Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Little Christmas Present from Padhric

Since I'm in the giving spirit, here's a little piece of information some folks may find useful. After playing around in the Yule Festival for a couple of years, it appears no one else knows about this tip.

As everyone knows, the Sack of Presents you get from the hobbit Sandydowns each day for completing a single Yule quest can occasionally yield some nice items like Symbols of Celebrimbor, stat tomes, emotes, etc. It is also well known each character can collect a Sack of Presents once per day. Therefore, it makes sense for each character to complete the easiest quest available in order to try their luck at getting something useful, and the easiest quest in Winter-home to quickly complete is undoubtedly Empty Keg Emergency. This post will tell you how to finish that quest even faster than usual.

The first step is obvious: go collect the keg, then turn around and head toward the Frostbluff Theatre. You will come to the intersection where the street T-bones and you can either go straight ahead (past the fireworks crate) or turn left (toward the theatre). This is where most people will go straight, then bear right and jump over the wall down to the keg and complete the quest. The only hitch is you have to be on the lookout for that one pesky guard who patrols the street to the theatre. Depending on your luck, he might be a non-factor with his back turned, but he does like to come to that intersection and halt there, impeding your progress and forcing you to wait.

As Inigo Montoya once said, "I hate waiting."

Here's how to avoid all guards without ever stopping your movement: instead of trying to jump over wall AFTER that nosey guard finally decides to turn away, jump the wall BEFORE you even reach him. The wall you jump consists of wall (before the intersection), then a building (at the intersection), then more wall (after the guard and the intersection). just before the building starts on your right there is also a tree. What you want to do is jump the wall in between the tree and the building. This way you never even encounter that guard and you can cycle through your toons much faster.
This trick lets you avoid any guards while never stopping your motion, enabling you to complete the Empty Keg Emergency quest as fast as possible.
But wait, you say, isn't there a guard at the foot of those stairs and won't he see me if I jump down that close to him? Yes, there is, and no, he won't if you do it right. The trick is to hug that building when you jump the wall. All of the walls in Winter-home have a little ledge on them, and you want to land on this then walk along it for a split second before falling off. You want to aim for the two o'clock position, ultimately falling on the first of the three feast tables which make up the final station of Ona Kay's eating contest (or on the bench -- you'll be safe either way).

The one hitch to this is making sure you are especially careful when trying this with a Hunter or a Warden with their speed buffs engaged. The additional momentum tends to make you hit the wall and bounce back backwards rather than hug it, which can knock you into the range of that guard at the foot of the stairs. Turning off the run buff mitigates this, or you can just be especially demonstrative about hugging that wall.

But wait, you say again, isn't this an awful lot of trouble for something that's already easy enough? Well, yes, it is, but it is also foolproof and you never have to stop moving. Besides, when you have 33 characters to run through this exercise every day like I do, the extra seconds are worth it!

Merry Christmas!

Master of Toons

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Sindarin Pocket Dictionary

That's what you might want as you do your sight-seeing throughout the six Circles of Minas Tirith! As I was traversing the tiers collecting rubbish for certains "urchins," I noticed some beautifully designed signage adorning the streets and alleyways of the White City and I got to wondering what they say. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

The translation of this first one should be pretty obvious since The Merry Swan is a pub you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time frequenting thanks to the ramblings of Forlong and his chronologically gifted posse. The tengwar here spell out Alph (Swan) [G]Elir (Happy). If the swan is so happy I can only imagine it's because he hasn't yet been conscripted into running errands for Fat Boy Forlong...

Here we have another fairly simple translation. It's common knowledge the name of this tavern is The Mumak and Keep and, sure enough, the writing spells out mumak a barad (tower). If only they were all so simple.

Next we have the sign outside of the Wheel and Cask tavern. This one was rather more difficult because I haven't been able to find a recorded translation for the word "wheel." The sign itself reads Hwinnir a Calph, and I have been able to find the translation for calph is "vessel," so that checks out. "Wheel" doesn't seem to have a matching word in any of the Elvish dictionaries I've examined, but Tolkien was known for using words that sound like what they represented. A good example is lalaith ("laughter"), so perhaps hwinnir is the word for "wheel" after all. It is worth pointing out hwin is the Elvish word for giddiness, or the way you might feel when the world seems to be spinning. -Ir simply indicates the past version of a verb.

