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Disclaimer:This analysis together with my own research is vastly based on other people's previous finding and information from various sources like wikia etc, there would be lots of references from different previous post. If you find any of the content has violated any party's intellectual right, please inform me to modify or delete the inappropriate part, thanks!

Are you tired of getting owned by merciless gunners? Are you looking for a specific legendary weapon that never drop? Are you thinking that the game is trolling at you after an entire day of farming but only to find crappy bug slayer rolling pin or ghoul slayer gamma gun? Well this is a guide that analysis the game's mechanics and help you increase your chances of getting the specific legendary item that you desired. I've been playing fallout 4 about roughly 300 hours, killed about 300 legendary enemy at lv 100, and almost get every legendary weapon/armor that I wanted. So I think I could help some people by sharing my own research on how to do legendary farming correctly.

In one of the post from @covenanthunter1 he mentioned the method of building armor shop in your settlement and finding Smiling Larry/the scribe to purchase legendary equipment from them, well I think it's a good way for benevolent settlement builder playing type of person, however, it might not be viable for other general player as you need to invest 4 perks and go through a complicated process to achieve your goal, so what we are discussing is a general farming method that could apply to anyone without any requirements, all you need is gaming hours (apparently) and patience. In the next section I will mention save type, loot/non-loot lockable, locations, restrictions and other things that you need to know about farming.

So what is the chance of a specific legendary drop?

【Chances of a specific legendary item】=【Chance of the legendary enemy spawn】X【Chance of the legendary item type】X【Chance of the desired legendary prefix】

This is a very complicated process when goes to the details, the end result would usually be a very small number like 1/1000 to 1/10000, so chances of you getting a random good legendary item without proper farming will be almost non-existence. Let's analysis it step by step to determine how the legendary system works in fallout 4.

  1. Chances of the legendary enemy spawn

The game tells you that the legendary enemy spawn rate is determined by your difficult setting, but is it so simple that it depends solely on the setting alone? After this post you might think it the other way. Since I am not Bethesda developer and couldn’t tell you the result directly, the best I could do is to analysis how the drop rate works by testing and by personal experience, if you are a dedicated programmer you could try to use the creation kit to dig deeper into the source code and find out how exactly the drop rate is coded line by line, but as far as I go, I think my finding is sufficient enough for me to get decent stuff that I needed.

I personally play on very hard difficulty, because it's my first playthrough and it's more easy to do legendary farming when compared with survival, but I think difficulty setting should not be a limitation, you can do legendary farming at any difficulty you wanted, it just that the spawn rate might change. Let's assume the legendary enemy spawn rate at Normal is 1 out of 100, at Very Hard is 2 out of 100, at Survival is 3/100, then we have a baseline for comparison. There are generally three method of legendary spawn rate coding I could think of, by counter probability, by timeframe probability, and by hardcoded script probability percentage.

First, by counter: the game sets a counter for all of your legendary kill(apparently you could find it on your pip-boy), for each individual kill it counts a specific number of enemy which are normal enemies, then the next legendary enemy spawn. For example you play on normal, you've killed 90 normal enemy, the next place you go will bound to have 1 legendary out of 10 you encountered. This might be possible as during my playthrough if I killed a bunch of non legendary enemy, the next place I go would have a very decent chance of spawning one or even two legendary enemy. But I've also have the experience that I've killed a bunch of legendary enemy and goes to a farming spot, I could still get legendary enemy spawn. So I think this mechanic is possible but not exactly what the code might be to prevent you from getting excessive legendary items.

Second, by timeframe: the game sets a timeframe and spawn legendary enemy based on the probability setting. For example 1 in game day can only spawn up to 3 legendary enemy, each spawned legendary enemy drop the next spawn probability, thus limiting the legendary item you could get daily. This might be the most likely method of the spawn rate system, very similar to the affinity and the advanced farming method I'm going to mention in the next section. From my affinity leveling experience, when I power level X6-88 by getting in and out power armor, not everytime works(I use console command to monitor his affinity rating) , however, if I wait for 1 hour and do it again, it always work, and the X6-88 likes that pops out as well. During my farming experience, if stay around in my settlement to craft stuff and doing other sort of things, after that I fast travel to any place, there'll be a very high chance of encountering legendary enemies. However, I think there might not be a limit of a certain timeframe, which means you might get more than 3 legendary enemy spawn for 1 in game day, but the chances of it getting spawn might be close to non existence. Since I play the game consecutively(which means very few time waiting and sleeping), it may need more test to give a solid statement on this point.

