It never fails. I teleport back to the Foundation area of the expansion's new city of Ishgard, it's nighttime, it's snowing and the most achingly bittersweet music plays.
Though featuring similar musical themes, the music for entrance The Holy See of Ishgard is powerful and bold, appropriately representing a towering city that's withstood countless attacks by some of the most powerful creatures in Eorzea for hundreds of years. There is majesty, intrigue, mystery and even the odd shred of levity. (Thanks to YouTuber Mekkah Dee for uploading the tracks.)
But by night the Foundation area is encased in bitter cold, its residents, many of them displaced and destitute, struggle to find a glimmer of hope in the frigid darkness.
Every time I arrive in Ishgard at night and those piano notes begin to play I am overwhelmed by such melancholy sadness that the slight upturn at the end does little to lift my spirits. I basically freeze in place until the flurry of mystical movement at 2:30 jolts me back to action.
The very best music in gaming is contained in Square Enix's massively multiplayer world, and with the release of the expansion pack composer Masayoshi Soken has outdone himself, lending more energy and emotion to each new location far better than any cutscene ever could.
For those of you looking for a continuation of our Heavensward MMO logs, the second instalment will run this weekend, as I was sidetracked by the powerful desire to level the new Machinist profession to 52 and continue the story from that point of view. Stupid game and its many, many choices.