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The art of Lockpicking

Discussion in 'Skyrim Guides and Tutorials' started by Stumben, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Stumben

    Stumben New Member

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    So, I spent a good hour yesterday trying to figure out a science to locks. I figured in Oblivion it was a combination of visual and audible queues so maybe this game is the same. I am surprised there isn't more out there on this by the way. Then again I haven't searched much yet, that spoils the fun.

    This is in part a guide but also a question as I am not sure if I have figured this out entirely. Also forgive me if I am telling you what everyone knows already.

    I practiced this on all locks but I spent the majority of my time on an expert chest somewhere in Riften. Oh I am playing on a PC and I do think that is significant ( more on this below ).

    My lockpick level is like 35 or so I have not spent any perks nor I have I done thieves guild quest or have any gear/potions to boost my skill so I can't comment on the effects it has.

    First, I believe all locks ( novice...expert etc ). have possible preset "green zones". The Green zone is where you can begin to turn the lock. Within the green some is the sweet spot that unlocks it. A higher level lock gives you 3 challenges - more presets and smaller green zone and less health to your pick.

    For instance novice locks I believe have 3 green zones and they are very big. One at roughly 10 oclock, 12 oclock, and 2 oclock. Most often its right at 12 oclock. Maybe that's a bad analogy - upper left/upper right you get the idea. Very easy.

    Each level lock roughly doubles the amount of green zones but again I haven't pinpointed or confirmed this. I think an expert lock might have 12 of them and they are very small meaning once you find the green zone you only have a couple pixels in either direction to play with or you break the lock.

    Now for the part that was interesting. I am playing on a PC and I actually think this part is MUCH harder on a PC but..I don't have it on xbox. There is a way to move the pick and get an audible queue on which green zone to use.

    First off, by default on the PC, your mouse sensitivity will be WAY too high to do this even by adjusting the slider in game. You have to go to your mouse properties or any sort of app you have for your mouse and set it very low. Thankfully I have quick buttons to adjust my sensitivity on the fly and this is a life saver. I set my sensitivity to the lowest setting.

    Now you must move the pick clockwise at a speed where it is silent. You should hear NO JINGLING. This is actually difficult because as soon as your mouse moves slower or faster you get the jingle and your have to start over. If you can move it slowly all the way around with NO JINGLING you are listening for a very quiet "click". Its actually hard to distinguish from a jingle but it is there. I find this to be a challenge you have to move it the same speed all the way around.

    When you hear the click, you found the green zone. However, lets add just one more wrinkle. On expert/master locks - I have at times had to move the mouse around as many as 8 times to find it. sometimes you dont hear it. And I have had occasions where I get false clicks.

    By doing this correctly I will not break picks except expert locks. But I went from breaking like 14 picks to maybe 2-4. Still frustrating because just when I think I have cracked the code I come across a lock and just can't get it to work at all lol.

    The irony of all this is, on novice-adept it seems like I can still do almost as good just by guessing, once you know the common spots, and they are MOST common at 10, 12 and 2 oclock. there are also little visiual queues on the lock, little groves and marks.

    Hope this helps, maybe someone can try this and confirm I am not imagining it all and maybe I can move to guides. Or someone will point out this has all been posted already :)
     
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  2. Titanburner

    Titanburner Premium Member

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    I will definitely give this a go when I get home. Thanks for writing it up :)
     
  3. Stumben

    Stumben New Member

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    Cool let me know how it goes. Bunch of edits to my original post. still waking up.
     
  4. JDizzleAUS

    JDizzleAUS New Member

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    Great post, but unfortunately I've taken an arrow to the knee.
     
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  5. psyk0

    psyk0 No soul gem large enough.

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    Very interesting idea; I never realised there was an audio cue as well as the visual one. I'll definitely have to give this a shot later.

    What I usually do is position the pick at the o'clock marks and try to 'tap' the pick - just try it for a fraction of a second to see if there's movement, but hopefully not long enough to break it. Then once I hit a 'green zone' I make minor adjustments left and right until I find the sweet spot.

