On Chest Ransack


I learned something over the past few weeks that I thought I’d share with my readers – yes, all two of you!  I hope it will be as useful to you as it turned out to be for me – after I’d already burnt myself in the process.

We hear the term “ransack” used a lot in DDO.  Quest ransack for XP penalties, chest ransack for reduced or no loot, ransacking the taverns after too many Dirty Kobolds.. you get the idea.

However, it should be noted that the two primary means of ransack – Quest XP and Loot – are not talking the same language.  Sure, they both use the same word, but they don’t mean the same thing.

Sure, most folks know the Quest Ransack mechanic – the first time you run a given quest on a given difficulty each day, you are immune to any XP penalties.  However, once you start re-running a quest on a difficulty you have already played, you start receiving a 20% penalty each time.  This is how the Ye Olde Thyme method of running quests on Elite / Hard / Normal and then repeating a given difficulty (or in the other direction, if you’re not VIP) still work – the first three runs, being the first on a given difficulty that day, are immune to quest ransack penalty.  After you do all three, however, you’ll start chipping up a hefty negative penalty.

Of course, that penalty goes away at 50% per “DDO Day” (18 hours, like the Daily Dice), so even if you blitz a quest down to the bare minimum of 20% base XP, you’ll be back to groovy in 36 hours, provided you stay away.

And, of course, you can always keep an eye on what your current penalty (but not what difficulties you’ve already run that day) is on a given quest with the /ransack command.

But that isn’t what I really came to talk about.  I really came to talk about chest ransack.

It all started when I was trying desperately to farm a Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers for Tholgrin, my “main main.”  In some regards, that became a bone of contention that one of the only tricks Thol couldn’t do that Uncle Tubbs could was self-resurrect – and while the Jack Jibbers Blade is an extremely limited form of self-resurrection, it’s enough to potentially bring a party wipe back around.  And thus, I decided Thol would not ER until he had his chubby mitts on one.  (The likelihood that he’d probably never use it is irrelevant.   –Ed.)  (Update:  As of 9:27p.m. EST on 08/20/2015, Tholgrin is now the proud owner of his very own Jack Jibbers Blade!)

Chest ransack is detailed quite well on the wiki, for anyone who wants to go read the specifics.  Or, you can stick around and have me put it in plain terms, hopefully with a chuckle or two thrown in for good measure.  Or not.  Whatever.  If you’re reading this, I already have your click on my stats page.  So HA!!

In short, every chest in DDO is tracked individually.  The first time you open a given chest, it starts a full-on 7-day timer – exactly seven days, or 168 hours, or 10,080 minutes, whatever you want to think of it as, from when that chest is first opened.  Your chest ransack does not reset until this timer expires.  Unlike quest ransack, it doesn’t “refresh” in small bits and pieces every “DDO Day.”  You have eight (8) shots at the chest during that period before your results start getting wonky and named loot won’t pop.

What does this mean, in English?  Well, that depends on how you look at things.  If you’re specifically trying to get a piece of named gear without regard to the experience earned, shoot, run the quest eight times in a row, then wait a whole week before trying again.  If you’re trying to maximize your loot runs with experience earned, then watching your Quest XP ransack will help that aspect, but has no bearing whatsoever on the chest loot – it’s still more than possible to ransack a chest loooong before your XP penalty gets even mentionable.  For example:

  •         Monday:  Run Elite/Hard/Normal/Elite (total 20% penalty for 2nd Elite run only, 4 runs of chest)
  •         Tuesday:  Quest XP Ransack penalty removed (50% restored every day), Run Elite/Hard/Normal/Elite (20% penalty, total 8 runs of chest)
  •         Wednesday:  Quest XP Ransack penalty removed (50% restored every day), Run Elite, chest loot compromised and named items no longer dropped, but zero Quest XP Ransack Penalty.  Must wait until the timer expires (started Monday as of the opening of the chest during the first Elite run).
  •         End Results:   Ransacked chest, no XP penalty.

To me, at least, this further supports the theory that one either focuses on experience or loot.  Trying to “spread out” loot runs over a few days to prevent ransack – which I freely admit I was guilty of until just this past week! – does literally nothing to prevent chest ransack or aid your chances of scoring an item.  The only difference between running a quest seven times in seven days versus running it seven times in one day is the amount of experience you’ll receive – although, it might help your mental state, to avoid burnout.

But for those of you who are hardcore grinding for a specific piece, get ready to buckle your boots up – because there’s nothing preventing you from doing eight runs in a single night.

Hope this helps you guys with your strategic planning, and happy hunting!



  1. Thankfully this is a per-character mechanism. I’ll often use other characters to loot-hunt as chest ransacking nears. Doesn’t really change the odds, just the opportunities. Better to be in party where more chests are effectively opened on the same one. Great write-up.

    Liked by 1 person

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