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I have found that when my bags get full and I need to vendor loot I can sometimes leave loot on the ground and return to it. Other times it seems to disappear almost instantly once I leave the area. Is the loot despawn time based, based on my distance from the dropped loot, or some other factor(s)?

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I think it despawns at the same time as enemies respawn? Just a guess. However, I'm not sure how often that happens. In BL1, it was every 2 fast travels; but BL2 doesn't seem to follow that mechanic that closely. –  Mufasa Sep 22 '12 at 21:09
    
I lost quite a few guns in sanctuary near the slot machines. My bank was full and so was my backpack. Being greedy and stupid, rather than narrow my items to the best i just dropped all i was carrying and played the slots until i was full, ran to the vendor and sold all the trash and rinse repeat. when the vendor reset after roughly 20 minutes as they always do i noticed all my purple and several of my blue items i had dropped were suddenly gone. I do not know if the vendor reset timer was related but it seemed that the times lined up very well. –  Brandon Bouquillon Jan 8 '13 at 5:25
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A friend reminded me of a few times we left single guns in a zone for hours and hours and they never de-spawned. However when the machines reset AND there were dozens of guns/items we had sold to the vendor AND a dozen or more that we had dropped, THEN when the timer on the vendor reset they all (what we dropped and what we had sold to the vendor) disappeared. it may just be a matter of a limit on the number of items that can be sitting in a given proximity. To reduce strain on the memory of the system they make stuff start de-spawning every 20 minutes if more than a certain amount is present. –  Brandon Bouquillon Jan 8 '13 at 7:55
    
@BrandonBouquillon I'm sure the despawn mechanic has something to do with saving system resources. Your theory on vendor reset sounds plausible, but so do a lot of other suggestions on this question. If you'd care to do some testing with the slot machine I'd be happy to award the bounty if you had some empirical data. –  EBongo Jan 10 '13 at 9:02
    
won't have the time this week, but thank you for the offer. –  Brandon Bouquillon Jan 11 '13 at 6:12

1 Answer 1

To my knowledge only white loot despawns (this includes things like ammunition) and while I don't know how long it takes specifically it is possible to tell by looking at it. The item steadily shrinks in size until it basically disappears. So yes, it does seem to be based on time.

I'm fairly sure items rarer than white (green, blue, purple, E-tech, orange, obviously) don't despawn. I've left them lying in open chests before and come back ten, 15 minutes later and still seen them lying there. I'm not certain about them being on the ground though, if you take them from the chest then drop them again they may have exactly the same "shrinking away into nothingness" time as white items.

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Unfortunately, I have found out that the chest from a loot goliath can despawn fast. (Minor spoilers on a quest ahead) While doing the protection part of the "Tea Party" quest for Tiny Tina, a loot goliath spawned during wave 2. Before I had a chance to get to the chest the enemies were on me again so I had to leave it. A few minutes later I finished all the enemies, but the chest was gone :( –  James Johnson Oct 16 '12 at 8:43
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Yesterday i dropped on the ground some items for a couple of friends. While they were checking on those items, a green one completely vanished :( –  Samuele Mattiuzzo Jan 7 '13 at 10:20
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I'm almost 100% sure that loot from chests despawns 'different' than dropped loot. I once opened a chest with some green guns and i also got a green drop from a Badass near the chest. With no backpack space, I ran back to a vending machine and when returned the guns from the chest were still there but the dropped one wasn't. –  Aerus Jan 7 '13 at 13:00

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