Third, by hardcoded script:the game sets a fixed percentage legendary spawn rate on certain area. For example you go to the Abandoned house at bunker hill the first time, chances of getting a legendary glowing one on third floor is always 50%, regardless of your previous activities and difficulty setting. This may also be true otherwise the so called "farming spot" will not exist as well, if everything is determined by random spawn and probability percentage. However, I do think that either by timeframe or by counter method, the chances of spawning a legendary enemy in a specific scripted area is affected by your previous activities, the probability could be a combination of both scripted value and your current status value loaded into an equation, which determines the final result.

So if this holds true then you could alter the chances of getting a legendary enemy spawned in a specific area by killing a bunch of normal enemies first, wait for a certain period of time, set your difficulty to the hardest, and go in for the farming process. From my experience of farming West Roxbury Station, the first time I fast travel to Shaw high school and killed two legendary enemies outside, the chances of me getting a legendary enemy inside is 6 times out of 50 tries, then I loaded a previous save and directly fast travel to the Station and killed a bunch of normal super mutant outside, and went in for the farming, the chance goes up to 11 times out of 50 tries, almost double the probability. It maybe completely random and I just get a better distribution the second time, but hey these things are easy to do if you like to increase your potential chances of getting legendary enemy spawned.

2.Chance of the legendary item type

According to @ScotyDoesKnow and his post, during his finding on the game files, he came across a detailed legendary item drop table and their respective level requirements, which I believe to be quite accurate to the statistics of my 300 legendary items that I keep in my settlement. Here I would post it again of my own calculation just for the reference:

Item / Min. Level / Chance

Guns: 1/3

Guns low(below level 20):

  • 10mm, 1, 1/9X1/3=1/27
  • Laser Musket, 1, 1/9X1/3=1/27
  • Pipe Gun, 1, 1/9X1/3=1/27
  • Pipe Bolt Action, 6, 1/9X1/3=1/27
  • Double Barrel Shotgun, 7, 1/9X1/3=1/27
  • Pipe Revolver, 9, 1/9X1/3=1/27
  • Hunting Rifle, 10, 1/9X1/3=1/27
  • Submachine Gun, 10, 1/9X1/3=1/27
  • Laser Gun, 14, 1/9X1/3=1/27

Guns high(above level 20):

  • 10mm, 1 , 1/12X1/3=1/36
  • Hunting Rifle, 10, 1/12X1/3=1/36
  • Laser Guns, 14, 1/12X1/3=1/36
  • Institute Laser, 14, 1/12X1/3=1/36
  • Special Guns, 15, 1/12X1/3=1/36
    • Flamer, 15, 1/6X1/12X1/3=1/216
    • Railway Rifle, 15, 1/6X1/12X1/3=1/216
    • Minigun, 15, 1/6X1/12X1/3=1/216
    • Gamma Gun, 15, 1/6X1/12X1/3=1/216
    • Fat Man, 20, 1/6X1/12X1/3=1/216
    • Gatling Laser, 37, 1/6X1/12X1/3=1/216
  • Combat Shotgun, 17, 1/12X1/3=1/36
  • Missile Launcher, 21, 1/12X1/3=1/36
  • Combat Rifle, 22, 1/12X1/3=1/36
  • Plasma Gun, 24, 1/12X1/3=1/36
  • .44, 26, 1/12*1/3=1/36
  • Assault Rifle, 28, 1/12X1/3=1/36
  • Gauss Rifle, 35, 1/12X1/3=1/36

Any Melee: 1/6

Knuckles 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Board 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Baseball Bat 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Baton 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Boxing Glove 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Knife 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Lead Pipe 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Machete 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Pool Cue 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Rolling Pin 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Switchblade 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Tire Iron 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Walking Cane 1 1/22X1/6=1/132 Pipe Wrench 8 1/22X1/6=1/132 Chinese Officer Sword 13 1/22X1/6=1/132 Revolutionary Sword 14 1/22X1/6=1/132 Sledgehammer 15 1/22X1/6=1/132 Super Sledge 21 1/22X1/6=1/132 Deathclaw Gauntlet 25 1/22X1/6=1/132 Shishkebab 25 1/22X1/6=1/132 Powerfist 33 1/22X1/6=1/132 Ripper 33 1/22X1/6=1/132

Armor : 1/2 -> 1/6 Standard (level 1-20) 1/6 Sturdy (level 20-40) 1/6 Heavy (level 40+)

(No helmet)

  • Raider Armor 1 1/5X1/2=1/10 (Below Level 20)
  • Leather Armor 1 1/5X1/2=1/10 (Below LV 20) -> 1/4X1/2(X1/2 or 1/3)=1/8 or 1/16 or 1/24 (lV 20+)
  • Metal Armor 10 1/5X1/2=1/10 (Below LV 20) -> 1/4X1/2(X1/2 or 1/3)=1/8 or 1/16 or 1/24 (lV 20+)
  • Synth Armor 15 1/5X1/2=1/10 (Below LV 20) -> 1/4X1/2(X1/2 or 1/3)=1/8 or 1/16 or 1/24 (lV 20+)
  • Combat Armor 20 1/5X1/2=1/10 (Below LV 20) -> 1/4X1/2(X1/2 or 1/3)=1/8 or 1/16 or 1/24 (lV 20+)