Now let's take a look at the signs down in the First Circle. The most obvious element that jumps out at you is they all have the same first word. This word is sennas, which translates as "guesthouse." This first sign reads Sennas Forn, which should be quickly recognizable as "north." Hence, the "northern guesthouse."

Next we have one that was a little harder but still not too difficult. It took me a while to determine what the first letter of the second word was here since not all of the tengwar alphabets out there agree regarding what symbols represent what sounds. However, considering this is the sign outside the Old Guesthouse, it must mean the first letter of the second word is i, because the sign then reads Sennas Iaur, which is "ancient (or old) guesthouse." Ta-da!

This one gave me trouble for a while because, while the sign clearly reads Sennas Charn, I was having a heck of a time finding the translation for the word charn. I finally decided it must be "red," since charn (or, more frequently, carne) could be a reference to the three red blossoms on the tapestries outside this guesthouse. Those blooms are the heraldry of the Lord of Lossarnach, so the Red Guesthouse seems a fitting place for them to stay.
UPDATE: Now that Turbine has added wall plaques to every available surface in Minas Tirith, we now know this sign actually reads "Southern Guesthouse."

Finally, let's look at this nasty bugger. The first word is clearly lond, which should be immediately known to any Tolkien scholar as "haven," "shore," or "narrow pathway." Since the name of the tavern it heralds is called The Haven, this makes perfect sense. The second word, however, has taken me days to puzzle out and delayed the publication of this post for nearly a week. The second half of the second word is clearly -annen, which indicates the past participle variation of the word to which it serves as the suffix. The first half of the word, however, has given me fits. Meri? Veri? Mperi? None of these readings made any sense but, after pouring over multiple Sindarin translators, I've finally decided the first letter must be f, as some tengwar alphabets do indicate for that first symbol (as I mentioned before, not all of them agree on some points). The translation then becomes Lond Pheriannen, which does actually have a meaning: "The Prepared Haven."

I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did trying to figure it all out. If I've erred, please leave a comment to let me know!

Master of Toons

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Hiatus from LOTRO

For anyone who actually follows this blog (What in the world is wrong with you? -- Mrs. Pad), you'll notice I have been less than punctual about updating it over the past month or so. Which is like saying, "Gollum doesn't dislike sushi," or "Sauron has some minor control issues."

The thing is, since late September, Real Life had concocted a perfect super-storm Sandy-like scenario involving a prospective new job (which very nearly but ultimately didn't happen), Turbine's perverse and incessant ability to de-motivate people from playing their game (extra points for consistency, I guess), and also some really horrible projectile diarrhea from Chuckie (don't ask). Fortunately, all of these things have finally been resolved and I am back to saving Middle-earth from the forces of darkness once more (Oh, now I can sleep at night. -- Mrs. Pad).

It's certainly encouraging to see Minas Tirith in all of its glorious glory (Hey look! Alliteration and redundancy in a single phrase! You will now be charged double the price of admission). This speaks well to Turbine's new management and commitment to making the game more playable and adding interesting content. This doesn't mean I still don't want to heave Forlong's ample backside off the Pier's Bow or stab to death the next person who uses the word "urchin" in any context, but at least the game has a point again.

Now all we need is some hardware that isn't powered by domesticated rodents.


Master of Toons

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fun With LOTRO Pics

"Damn, dude! Did he owe you money or sumpthin'?"

Master of Toons

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Rumors of Vilya's Death Were (Not) Greatly Exaggerated

Things have been pretty quiet on the LOTRO front of late, most likely because folks everywhere are waiting for Turbine to get its act together and open up the world transfers. With the uncertainty that brings combined with the fact that it's late summer and (normal) people tend to go on vacation and/or start school around now, it feels like a logical time to take a break from the game.

I, however, finished school many moons ago and I don't really "do" vacations, so I'm still here. All I'm doing is grinding reputation with the various sundry (and largely pointless) factions in Central and Eastern Gondor in hopes of acquiring ... well, nothing really, because there's nothing worth having from those reputation vendors. But Guthinwe has always had maximum reputation with every faction in LOTRO, so I must help maintain his ... um ... reputation. Or something.

Fortunately, the Farmers' Faire has found its festooned way into Bywater, forcing me to fish and frolic among the many fantastic festivities (Is there no end to your depravity? -- Mrs. Pad). I always wanted a cornucopia backpack. How did you know, Turbine?

