How lockpicking works in Fallout 76

Learn all about leveling up the lockpicking skill, the importance of Picklock perk cards, and how to pick locks in Fallout 76.

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Picking locks in Fallout 76 isn’t as simple as it was in previous games, as players will be unable to even attempt to pick a lock unless they first level up the picklock skill. This hurdle can be a bit difficult to overcome early in the game, as acquiring the ability to pick locks is not clear. 

As with the other skills and abilities in Fallout 76, lockpicking is learned through perk cards. To equip these Picklock perk cards, players will need to ensure their Perception attribute has been leveled up and that they have actually received the Picklock card. Check out our level up and SPECIAL perk card guide for a complete rundown of this new card-based leveling system.

How the picklock skill works

Unlike the other perk cards in Fallout 76, the Picklock perk card cannot be ranked-up to increase its effect, the difficulty of locks that can be picked, or the size of the sweet spot. What this means is that in order to pick the tougher locks, players will need to get their hands on all of the Picklock perk cards:

  • Picklock
  • Expert Picklock
  • Master Picklock

Each of the above perk cards only increases the Picklock skill by one point. This means that even though the Master Picklock has a “better name” than the Picklock card, it will not let players pick a Skill 3 lock.

Locks and required skill

Every lock in the game is ranked on a 4-point scale from 0 to 3, where a Skill 0 safe requires no picklocking skills or perk cards in order to be picked. These Skill 0 safes can be unlocked by any player, so long as they have a bobby pin and know how to pick the lock.

Players will need to get better Picklock perk cards in order to pick safes that have a higher skill requirement. For example, players will only be able to pick the lock of a safe that says “Requires skill: 2” if they have the Picklock and the Expert Picklock perk cards equipped. The reason both cards must be equipped is because the Picklock perk cards do not rank up like the other perk cards in Fallout 76.

How to level up lockpicking

Because the Picklock perk card cannot be ranked up, the only way to increase the lockpicking skill is to acquire all of the Picklock perk cards. With all the cards collected, players will need to then equip all three Picklock perk cards to “level up” their lockpicking skill.

  • Skill 0 locks require no Picklock cards
  • Skill 1 locks require Picklock
  • Skill 2 locks require Picklock and Expert Picklock
  • Skill 3 locks require Picklock, Expert Picklock, and Master Picklock

Therefore, in order to pick the lock of a safe that has a Skill 3 lock, players will need to ensure their Perception is leveled up enough to allow for all three Picklock perk cards to be equipped at once.

How to pick a lock

After sorting all the Picklock perk cards out and making sure you have the correct cards equipped, you can actually begin picking a lock. Keep in mind that a Skill 0 lock doesn’t require any Picklock perk cards – but all locks require at least one bobby pin.

Once a lock has been interacted with, a min-game will appear on screen. This mini-game uses a rotating lock, a screwdriver, and the all-important bobby pin.

Pivot the bobby pin around to locate the "sweet spot" of the lock, and then use the screwdriver to turn the lock. If the bobby pin shakes, it's not in the sweet spot.

The goal is to place the bobby pin in the correct position and then use the screwdriver to turn the lock. To find the correct position or “sweet spot”, players will need to guess where to put the bobby pin and begin turning, if the bobby pin shakes, it is in the wrong spot. The further from the sweet spot the bobby pin is, the sooner it will shake when the screwdriver is turned. Applying too much pressure to a shaking bobby pin will cause it to break and another bobby pin will be needed to continue picking the lock.

Ease the screwdriver around and as soon as the pin shakes, reset and slightly move the bobby pin. Repeat this process until the screwdriver turns all the way around and the lock opens.

Picking locks in Fallout 76 requires players to first acquire the Picklock perk card, and then get their hands on some bobby pins. To pick the more advanced locks, players will need to find the other unique Picklock perk cards and equip them – the prerequisite to this being that the Perception attribute has been leveled. With all these requirements met, players will be able to pick any lock they come across in the Appalachian wasteland.

Check out the Shacknews Fallout 76 guide and walkthrough for more explanations on the systems at play in Bethesda’s latest release.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler is relatively new to the industry, getting his start a few years ago as a writer-for-hire. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and finding his feet, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

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