This table gives us tons of information that almost covered the entire legendary item drop chances. As far as I am aware of, the only thing that affect the probability of a specific legendary item type is the level threshold: either of your own level or the enemy level that you are about to farm. Take National Guard Training Yard for example, the 4 sleeping ghoul in the main hall has a fixed level cap of 28, if you are level 25 and go for the farming, the maximum legendary item level you can get is level 25, which means you could get a Plasma Gun but not an .44 Pistol. If you are level 50 and go for the farming, the maximum legendary item you can get is Assault Rifle but not Gauss Rifle and so forth. The origin post includes the raw data table from the game files, which is quite confusing and not the exact drop rate so I did some test of my own. Note that there are “Guns Low” and “Guns High”, same as there are three types of armor: Standard, Sturdy and Heavy. From my testing any legendary enemy that is above level 20 WILL NOT drop any “Guns Low” gun except 10mm and hunting rifle, and will not drop Level 1 Armor except Leather Armor. However this level gate might go as low as level 16 when I were doing the farming test at Fraternal Post 115 and try to get a two shot laser rifle.The only weapon I get from about 30 time of testing is 10mm, hunting rifle, laser and institute laser, flamer, gamma gun, and other type of garbage melee weapons. I think the level gate of “Guns Low” and “Guns High” is level 15, as when I try farming the super duper mart for the Protectron at the front door which have a level cap of 14, I could only get garbage pipe bolt gun and other garbage weapons, I cannot even find a laser weapon which makes me believe the laser gun has been wrongly sorted into the “Guns Low” category. By the way I find that the legendary railway rifle will never drop for me as it might be somehow connected to the Underground Undercover Railway Quest, if you go for the peaceful ending and failed this quest, I think the system might lock down the railway rifle and you will never see it drop ever, which is a good things for me as I never use it and it narrows down the chances for getting other special guns.

From the analysis above we could know that “level” plays the most important role here, I’ve found another pattern that worth to notice: some enemies tend to drop legendary item that is close to their level, this MAY NOT be the truth if the item drop pattern is strictly based on the table above. During my farming at the Shamlock Taphouse, the most common weapon I’ve seen from the 21 level cap raider is Missile Launcher, which has the exactly level cap of 21. From some of my late game farming run at higher level place such as Fallon’s Department Store and Gwinnett Restaurant, at the first few couple of times the most common weapon I saw are Gatling Laser and Gauss Rifle, which have the highest level requirement. However, during one of my run at Gwinnett Restaurant and West Roxbury Station looking for a two shot Gauss Rifle, I’ve been farming for an entire 3 hours on a level 59 super mutant, only to find garbage melee weapons and tons of useless leather armor. Then I went back after the next day, I only farmed for about 10 minutes to get a Gauss Rifle spawn, and another 10 minutes or so to get the two shot prefix that I wanted. However, I did try to improve my legendary spawn rate by killing a bunch of normal enemy and wait for a period of time before going into the farming site,I think this might be the actual reason of getting the desired item so quickly the next day. From what I understand, this might just be pure luck or different distribution of each test result, in the end, the greater chances you get your legendary enemy spawn, the better chances you get the desired legendary item type you want.

3.Chance of the desired legendary prefix

This is the most complex part of the entire farming process, it would include the legendary prefix loot table, different save type,legendary effect restrictions, how to loot lock your enemy, and how to find farming spot, how to do advanced legendary farming, and how to improve your chance by altering the prefix table. Starting from the legendary prefix table, there are total of 48 non unique weapon effect including all DLC expansions, 1 unused (Medic’s), 8 unarmed, 4 ballistic weapons, 10 ranged weapons, , 2 guns and rest of 23 effects for all weapon types. So what’s the difference of these effect types? You could see it as a pyramid shape that the higher it goes, the lesser weapon types that the effects could be applied to, with the exception of heavy weapon and some specific weapon. For example an effect that could apply to “all” weapon type WILL appear in every weapon type. Unarmed effects apply to only melee weapons which is easy to understand. “Guns” effect apply to any weapon type except melee weapon, “Ranged Weapons” apply to any guns type weapon except some heavy and special weapon, and ballistic weapons only limit to non energy-based gun type. This means you will NEVER get Two Shot Missile Launcher, Rapid Gatling laser, Vats Enhanced Mini Gun, or Explosive Laser Rifle. The only way you could get them is either obtained from specific NPC (like Big Boy and Final Judgment), or using console command or other cheating mods.

