Loot Pollution Problems & Unused Enemies - Proposals

Most readers here are probably aware of two features of the game that are currently considered to be problems by the community: loot pool pollution and unused enemies.

Loot pool pollution is the issue of numerous bosses or named enemies having too many items in their designated pools, so that the chance of obtaining a specific desired item from them is badly watered down by the presence of too many other “rare” drops in the enemy’s special loot pool.

By “unused enemies” I mean named or boss enemies that either do not respawn or do not have a unique loot pool, so that they either can’t be farmed at all or produce only world drops if they are farmable. This reduces replay value because there is less reason for players to revisit certain areas of the BL3 Universe.

Others have done the work of compiling a master lists of the designated drop sources for all the legendary items in the game. I used the information from This Spreadsheet.

K6 has posted a video Here covering all the unused enemies, with a link provided to a document that lists them.

Obviously this is a two birds with one stone situation - moving some of the items in the overpolluted pools to become designated drop(s) for unused enemies (while making many of the non-respawnables actually reappear) addresses both problems. This too has been proposed by numerous members of the BL3 community so I don’t claim this as my work either.

What I wanted to do is develop a list of the enemies that have the worst problems with pool pollution and a set of suggestions of which unused enemies could take on item(s) from those pools.

However, I’m also going to suggest a (very short) list of items that I think could be removed from the game entirely without any loss to players - because they are redundant with other items (two+ items doing essentially the same thing), because their effects are underwhelming, because the item in question is somehow anti-synergistic with its intended purpose, or some combination of the above.

I count up how many drops are in each enemy’s loot pool, how many of those drops are unique, and how many items have multiple designated sources (there aren’t many of these, but they do exist, and there’s absolutely no reason for it).

Those are the criteria I used to determine the priority list for de-polluting the pools. I want to emphasize that this method does not take into account whether any individual item in any enemy’s pool is considered “desirable” by the community. With one exception: I think the bosses at the end of the Circles of Slaughter should have high-quality drops. SO I changed the makeup of their loot pools a bit to improve the quality of the items they drop.

For purposes of these counts, I ignore whether an item can be obtained from a loot-o-gram and I don’t count Dinklebot. I also ignore Wotan’s chance to drop M4±only items like Vosk’s Deathgrip, the EM-P5, or the Driver com, so these items are treated as unique drops from their non-Takedown sources (similar to the M6+ items).

Additionally, for purposes of which unused enemies should take on items from the polluted pools, there are a few non-respawning enemies who probably shouldn’t respawn, such as Long-Arm and Brayden; both of these enemies appear near or in areas that should be “safe” zones once the player has cleared those areas in the main story. Once these areas are cleared, they should stay cleared. But an enemy like Sheega does not fit this description; there’s no reason she should be non-respawning.

First, a brief review of the numbers: in the main game only - not counting events or paid content - there are by my count 219 legendaries that can currently drop. There are roughly 65 - 70 extant enemies that have designated drops, depending on the method used to count (e.g. are the Power Troopers 5 separate drop sources or 1? Are “Thunk and Sloth” counted as 1 or 2 drop sources? It isn’t self-evident how enemies like these should be counted.) Under the loot pool allocation methods I would use, there are 54 unused enemies that could receive designated drops.

Including the 54 additional sources that I identify would reduce the number of drops needed in each pool to 2 per source - with very few exceptions.

Therefore I adopt the following rules for determining what the new drop pools should look like: Besides Wotan, the Valkyries, and Trial bosses, most enemies should not have more than 2 items in their designated loot pool. Any enemy with designated drop(s) should drop at least one item that is available regardless of Mayhem level. Enemies with unique drops should - again in general - receive higher priority for de-polluting their pools.

This means that an enemy such as Captain Traunt must lose either the Tankman’s Shield or the Kaoson (I chose to leave him the Kaoson because I want a reason for us all to kill that guy many, many, many times. KAOSONS ON TRAUNT!). So for a few enemies, I do move unique items out of their drop pools; but in general I try to avoid doing that.

