say anything about it again before having drawn any conclusions first, but I guess my guild mates took it personally. =)

But since the article is out, I might as well say that my guesses are: the client has a bad randomization algorithm, my CPU has no imagination when it comes to random numbers, my client installation is a little broken, I've just been extremely unlucky with the soundtrack picks so far, the client playlists somehow miss much of the soundtrack contained in the client or I have a really really bad ear.

By admin on   11/9/2012 5:03 PM

Re: Music Issues

Oh yes, i've taken this very personally ^^
Actually i've started conducting my own experiments even as i was writing this article!
Conclusions, however 'conclusive', will be reported promptly :)

By thevalliant on   11/11/2012 12:57 PM

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