Save yourself the headache. Since it’s virtually impossible to find any kind of credible information regarding how to farm these motifs efficiently, I took a stab at it after doing what research I could and believe I’ve figured out the mechanic. I’m not going to speculate as to what ZOS’s intentions were when they originally nerfed the drop rates for these motifs, all I can tell you is what has worked consistently for me.
Unique Dwemer Ruin Cooldown
There is a global one-hour cooldown timer from the time you leave the dungeon
to when all the containers repopulate in the given Dwemer instance. Not twenty minutes. Not ninety minutes. ONE HOUR!
This mechanic is unique to Dwemer ruins.
Now, I know there is conflicting information out there that the one-hour cooldown is based off of discovering an epic recipe, but I’m more concerned with having the largest chance at finding one. More containers mean more chances. And for the most containers you have to wait one hour for them to fully
reset. If you re-enter any Dwemer ruin before that hour is up you’ll notice that a large percentage of containers are empty.
You have to keep in mind that drops are subject to RNG (random number generator). You’re not guaranteed anything. It’s very possible you will get duplicate recipes…and that’s where a bit of luck comes into play.
That being said…out of 8 runs using this method, every single one has yielded an epic recipe. Seven have been Dwemer motifs, with only one duplicate, and one epic provisioning recipe (Hircine’s Meat Loaf).
Find and run a Dwemer ruin preferably within five levels of your current level—you can farm scraps for frames while you loot urns—in your silver or gold level areas. If you stick to VR content, you’ll also have a higher chance of finding rarer style materials, like Daedra Hearts, as well as superior (blue) and epic (purple) provisioning recipes.
Here’s a list: uesp.net/wiki/Online:Dwemer_Ruins
Kill all mobs. Loot all urns, backpacks, and chests.
There is no consensus on which containers have higher probabilities of dropping epic recipes, and it’s not worth it to follow unsubstantiated claims. Some people say larger urns, some say backpacks. Whatever. Loot everything and you won’t have to worry about all that nonsense.
Wait one hour…
Find a different
Dwemer ruin preferably within 5 levels of your level. Rinse/repeat.
The reason I suggest finding another ruin instead of running the exact same one over and over is because if there is
some kind of hidden mechanic that triggers diminishing returns on the loot tables in a given instance like most of all the other crap in this game, i.e. dolmens, mini world bosses, etc., you will bypass it by changing locations. After reading everything from ZOS and on the forums, this just seems like common sense to me.
Essentially, all you need are two Dwemer ruins near your level. And an hour wait in between looting. That’s it.