Similar to weapon effects, there are total of 28 non unique armor effect including all DLC expansions, 1 of them applied only to non-power armor legs, the rest of them could apply to any legendary armor drop, except power armor which will never drop and has been excluded from the legendary drop table. So it’s pointless to talk about power armor legendary effect, as you could only get them through specific methods and quests.

Thanks to @comiconomist and his post about the legendary prefix effects mechanics, who has look into the scripts of how the legendary prefix rolls, that we could better understanding how the system determine what exactly prefix you will get from a specific drop, here are the original post:

“I took a look at LegendaryItemQuestScript.psc, which is the Papyrus script I'm pretty sure handles the generation of legendary items (that or it's 200 lines of code they left in the game that isn't being used). I explain the code verbally below. I use the word "mod" instead of "legendary effect" because the legendary effects are implemented as mods attached to weapons or armor. Here's how a legendary item is created: The game calls a function GenerateLegendaryItem, passing it up to four arguments:

  • An object to spawn in (in vanilla this is always a legendary NPC, step 1)
  • A leveled list of items to spawn from (level locked, step 2)
  • A list of mods to choose from (this is the list of legendary effects the game can choose from, step 3)
  • A list of mods to exclude (this is so they can exclude some mods if they want to, step 4)

The game starts by choosing an object from the leveled list to create. It does not seem to keep track of what type of item was created, so I'm pretty sure you can receive multiples of the same item within a short span of time (e.g. there is nothing stopping you getting two legendary miniguns in a short space of time). If the spawned item is a weapon, the game adds ammo to the thing it is spawning in after the next step. GenerateLegendaryItem calls another function "AddLegendaryMod". This function immediately calls another function, GetAllowedMods. GetAllowedMods creates another list of mods by going through the list of possible mods to choose from and only keeping those that are both allowed on the item that spawned (determined by a bunch of keywords defined in the Creation Kit) and are not on the list of excluded mods. After the function knows what mods are allowed, it creates another list called PreferredMods by keeping those mods that aren’t on a list called PreviouslySpawnedMods. If PreferredMods is empty, it clears PreviouslySpawnedMods and puts all of the allowed mods in PreferredMods. Either way, it then draws a random mod from PreferredMods, attaches it to the item and spawns it in the game. There are no weights on this random draw, so each mod appears with equal probability.”

“There are a few things to note about all of this: ·In practice this function seems to be called by the abLegendaryCreatureItemEffect, i.e. the magic effect on legendary creatures: when called in this context only the object to spawn in is passed as an argument, so in practice the game is always using the default leveled list, a complete list of mods, and is not disallowing any mods. ·The behavior in step 4 is intended to be "Do All Before Repeating" behavior, so every legendary effect should spawn before the player sees any repeats. However, note that both armor and weapon effects are stored on the same list. Hence if the game runs through all the armor effects and then spawns a new piece of armor and goes looking for an unused legendary effect, it won't find one appropriate for armor and it will reset all the legendary effects. I found this gem of a comment in the code: * NOTE: We aren't guaranteed to have gotten each mod yet before we clear PreviouslySpawnedMods ;because some non-used things might not have rules that passed during current call to GetAllowedMods ;but it's okay that we reshuffle the deck from time to time before seeing all the cards - so to speak ;this is effectively how the various "Do All Before Repeating" functionality in the editor works ;*** We could make this less prone to resetting if we kept seperate arrays for weapon and armor mods ”

This is indeed a very interesting post as it reveals how the game called its function in a specific sequence, the sequence is exactly the things we talked about above, the first step: picking a legendary entity; the second step: determine the drop item by levels; the third step: determine the available mods for a specific weapon, and the fourth step: exclude some mods from the available mods pool based on the preferred legendary effect pool. Because the existence of [PreviouslySpawnedMods] and [PreferredMods], you might not be able, or having a very tiny chance to get a specific effects out of the 48 weapon effects or 28 armor effects. Assuming these two functions are not exist, then we would have an even 1/39 chance or 1/28 chance to get the prefix we wanted for a specific gun or armor. However, sometimes after 1 or 2 hours and hundred times or so farming tries, you’ve found out the enemy only drop a limited prefix that none of them you wanted. After another hundred tries you are slowly getting mad and thinking what are you doing with your life, and after a couple of hours of endless trying only to find out the game is trolling at you big time, that you can’t stand the rage anymore and decided to blow your screen up... Before you go down this path and drive yourself to madness, check your current legendary prefix first! This will save you countless time and help you get your desired equipment without painful farming experiences.

