Some will know this, some will not. If you do, kindly disregard, as this is meant as an educational exchange. Or, please feel free to contribute your favorite known places to "farm". 🙂
There are certain locations in the game where lots of rare plans, treasure maps, bobbleheads, and magazines spawn in a single area. They will not always be there, as the game rolls for a spawn chance when you enter an area on a server for the first time, and so it often requires several server hops to get them to appear. But, they eventually will and it can be very much worth it to server hop and re-roll the area's items until you find what you want or something too good to pass up.
First, a word about lvl 3 locked metal safes: Did you know that you can unlock a safe, look at it's contents, and if you Take or leave NOTHING you can server hop, re-pick the safe, and the items inside will be re-rolled?
So why is this important? Lvl 3 locked metal safes are one of the ways to get rare plans/recipes you can't get by scrapping or from vendors, treasure maps (Which sometimes allow you to dig up similar things), and uncommon weapons/armor you can scrap to learn mods. And even better, now that we have an indicator which tells us if a plan we are looking at is known, you can see at a glance if it is something you already have. So by re-rolling safes you can eventually "force" something you want to show up in the safe! With enough patience you can almost guarantee finding a treasure map or scarce plan/weapon/armor.
Bobbleheads and plans/mags/recipes lying out in the open operate similarly: Don't like what you got? As long as you don't pick it up you can re-roll the area they spawn in, and eventually get something different. Pick it up, and a 24 hour timer starts before the object will have a chance to spawn in the area again. Want a specific bobblehead, magazine, or a different plan? Server hop until you get it.
Now you may be asking "Given the chance I will get something I want, this seems awfully tedious…". And normally, yes it probably wouldn't be worth it to farm every plan/bobblehead/magazine and lvl 3 safe you find. Luckily, there are "jackpot" areas that spawn a lot of these items in the same spot. Re-loading THOSE gives you a much better chance of forcing something you want in a reasonable amount of server hops/time.
Which brings me to my entire point. I will offer 3 of my favorite places to employ this method. They are easy to get to, and contain a nice selection of items all in one place that can yield big rewards. I would like anyone who knows of a similar area to comment about it, so we may all share and reap the benefits of pooled knowledge! So here are 3 locations I recommend:
#1. Camp Venture Secure Storage
I'm not talking about where you turn in technical data. Inside the walled part of the compound near the Power Armor stations is a building with a red door. Inside of which is a steel cage security room behind a lvl 3 locked steel door. This room can spawn a magazine, 2 sets of plans, a bobblehead (There is even a second bobblehead spawn on the very same building's roof by some ventilation pipes, so you have 2 chances!), a lvl 3 locked floor safe, an ammo box and duffle bag. That's a LOT of chances to spawn something good/rare! I check it out every day and have gotten tons of new plans, mags, bobbles, etc… out of this place. Even very rare power armor plans! The plan spawns seem especially good, maybe having a better spawn pool because it is a Brotherhood location. I highly recommend this spot!
#2. Pleasant Hills Cemetery
Over by Lewisburg in the Ash Heap, this location sports 3 lvl 3 locked safes just lying around! That's 3 chances per visit for something good in a safe. I have found lots of treasure maps and new plans in the safes over the weeks. There is also a cap stash in a busted metal safe to more than pay for your trip there.
#3. Ranger District Office, Ranger Simmon's office and Watchtower
In the district office is a room with a terminal labeled "Ranger Simmon's Terminal". The room has a lvl 3 floor safe, and the chance for a bobblehead spawn. Visit the watchtower next door for another bobblehead spawn at the top.
These are just 3 nice areas. There are many, many others. I hope this helps people find rare stuff, and if you have a favorite spot please feel free to share it!
Edit: A not about the chances of finding plans in lvl 3 safes. The chance is small, which is why you generally want massed lvl 3 safes in a single location to help boost your odds. After posting this I made 6 runs through the Top of the World's Mezzanine Level, hitting all 3 lvl 3 safes in the shops every time and taking nothing. That's 18 safes opened. I managed to score one plan:
This illustrates why you want several max level safes in a single location. Do NOT try this on a single safe! Do you really want to world-hop ~20 or more times trying to get a plan? It will drive you bonkers. You could have bad luck and not get a single plan all evening, or ones you already know, OR hit a safe with a bad spawn pool and waste all your time. Don't do it! You have been warned, and I am not responsible for your hair loss, depression, fits of rage and resulting property damage. lol
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