Master of Toons

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fun With LOTRO Pics

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"Come, Mordy! If you want to get on Dancing With the Wraiths, you must practice harder! Faster! UNDEAD-ER!"

Master of Toons

Friday, August 14, 2015

This Merger is Gonna be "YUUUUUGE!"

Tell me you wouldn't love a Donald Trump hairdo cosmetic in LOTRO. C'mon!

I swear I had no intention of leading off this post with a Trump gag but, not unlike the Donald himself, these things just sorta turn up on their own and leave behind an enormous, radioactive mess.

And speaking of enormous, radioactive messes, Turbine is closing down a few of their servers. Of course, when I say "a few" a mean it in the same way I might have had "a few" too many gummy bears the other day. We shall be left with only five U.S.-based servers: Brandywine, Landroval, Gladden, Crickhollow, and Arkenstone. Since my home server, Vilya, will be closing down along with the vast majority of the others, the Dawnbreakers (a most excellent kinship) will be deciding where to move sometime during the coming weeks.

Now, I don't want to make this about myself (Kicking the habit? -- Mrs. Pad), but it's pretty clear this whole server-closing business is a covert scheme to drive more readership to this, The Greatest Blog of All Time. After all, once a ton of players are dumped into whatever server I end up occupying, The Greatest Blog of All Time will instantly become relevant to a lot more people. Fear not: I shall not let you down, faithful readers. Nor shall I let my new-found celebrity go to my head (I hope not - your head is large and pointy enough already. -- Mrs. Pad).

In all seriousness, I need to pee. Okay. In all seriousness, the transfer will be an excellent opportunity for more folks to join the Dawnbreakers (a most excellent kinship). Therefore, if you are on the hunt for a calm, cool, and fun gaming community which prides itself on actually knowing who makes up its membership, I encourage you to check us out.

Once the transfer is complete, of course. I don't encourage it beforehand, since it would be as pointless as ... well ... joining a kinship right before they move servers.

Hey, it's Friday... cut me some slack.

Master of Toons

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fun With LOTRO Pics

"This isn't what I had in mind when I told you to come up with a mobile banking service."

Master of Toons

Monday, August 10, 2015

Oops! Did I (Forget To) Do That?

It's been how long since I last posted here?! Egad...

I've had a rough few weeks at work (said everyone, always), including some travel (which I dislike) and the pursuit of several millions of dollars (which I won't personally receive and, therefore, dislike). But that just goes to show you: time flies when you're having fun. At least, that's what they keep telling me this is.

Ah well, I'm sure I'd know fun if I saw it.

Since I'm aging and childless, it is required that I talk about my dog. Poor Mr. Goober has been in rough straits again, having developed a second corneal ulcer, this time on his right eye. He had one on his left eye last year, and Mrs. Pad and I were beginning to wonder if maybe we were doing something wrong that was causing this nasty malady. Goober insisted it was related to our refusal to let him try ice cream, but the vet says these things strike without warning and toy breeds like the Shih Tzu are particularly susceptible to them.

Thanks to The Goob's sub-par genetic material, he is back on antibiotics again. Being 77 years old (in doggie years) and also on an anti-inflammatory for his arthritis, we've concluded the poor guy is just getting old. I suspect it won't be long before he begins asking us about the Medicare doughnut hole and starts watching reruns of Wheel of Fortune. 
"Honey, why can't we just stop and ask for directions? It looks awfully Apocalyptic down that way."

Anyway, this is all to say things have been a bit busy lately at Casa de Pad, so I apologize for the lack of activity here on The Greatest Blog of All Time.

What's that you say? I'll have you know 100% of all experts polled agreed this is indeed The Greatest Blog of All Time, so who are you to question science?

How many experts did I poll? This sounds like character assassination to me. I demand that you cease these underhanded attempts at spreading propaganda or I shall be forced to stop quoting your questions before I respond to them.

Where was I? Oh, right: nowhere in particular -- my favorite holiday destination.

Now, before I was so rudely interrupted by myself, I was going to say: I shall endeavor to post more of my risible reportage at a slightly higher rate of frequency over the coming days and weeks. Your patience is greatly appreciated. Unless, of course, you have none, in which case you can borrow mine.

Just don't scratch it.

Master of Toons

Sunday, August 2, 2015