I have also tried to maintain, where possible, some semblance of having an enemy’s drops fit the “theme” or “feel” of the enemy, or at least of the area in which they spawn.

Because there are so many enemies and items involved in this reorganization, I will not attempt to list everything here. This post is long enough already.

Instead I will provide a link to a copy of the Spreadsheets I used to do this: Designated Drops & Unused Enemies

This is a slightly simplified version - I have removed a few auxiliary sheets I used for reference and got rid of formulas. I’m hoping that at least some of these suggestions will at least be considered, but if they’re not, at least it might create a fun discussion.


My only issue with dedicated loot farming is that the drop rates have to improve. Like from 8.4% to at least 50% would be an acceptable farm rate IMO.

I’m hoping they can even the playing field across annointments so we don’t have to be so picky for specific annoints when farming.

Totally in agreement with you about dedicated drop chances; I have been saying for a while that dedicated drop % should scale with Mayhem level.

While it’s not a point I was trying to cover in the OP, I also agree that the current anointment pool is badly polluted with junk anoints; I’m hopeful that this will also be addressed in future patches.


They’re already working on spreading out the dedicated drops and increasing the drop rate.

Common feedback we receive is for named enemies to have their own drops. We are looking at making those changes and spreading out the loot pool in a future patch. This will coincide with an increase to the drop rate for dedicated loot.

Yes, I know they’re working on it. But they haven’t told us anything specific about what exactly that means, and they didn’t state whether it’s happening in phase 1 or phase 2.

I made specific suggestions for which items to move, which currently unused enemies should receive those items, and which items could be removed due to redundancy in the sheet to which I linked; e.g. deleting the Surge because it and Tina’s Hopper do basically the same thing, while also moving the Nova Berner and Star Helix to other pools; this reduces the number of items in the Power Trooper pool to 5 - one per trooper.

My hope is that the suggestions I made might give the devs some ideas, and maybe also that others will come up with some better ideas.

Besides that, it was fun just to try to work all of this out. I was particularly pleased with myself for realizing that anointed Psychos dropping the Krieg tribute ARs would be a nice touch and for having the idea to assign Rak’Nagob - a trolly boss in a trolly mission - the trolliest gun to ever troll the Vault Hunters (the ASMD).

Why stop at 50%? They should just give all dedicated drops the ion cannon treatment, 100% drop so you can just farm for parts and annoints you want


I agree with this, at least for M10. Private Beans gives a guaranteed Westergun and has a chances to drop additional items from his loot pool.

Why him? Why no other main-game enemy?

I think a good system would be to have most enemies give a guaranteed drop of one of their pool items with a modest chance for an additional drop (at M10 anyway). That would mean that, say, the Warden would give a guarantee of either the Freeman or the Plaguebearer (in my proposal the other two items in his pool get moved).

A set of “grouped” enemies like the Power Troopers wouldn’t necessarily need to be so generous because the player already gets multiple bites at the proverbial apple, but for lone enemies - especially bosses - a 100% chance for one of their dedicated items sounds about right.

Why just put better loot at the end of the Slaughters?
Proving Grounds should also be given some better loot to spread around.
They have been sorely lacking since day 1 and could use some love.
I prefer the more linear approach of the Proving Grounds as opposed to the Circles of Slaughter. Would love to see their loot improved drastically.

For Proving Grounds I can easily think of two possible solutions:

  1. Make all enemies in the Trial have increased chance to drop the Class mods currently assigned to the respective Trial Boss.

  2. Greatly increase drop rates for Trial Bosses so that 2-3 legendary class mods per kill is a typical result.

I prefer option 2 myself.

I don’t really object to having Trial Bosses drop class mods, which is the current system, but I do agree that they are currently pretty stingy.

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Thank you for your input @j_r_hicks87.

But this is what really grinds my gear - there are people on GBX who work 40h/week who couldn’t do this before release. If fans like you can touch this subject, so can developers who are specialized in this area.

