I recently tried running through both West Tek and Burrows, doing speed runs to see how fast I could clear each location and compare the time to clear and the total experience gained.
I was using a bloodied shotgun build to quickly kill each enemy with vats in one shot. The shotgun was a BE25 Less Vats, and with the Grim Reaper perk in luck, I had plenty of AP to sprint and shoot. The only thing that really slowed me down was not being able to sprint while reloading.
Every run was on a private server with no experience buffs but I did have 30 Intelligence, so the total XP you get could be more or less and these numbers are just for comparison purposes anyways.
So, on average, I got about 15,000 XP from the Burrows which I cleared in, on average, 5 Minutes and 30 seconds. This was the whole run from Burrows South, and I run a very specific pattern to clear every single ghoul spawn (The spawns are really weird and if you're not aware or don't know how they spawn in while you're in that interior, you will miss them). This includes fully clearing to the robots, often times if you server hop back into the same server, the ghouls will respawn but the robots will not. It's honestly better XP wise to skip the robots and just immediately server hop after killing the ghouls by the valve. So average XP/hour for the burrows would be about 159,000. If you skip the robots your XP/hr goes up to a little over 180,000.
In order to clear West Tek as quickly as possible, I had to use Berry Mentats, as there's precious seconds lost while looking for enemies you just don't have to worry about with the Burrows. With the Berry Mentats, you can clear very quickly, and even though there is far less XP overall at this location, you can clear it quicker than the burrows. Total XP at West Tek was 11,000, and the average time to clear was 3 minutes and 48 seconds. I had to skip the second portion of spawns at the opposite entrance in order for West Tek to still be competitive in XP/Hr. So, when I server hopped, I cleared the spawns immediately at the entrance and went straight in, and I did not run around to the other side or exit the building after clearing the interior to finish of the remaining ones outside. The XP/hr is 157,500. If you don't skip them, the fastest method is to run around and clear before entering, but XP/hr drops to 139,550.
So, there's a huge advantage to burrows in XP/hr, but the advantages don't end there in my opinion. The super mutants came much closer to killing me than the ghouls ever did. It's pretty easy to run the burrows without ever getting hit once. There are more individual enemies in the burrows and more chances to get legendaries. You can also pick up 5 tin cans along the way which, after hours of running, is thousands of lead and steel. West Tek is great for steel if you scrap all the weapons, and if you need lots of steel, it's a great place to go… but looting anything at all really slows you down and wasn't my purpose. I mainly wanted to compare the two locations, as I see a lot of players mainly going to West Tek, which was a great place to go before they implemented the burrows. Ever since we got a sneak peak on legendary perks and the Legendary Run was added in, I've been trying to level like mad. I'm currently level 750, and I wanted to know for sure what the best method was. I had always assumed West Tek was the best, but was frustrated with how often I'd run into a dead and cleared interior, forcing an immediate server hop. So, I reluctantly would stick to the burrows for reliable spawns. After doing this little test, I was actually surprised to see how good the burrows is.
My conclusion is, if you want to level up as quickly as possible, the burrows is the best location. And the best method is to clear the burrows up until the robots, immediately server hop and get back at it. There does seem to be a good chance at legendary robots though, so it doesn't hurt too much to clear them too. I almost didn't want to share this information because the burrows is always empty and I'm selfish and I want it to stay that way, but I decided to be a nice guy and maybe help some people out.
That said, I am extremely disappointed that the best way to level up in the game is running one location over and over and over. I hope that, with One Wasteland, we will get to see more viable locations to visit and grind at. Anyways, if there's anyone clearing either of these two locations faster, I'd love to know what build and weapons you are using. Or if you think you know a better location I'd love to know what it is and test it out as well.
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