- New - A guide to making a Pistol/Gunslinger Build
- New - A guide to making a Melee Build
- New - Scav Magazine - All locations and details
- For New Players - Read the walkthrough.
- New - Open Season
- New - Power Play Quest
- New - Raider Outposts
- New - Nuka World Endings Guide - Options and Benefits
- The Grand Tour
- Faction Perks and New SPECIAL Ranks in Nuka World
- Gage (Companion)
Fallout 4: Respawning
Enemy and Loot Reset Rates & Cleared Areas
I've seen this asked dozens of times so thought I'd let my readers know that yes, like in other Bethesda games, enemies come back to locations you've cleared in Fallout 4. I suppose this comes up because the game's map tags areas you've finished as 'Cleared'. This just means you've found the majority of loot/cleared most enemies.
Some static items, like Mr. Handy Fuel outside Super Duper Mart will always come back. Enemies will reappear inside, ready to be slaughtered all over again and their bodies looted. If you can't take it over as a workshop, it'll respawn. Consider places like Corvega Assembly Plant - of course some new raider scum are going to set up base although the others are dead. The same bosses won't come back, but you'll usually find a 'leader' who is stronger than the others. Safe havens are scarce in the waste and there are always going to be new scum to take those places over, you can't stop crime entirely even with a government. Yes this is me putting a positive spin on this mechanic.
How Soon Do They Respawn?
Some players say it takes only 3 days for them to see new enemies in a location they'd previously cleared, though the game files state that it is 7 days for outdoors, and 20 days for [Cleared] areas to reset. This means the area inside a cleared zone will respawn faster than the loot outside.
Since fast travel times are based on your distance from point A to B, it's not awful to stop by little gas stations, grocers, and stores like that on your way back to your main base (assuming you have carry weight left), in order to collect a few extra materials. It just depends how much time has passed, as to whether these pit stops are worth it.
This is what makes getting the exact time for resets down a difficult task. Evidently, entering a 'cell' on the map can cause its timer to start over, meaning it will take longer for that cell to reset. If you want a certain area to reset, you'd need to rest in an area away from that cell (a bit across the map) or else inside, while avoiding the area if you're traveling. Cells are roughly squares on the map. If you're in an area where you had to load to enter it, you're safe to sleep and wait on the reset but it will take a lot of time.
Problems, and a Flaw in Fallout 4 - Enemy Level Ranges Locking
This fact makes me want to level up in the Northwestern and Central Commonwealth exclusively. When you first enter an area, the enemies' levels will be locked in a range appropriate for your level. The difference may not be large, say the area may first spawn at level 10-20, and if you're low (9) it will be 10. If you're over it, the cap is set at 20. Every time it respawns, those enemies will now be that same level. Not all enemies are set this way, but a majority seem to be. Also, you may see new enemies walking around (Supermutant Behemoths) that were not there at low level. This is randomness, those same enemies can be there even early in the game. There is a mod to fix this on Nexus, which will make enemies continually scale with player level.
I just want to point this out so that players know that newly discovered destinationswill be the best for locating new types of weapons later in the game, because not all enemies in previously visited areas will be in the 40s-50s with you and capable of carrying assault rifles, gauss rifles, fat men, and other desireable weapons. So exploring new parts of the map at higher level is going to find you better loot, period. You'll lock those areas in. Enemies can go up to level 60-100 depending on the type (Gunners, Brotherhood Paladins, Deathclaws and Yao Guai all have very high level variants that can spawn).
Better Loot, but More Dangerous
A little off-topic but the danger level of enemies increases the further east, southeast, and south you go from Sanctuary - so the fringes of the map will have higher level enemies than the areas you start in, which is appropriate. Players who go far Southeast and run into Gunners early in their adventures will find them a real challenge because their gear will outclass you and you won't have many perks.
Safes, toolboxes, and other locked objects will fully reset, allowing you to pick them again. Terminals and Protectrons will reset, meaning you can hack them all over again. All this is great, or else a long-term high level game in Fallout 4 would gradually drain the world of resources and make it so that you just cannot continue.
The only things that do not respawn are placed loot like Power Armor frames, Fusion Cores, special weapons, and bobbleheads. I've heard magazines can reset and can provide you a different copy (rarely) though if it's the same you will not get the Perk again, just something to sell unless you're collecting every one you find. Anything you're only meant to get once can't be picked up again, but as for supplies and enemies to kill for XP and loot, they'll come back and you'll get to level into the hundreds without running dry. Going back to previously explored places may even be fun, as there will be stronger enemies since you've leveled up.
This mainly applies to the southwestern, northeastern, and southeastern Commonwealth. Many areas near the starting zone just never have powerful enemies, aside from the random Deathclaw or Supermutant Behemoth encounter past level 40. My example - Super Duper Mart - is always full of weak Ghouls. Scrap Palace, a Supermutant base near the Southwestern Commonwealth will have NPCs like Supermutant Masters.
Shops Reset, too.
From personal experience, Shops seem to reset every few days - not a month like other places. They'll have new items and caps available to you, which greatly helps for some vendors as you can buy rare parts like ballistic weave and circuitry. This means if you've set up your own shops in your settlement and go out and do a couple of quests, those shops will be ready to take your unneeded guns and other items all over again.
So based on where you've been, you can head back for more action and clear zones over and over as time passes. Try and keep track of those places that served as raider/supermutant bases. Quest areas, like Fort Hagen, are boring to re-run, but there are only a few places like this.
More Fallout 4 Guides
Share Tips and Strategies Below
- Raider Outposts in Nuka World
- Nuka World - Play as a Raider in this DLC
- Far Harbor - Learn about the DLC, its secrets, and read walkthroughs
- Automatron - Guides to building bots and quest walkthroughs
- Settlements - An in-depth guide to Settlements and managing them
- Melee Build - the best perks for a melee character
- Sneaking - Learn to be stealthy
- Critical Hits - Shots to Crit and Crit damage mechanics
- Tips for Making a Build - General advice for creating your own build
- Action Points - AP and all the things that affect it
- VATS - all about the V.A.T.S. and AP usage on weapons
- Gameplay Tips - pointers that will help new players
- Making a Sniper Rifle Weapon mod examples. Heavy hitter and fast-firing Comparison - two guns from the same base.