    This is probably obvious to most of you, but I only realised yesterday that when a pick breaks, and before you put a new pick in, you get about a second where the broken pick stays in the lock, at the exact angle you were trying. You can use this to gauge where you've tried and where to try next.

    E: Also the perks for lockpicking seem to just massively increase the 'green zones' for that rank of lock. With the first perk, novice locks are like 50-75% greenzone.
     
  6. M'aiqaelF

    M'aiqaelF Male, 32 years old, Denver area, CO

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    I use psyko's method; but great post Stumben! Since this game was made with consoles in mind, it must really suck picking locks on the PC. While it's easier in Skyrim, it was more satisfying to pick a lock in Oblivion.
     
  7. mika

    mika New Member

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    I also use psyko's method, gently tapping to find the green zone. I picked an expert lock on a new lvl1 character yesterday like this (I was surprised).

    I play on the PC but with an xbox controller, definitely recommend!
     
  8. Toddenhammer

    Toddenhammer New Member

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    Does this really work?

    I'm new to the game and lock picking has been a thorn in my side. I tried listening for the sounds but it didn't seem to work all that well. It's been a trial and error kind of thing for me. Maybe I'll try using your method again and see if it works for me. I ran into a few expert locks and they were damn near impossible. I hope this helps. Thanks for the post.
     
  9. Rayven

    Rayven Global Moderator
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    Moved this to the tutorial section since it's thorough enough to fit the bill.
     
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  10. kichigai_m

    kichigai_m Member

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    I've been following the pattern on the nicks/scratches around the hole when I start picking. Once I noticed a spot that moves rather then jiggle, I look closely at the nick mark to start off. Move slightly to the right or left from the mark and voila!
     
  11. Stumben

    Stumben New Member

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    Well, this is why my post is in part a question or experiment. There is no doubt, I can get the audible click to find the green zone sometimes. However, on EXPERT locks I have found it to be MUCH harder and I wonder if my method is more or less nullified anyway if you take the perks.

    My whole goal was to find some science to it and to a degree there most definitely is.

    The problem is the trial and error method mixed with perks may be just as good anyway. Only because moving the mouse just right is very hard.

    I am torn between saying this is brilliant design by Bethseda or.. its a fluke.

    At least I know for sure, I got way better by trying this method.

    note- I just tried on my lunch break and had a little less success with this than the other day ( it was actually BEFORE 1.2 patch ). Don't know if it matters. Again it was on expert locks.
     
  12. Stumben

    Stumben New Member

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    Ok, now this is driving me mad. I just went in and tried it on an adept lock. I found the green zone by guessing, then tried my method to get the audible click and for the life of me could not.

    Well, I tried. let me know if anyone can get this to work who feels like trying. I wonder if 1.2 changed something.

    I suppose if it worked every time then it would be too easy.

    Going to invest some perks in lock pick and try again.
     
  13. M'aiqaelF

    M'aiqaelF Male, 32 years old, Denver area, CO

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    I really don't think it's worth it to invest perks in lockpick b/c all you need is patience and a lot of picks and you can open any lock
     
  14. Titanburner

    Titanburner Premium Member

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    I also tried last night to get any kind of audible click on a novice, adept, and expert and got nothing :sadface: sorry!
     
  15. Shew

    Shew Account closed (at sincere request).

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    I have really good headphones , and i can't decern a audible clue. I can confirm that the green zones double per level of lock and that the oblivion trick of exiting and going back in only rerandomizes the lock.
     
  16. Jersey Dagmar

    Jersey Dagmar Just in time for the fiyahworks show! BOOM!

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    Getting perks in lockpicking can help. I can easily open novice and apprentice locks with sheer ease. This saves on my lockpicks more. Besides, get it to 100 and you get an unbreakable pick.
     
  17. Shew

    Shew Account closed (at sincere request).

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    plus once you have the unbreakable perk those lockpicks in bandits pockets are gold 1 per lockpick just like low level arrows no weight just money in the bank
     
  18. Meta03

    Meta03 New Member

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    Every time you break a pick, your skill goes up a little, so don't be sad when you break them.
     

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