This comes into the discussion of how to do legendary farming, different save type, and theory of probability. So how exactly you do legendary farming? You execute a farming process by forcing the game to load a specific area multiple times, where it has a high probability to generate a loot lockable legendary enemy. You need different saves and very specific locations to achieve this goal. First, Quick Save and Auto Saves: You game could only have one quick save, it saves the current status of you and your environment, which I believed is put in the memory of your PC or Console. Auto Saves: turn on the function from game setting, and it will save automatically upon fast travel, entering an indoor loading area and every X minute when you open your pip-boy, depending on your preferred settings. For a general process, you do a quick save outside the farming spot, enter the building, the game will create an Auto Save upon entry, then kill the legendary enemy inside (if being spawned) to find out what legendary item it carries, if it is the desired item type you wanted, then you load your Auto Save and starting from that on to try to get the legendary prefix you wanted; if it’s not the desired item type, you load your quick save outside the building and enter the building again to try to get the desired item type. This is basically executing step 1,2,3 and step 1,2 repeatedly, until you roll your desired item.

So what is loot lockable? Loot lockable means when you load your Auto Save, the previous legendary enemy will always be there, and carry the same type of legendary item, only the prefix has changed. This is the most important part as you basically cut the chance of getting desired item from 【Chance of the legendary enemy spawn】X【Chance of the legendary item type】X【Chance of the desired legendary prefix】into 【Chance of the legendary enemy spawn】X【Chance of the legendary item type】. For example if I am farming the Croup Manor basement for an explosive combat shotgun,assuming the chances of the legendary glowing ghoul spawn rate is 50%, then the chance of getting a combat shotgun is (1/2)X(1/36)=1/72, then starting from this point you try to roll your desired prefix which is explosive, and it has a 1/39 drop chance by default, using exclusive probability calculating method you need (71/72)213 ≈ 95% probability to get combat shotgun and (38/39) 115 ≈ 95% probability to get the explosive prefix, which means you need a total of 213+115=328 times loading to guarantee a 95% drop rate for the explosive combat shot gun, if you do one sweep in half minute, then you need roughly about 2 and half hour to get the desired weapon. The number seems to be large, but do remember probability is a subjective analysis and it always varies, to think it another way, if you get your desired weapon in this roll, then you have a probability of 100%, if not then it’s always 0%. But if you encounter an enemy that is non-loot lockable, ignoring the spawn probability, chances of getting an explosive combat shotgun=【Chance of the legendary item type】X【Chance of the desired legendary prefix】= (1/36)X(1/39)=1/1404, which is a huge difference from the probability of loot lockable enemy, and it’s almost small to non-existence that you might never get an explosive shotgun out in the wild.

From my perspective, the loot locking method is achievable only because of the loading sequence of how a legendary item is generated. Thanks to [PreviouslySpawnedMods] and [PreferredMods] that provides us enough time interval to do the trick as Bethesda tried to make it a really complex process by adding different records and trackers. As I have mentioned above, the chances of legendary enemy spawn is probably based on a timeframe system, same as the entire legendary generate function as well. The purpose of Auto Save is to cut down this process before the system calculates and determines what exactly the legendary item to spawn, and load it from the middle to try to “re-roll” the prefix that you don’t want. By understanding this process we could start doing advanced farming technique that loot locking are not limited to Auto Save anymore, essentially you can use any save to achieve this goal. The most easy way of achieving it is using Quick Save of course, you can replace your Auto Save with Quick Save by pressing quick save button when the area is not completed loaded (at black screen), essentially you should have an entire timing window before the system determine the exact legendary item, but it’s more easy to press auto save when you are in black screen mode. This doesn’t have any difference when you are doing indoor loot lockable farming compared with the general method, but this is a great method to turn some of the non-loot lockable enemy into loot lockable, especially if you are outside at an open field. If you are using this method you must do hard save before you goes into a certain area. Because the nature of this method, we are going to talk about loading area, and how the game handles loading area in general. Upon you enter a certain farming spot, the only loot lockable enemy (for general method) are those the game has already loaded, but not yet finished, ie, the enemy in the previous loading area, you can easily determine whether the enemy is pre-loaded or not by using “killall” command at the front gate, if there is any enemy that is still alive, that it’s non loot lockable using general method. If you entered an area that is not pre-loaded before, you would be easily losing the opportunity to loot locking the specific enemy, and you don’t want it to become a random generated item.