I’ve week or so ago said that enterprises spend money on bug fixes of software that they use in operations. I said this is different, but now I see it is similar - instead of making money, relaxing or investing into youself you spend your money on redesign of loot system that should have been done by devs who are paid to do this.

Yes, you do not spend money like enterprise, but you spend your time.

Sorry for the rant, I hope you got something valuable from your work.

Those enemies could still be reused, but placed in other areas of the map which have otherwise no named enemies after the story component is completed. i.e. Brayden could spawn near the zone gate to Cathedral of the Twin Gods, and Long-Arm maybe could spawn close to the zone gate to the Anvil, or the area with the metal gate to the Jakob’s Estate that gives you the picturesque shot of the Mansion. There are plenty of options to incorporate them on their respective maps.

Also his list and yours is a bit incomplete. There are at least 6 that are not included in his list. I glanced through yours and noticed at least one he didn’t include, but still some are missing as well. This is not taking account of the DLC named enemies either.

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To your point about Brayden & Long-Arm - yes, their spawn points could be moved. That would be one way to let them respawn. I just felt that having a few enemies left that don’t respawn wouldn’t be such a big deal. This thread wouldn’t be necessary if the number of enemies on the unused list was, say, 6 instead of almost 70.

As for the list being incomplete, the same point applies.

My post didn’t cover DLC because the problems are not nearly as bad in those locations.

Although it does occur to me that Kratch needs a drop - I’d suggest giving it the Torch.

Since they didn’t include it in their description of Phase 2, my reading of it is that spreading out the loot pool will not happen until sometime after Phase 2.

Add to loot pollution, anointment pollution. It’s all fine and dandy to guarantee anointments, but not cool to create a dozen that nobody would use. I’m kind of shocked there isn’t a “while in fight-for-your-life, gain 20% movement speed” annoint.

Just gonna clarify a point that was brought up in the post, generally the larger a pool is, the higher chance there is to pull from the dedicated pool, evening out the odds (most pools are the same size anyways).

I think what would really help is not only greatly increased rates, but also a sort of dedicated override mechanic, where say a boss with dedicated loot drops 9 items, if 5 of them are legendary, then all 5 of the legendaries should have an increased chance for whatever drops to get overrided by their dedicated item, so you potentially get multiple tries per attempt instead of being polluted by world drops.

technically speaking more world drops dont mean less of a dedicated drop chance. There is a chance to pull from the dedicated pool and then the left over is world drop stuff, world drops dont technically effect whether or not you get a dedicated drop.

I doubt that an approach like that would help as much as one might think.

Conditionally replacing a world drop with a pull from the dedicated drop pool still runs into the problem of the drop pool being polluted.

Take Captain Traunt for example; he has 4 items in his pool at the moment. By moving 2 of these drops to currently unused enemies, chances at a desired drop (cough Kaoson cough) immediately double.

By requiring a layer of additional luck before getting an extra dedicated pull, you’re definitely not doubling the chances for a dedicated drop; nor are you reducing the ratio of trash drops to desired drops, which is also a source of player frustration.

And if there’s no extra condition for a bonus pull from the dedicated pool, your suggestion boils down to “increase drop rates without de-polluting the pools.”

The problem I’m trying to address is something very specific: not an imbalance between world drop chances and dedicated drop chances, or even drop probabilities on their own terms - both of which are definitely important considerations. The issue here is pollution of the dedicated pools themselves.

A direct solution is better than a workaround; so I stand by the idea of spreading drops out across more enemies.

Not sure having a dedicated loot source is the most important fix right now, since 90% of the guns are ineffective… And 99.9% of the guns are obsolete unless you also get the correct annointment that you want as well. Annointments has created a horrible RNG issue in this game. See post here

Until they give a better method of getting/crafting/farming annoints then dedicated loot pools are not a lone solution to the farming problem.

what you call loot pollution is actually borderlands

using best annoints on few best guns that is not borderlands

too bad this game has lost it’s way