Starfield pioneer murders the same elite enemy 100 times to reach a damning scientific verdict: The loot is bad

A defeated elite pirate clips through the ceiling and hangs there in Starfield.
(Image credit: Endecc on Reddit / Bethesda)

You ever feel like Starfield's best drops are a bit thin on the ground? Specifically, that its toughest elite enemies seem only ever to drop fairly naff rare and epic weapons instead of the legendary drops that come with three gameplay-altering modifiers? You're not alone, but now, as spotted by GamesRadar, one enterprising player has applied the scientific method to the conundrum.

The scientific method, of course, was invented by Aristotle back in the 4th century BC, and means killing one guy a hundred times in a row to see what happens. That's what Reddit user and Starfield player Endecc did to give a rough estimate of the odds of getting worthwhile legendary drops from high-level elite enemies. Friends, the odds aren't good.

I killed a Level 98 Pirate Elite 100 times, and put every drop into a detailed document. from r/Starfield

Playing on Very Hard difficulty on NG+2, the level 82 Endecc murdered a level 98 Pirate Legend a hundred times in a row with a crafty quicksave and an utter dispassion for the suffering of their fellow spaceman, recording the drops they acquired from the slain astronaut in a handy spreadsheet. Over the course of a hundred kills, the Pirate Legend dropped 66 rares (the lowest tier of elite gear with only one modifier), 24 epics (two modifiers) and 10 legendaries (three modifiers).

Our scientist was not thrilled by their results. It wasn't so much the frequency of legendary drops that bothered them—I suppose a 10% chance of obtaining the notionally best, yellowest gear in the game isn't too bad—but that even that gear could be "totally unscaled". Nine of the drops Endecc picked up (two epics and seven rares) were practically worthless, puny items valued at under 1000 credits, and even the legendaries featured such almost spitefully underwhelming entries as a plain-jane combat knife worth 1400 creds.

Now, I'm a Morrowind guy, so I have to say that the notion of a Bethesda RPG being utterly uninterested in what level I am and giving me whatever gear it damn well pleases kind of rules to me on some level, but I can understand the frustration here anyway. Gearing up like Schwarzenegger in Predator to hunt down your level 98 prey probably loses some of its appeal if there's solid odds all you're gonna get out of the ordeal is a slightly fancy kitchen knife. "Killing a level 98 enemy into a Disassembler Ripshank is laughable," says Endecc. Fair play, really, Ripshanks have never done anything for me in Starfield but take up inventory space.

Endecc's fellow players agreed. "I was doing a little farming on a 98'er last night and would  say that my very un-scientific findings are comparable to yours. I couldn't agree more that pulling unscaled-melee-drops is laughable," reads the top-voted comment from HenneBakedHam. Further down, a comment from player Sabbathius says much the same, but with capital letters: "I did the same, with 400 kills. My conclusion is, loot in this game SUUUUUUUUUCKS." 

"Realistically," continued Sabbathius, "the odds of organically finding something nice through normal gameplay, without save-scumming, are infinitesimally small… I stand by my earlier statement that loot in this game sucks. It just sucks. I'm sorry, but it just does." Then again, maybe it's just a karmic rebalancing for all those murders.


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Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.