For anyone to use advanced farming method efficiently, you should have enough gaming experience and know your enemy well-to be more specific, know the exact place that a legendary enemy may spawn. The best example in this case is the Deathclaw at the top of Hay Market’s balcony, which by using general method is non-loot lockable. If you load the Auto Save when heading out to the balcony, you would always find different legendary item and their prefix the second time you load the auto save. Same as the Sentry Bot at the swamp of gunner plaza’s south area. However, by using advanced farming method, your objective is to find the sweet spot to do your quick save, from which you could re-roll the legendary prefix of the intended enemy. Always remember to do a hard save before doing this, so if you don’t like the item spawned, load your hard save and find the sweet spot and do it again, if you find your desired item then starting from your quick save and try to get the desired prefix in this way. When compared with the general farming method, it has many disadvantages such as you need to find the sweet spot every time, and it’s generally slower when compared with the normal farming method, but you have the chance to loot lock some of the enemy that are not possible with the normal method. Eventually you are using the same mechanics, that is to break the legendary item generate process and cut into the middle of it, so you could re-roll the legendary effect by reloading it over and over again.

And finally the last step: A list of mods to exclude from the spawned item. This is where the [PreviouslySpawnedMods] and [PreferredMods] function works. In an ideal case that we analysis above, we assume each of the legendary effect has the same spawn rate, however, apparently this is not the case and as it might be heavily determined by the previously legendary item that you have obtained. This is not a simple 0 and 1 logic, as you could get two EXACT same effect legendary weapon in a shot period of time, for me I’ve seen it at least 3 times happening during my late game farming process, not to mention the random loot while I was leveling up. From what @comiconomist summarize, “this implies a clever way to lock down your legendary items. I assume you want an explosive weapon: if you want a particular type of armor then swap weapon and armor in the steps below. The idea of this algorithm is simple: you want to narrow down the set of legendary weapon effects you can get until any weapon you get has the effect you want. Now, this algorithm doesn't work in one shot: it's more of a "keep in the back of your mind" type algorithm that will eventually get you what you want guaranteed.”

In the next section he listed an extreme cases that you narrow down all the prefix that you don’t want until only the desired one left. This is a good thinking but not viable for practice, the general idea behind these two functions is to decrease the chances of you getting the same legendary prefix over and over again. It’s a beneficial way for Bethesda to demonstrate the variety of different cool effect, but eventually you would find only very few of them are very useful. For example you want a two shot plasma gun, but you already got a garbage two shot pipe gun an hours ago from a random loot, chances of you getting the second two shot effect on the desired plasma might be greatly decreased. Let’s assume the system has rolled 20 different weapon effect for a specific legendary gun drop, the first time your chance of getting the two shot effect is 5%, the second time the two shot effect may even not in the prefix table, or in the least preferred list that might have a chance of 0.01% drop, that you would almost NEVER get the desired prefix you wanted, even you’ve already spend tons of time to get the desired item type.

But how to change the invisible legendary prefix loot table that is determined by the complex logic behind the scene? And how to increase the chances of getting the desired legendary prefix? Not like their previous game Skyrim,you could simply change the merchant’s inventory by killing them and reload a previous save, or changing some of the people’s hostility by closing the game and open it again, Bethesda seems to make a lot of improvement on the memory based item tracking and record system that many of the tricks by opening/closing, or saving/loading will no longer work again. So we need to go deep into the logic and find out what exactly changed the loot table. According to the step 4’s do all before repeat characteristic, you can’t directly change the loot table by simple console command or other “cheap” method (not that I know of), as it’s programmed that way to exclude the other legendary effect before drawing the new one. Good thing is from his post the logic says that when choosing the new preferred effect after emptying the previous one, the weight of the draw seems to be random, which means that every effect has an equal chance of being chosen. However, I find it really hard to believe in this way both from the statistics of my each farming record and the actual farming process I’ve encountered. If we think it reversely, Bethesda could easily add a probability chance to limit the spawn rate of a “certain” legendary prefix, in order to prolong your play time to try to grab the “awesome” weapon you desired. During one of my farming for an Instigating Gauss Rifle at Wilson Atomtoys HQ, I’ve spend an entire two hour trying to dig out all the weapon effect on my current prefix table, of all 39 effect I get 37 out of them, only missing Two Shot and Furious I believe, which I think it might have a significant lower chance when compared with the others. Notably, some of the prefix I’ve seen it countless time while other couple of them like wounding, explosive, instigating etc I only see a very few time, and for a long period of time before this farming (about 5 level differences) I’ve never get any prefix of two shot or explosive weapons. This seems to be very obvious when it comes to the few useless prefix added into the weapon pool of the far harbor DLC: which are Defiant, Resilient, Resolute, and Steadfast etc. Although they are labeled as Ranged Weapon’s prefix, during my testing they have a very high appearance that even have surpassed some of the prefix that are available for all weapons. At the very least the “equal” chance of legendary prefix being draw into the “preferred spawned mod” is questionable. So generally speaking, if your current prefix table is being locked and has none of the prefix that you want, you stop farming altogether, play the game normally and wait for the preferred table to reset itself. But how did you know when the preferred table reset? During your playthrough you might find some of the legendary enemy you killed do not drop legendary item, this might be the reason at the very time you killed that enemy, your preferred table runs out and the system could not spawn a legendary item accordingly, for example, if there are no more than 10 weapon prefix and no more than 5 armor prefix, then the preferred table will reset itself and draw the new one from the legendary prefix pool, but the current enemy will not spawn any item because the previous table runs out.

But If I want to farm legendary items now, how do I change the loot table? Well there are generally two ways that I am aware of:

The first method is easy and simple: grab your power armor and circle around the glowing sea, or clear out the Gunner Plaza and/or Quincy Ruins as these places usually have a huge enemy base and a decent chances of spawning legendary, or you could circle around the Boston city area with a jet pack, trying to spot legendary enemy and kill them, ignoring what item they would drop (you’d better pick them up LOL). So in this way you force the legendary item drop and hence try to shuffle the prefix table by killing a bunch of legendary enemy, at the same time trying to make some caps and find some goody eh :) One suggestion though, be careful when cleaning indoor area, because you might always have a chance of compromising the potential farming spot, a better hunting way is to only kill legendary enemy, and leave the rest of them alone as many as possible. If you don’t want to accidentally clear out one of the repeatable farming area, you never kill the named boss, (except for the main quest of course) don’t ever try to clear out a place unless you are certain it’s not re-spawnable and once only. Lots of the place do not have a named boss, and may consist of several higher level and several lower level enemy, the games seems to determine whether you’ve cleared this place or not by certain enemy and/or the percentage of enemies you have killed.

The second method requires a little bit maneuver. First thing you need to find a Syringer rifle, which could be purchased from Doctor Sun in Diamond City, or complete the quest at Vault 81, or some other hospital/medical center places. The second thing you need are tons of Bloatfly Gland and Psycho(or component for making Psycho), the goal is to make a good number of Bloatfly Larva Syringe and fire on any enemy you have encountered. As there would always be a decent chance to get a legendary Bloatfly spawned from the Bloatfly Larva Syringe (maybe the only value of its existence LOL). So when compared with method one, you don’t need to travel around, you don’t need to take the risk of clearing undesired locations, as long as you have enough material to make Bloatfly Larva Syringe and can tolerance the grossy Bloatfly crap LOL.

There are also some of the people claims that leveling up might change the loot table, which is not explainable if we only consider the step 4 process. From my perspective, these players may have been in a significant lower level when trying to do legendary farming, it’s generally not advised to do so but let’s assume if a player is at level 14, then he level up to level 15, at which level the system enables all the special weapon drop list, then all of a sudden various of new prefix has been available on these special weapon drop, when compared with the previous level at extreme cases that most of the available prefix are melee based, the preferred mod list might instantly ran out and reset itself. Essentially this is by altering step 2 process to get the step 4 changed, but as far as I am concerned, this might not always work if you are in a higher level.

Last but not least, the farming site: although in theory you can use advanced farming method to loot lock ANY legendary enemy you have encountered, in reality most of the legendary enemy you’ve encountered outdoor are random and may not have a fix location, this makes advanced farming nearly impossible for these random generated enemies, since you do not know the exact distance and sweet spot for loot locking your save. Henceforth knowing the location of farming site and using general farming method becomes more important. Do notice that there are a lot of places that are ONCE ONLY place, meaning you can only farm it once, the game will set a marker on these places and record everything you have done, and it will never respawn without using the console command.

I’ve also come a cross a post that someone says some particular locations will LOCK you level upon your first entry, for example if you are level 25 and goes to NGTY, the place will lock your level regardless of your current status. So what does it matter if the enemy is capped at level 28 there? Well from the post and my experience, although the lock down may not affect your current farming, it might hamper the place for your future farming. When the game deciding whether to spawn a legendary enemy or not, it check your current status first. If you are say level 80 and the game could not spawn an enemy that is comparable to your current level, it might skip pass the following script and may not spawn the enemy at all, regardless of the level cap of the exact places. This might hold true for some of the places that do not scale with your level, but it may also because the places could only be loaded once. Either way from my farming experience at NGTY, I’ve only farmed it twice during the entire playthrough, one is at doing the BOS Lost Patrol Quest, second is at doing the Sliver Shroud Quest, the first time I’ve got a Powered Combat Armor, the second time I got a VATS Enhanced Plasma Gun. After that I’ve never been able to farm it again, the legendary enemy just won’t spawn, even the area has already been respawned. However, at that time I do not know the gaming mechanics and clear out the place, and this might be the reason the place never spawn legendary for me again.

So how do we do legendary farming correctly? First rule, figure out the level cap of the places you wanted to farm. You don’t want the farming site to lock your level up, and you don’t want to clear out the indoor places at all. This doesn’t mean you cannot do legendary farming when you are at low level, yet you have to be very careful when doing so, and it’s advised to go to the place that you exceed the level cap of the enemy there.

Second rule, check your prefix loot table. The only way I know is to do the legendary farming process, yet you are not intended to get a specific item, you just wanted to know what prefix you have in your current table, then starting from this point you decide whether to do the farming at this time. But if you don’t want to waste time to check your prefix table, the other option is just to play the game normally, but pay very close attention to the legendary item you obtained: if the random item you got has the prefix you wanted (for example two shot or explosive), you stop the game and load a most recent previous save, then starting from that save you head to the farming site directly, since you know that the particular prefix is in your current loot table.

Third rule, be patience ! Make the best preparation first, and use all of the farming technique to the best you can. Don’t expect to get the most powerful weapon in 5 minute, because that is game breaking and nearly impossible. Sometimes you might be farming an entire night and get nothing, but as long as you have the prefix in your loot table, you would eventually get it. It just a matter of probability distribution, so don’t be frustrated if you do not get your desired item in one hour. And also remember to keep other valuable item to different saves as well, for example during one of my farming at Four Leaf Fishing Plant, I was going to farm a wounding gating laser, instead I’ve found a mini gun and explosive prefix. I’ve keep that save and continue farming, after 20 minutes then I’ve got the explosive prefix on my minigun. So keep the valuable item you have found, since getting a good prefix on a decent gear is a hard thing, don’t expect to get everything in one run.

Here are the legendary farming spot I’ve come across so far, thanks to @rapeerap and @covenanthunter1 as they have provided very valuable farming sites for everyone to see:

Lower Level Farming Site:

USAF Satellite Station:

level cap unknown, legendary enemy only spawn limited time,missing information

Concord Civil Assess:

Level cap 10, loot lockable, legendary radroach upon entry, Once Only

Super Duper Mart:

  • Level cap 9 for non-loot lockable ghoul, usually at the store room or basement area
  • Level cap 14 for loot lockable Protectron at the front gate, usually drop lower end item

Shamrock Taphouse:

  • Level cap 21 for loot lockable raider at second floor
  • Level cap 10 for radroach at the small store room behind an iron door

National Ground Training Yard:

  • Level cap 28 for loot lockable ghoul at Recruitment Office Hall
  • Level cap 28 for feral ghoul or glowing one at Barracks upon first entry

DB Technical Highschool Basement:

  • Level cap 28 for loot lockable raider upon entry;
  • Level cap 28 for loot lockable raider at the other side close to the metro entrance

High Level Farming Site:

Abandoned House at Bunker Hil:

Scaled level, loot lockable Glowing One at third floor behind an advanced lock, Once Only

West Roxbury Station:

Scaled level, 1 in 2 loot lockable super mutant down the stairs upon entry, (Once Only)

Fallon’s Department Store:

Scaled level, 1 in 2 loot lockable super mutant below the escalator upon entry

Gwinnett Brewery:

  • Scaled level, 1 in 4 loot lockable super mutant at the left side upon entry
  • Level Cap 34, Glowing Mirelurk at the lower level of the building

Wilson Atmatoy HQ:

Scaled level, 1-2 loot lockable super mutant spawn randomly; (1 non loot lockable at basement)

Four Leaf Fishing Plant:

Level cap unknown, loot lockable ghoul usually at ground level

Coastal Hideout:

Information unknown

Poseidon Energy:

Level cap unknown, 1-2 loot lockable ghoul upon first entry, (1 non loot lockable) Once Only

Bobbi’s house basement at Good Neighbor:

Level cap 34, 1 loot lockable Glowing Mirelurk at the right side after blowing up the first wall, Once Only

Croup Manor Basement:

Scaled Level, 1 loot lockable ghoul at the bottom of the stair upon entry, Once Only

FEV 5 Lab at the Institute Bio-science Department:

Level cap unknown, 1 Assaultron in the middle of the map, Once Only

HalluciGen Inc:

Level cap unknown, 1 loot lockable gunner at the front door, (1-2 non loot lockable at the back)

Hay market Rooftop:

Level cap unknown, 1 non loot lockable Deathclaw at the edge of the building

Lynn Wood:

Level cap unknown, 1 non loot lockable Deathclaw upon manual trigger

Gunner Plaza's South Swamp:

Level cap unknown, 1 non loot lockable Sentry Bot upon manual trigger

These are the places that me or other people have been farmed and have a good success rate of finding good legendary item, the info inside the brackets are either not confirmed, or are random based on each farming/playthrough. Feel free to post your comment and share your finding with other as the info I’ve provided might not be accurate and could only be served as a reference, and this is not an exclusive list, any location could become a potential farming site depending on your quest status, and your farming technique.

In the end, happy farming everyone! Hope you could find the legendary item you wanted, cheers.

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