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Can someone explain in simple steps how to pick locks in fallout 3?

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What platform are you playing on? – YellowMegaMan Mar 7 '11 at 11:03
Personal Computer – tm1rbrt Mar 7 '11 at 12:04
up vote 11 down vote accepted

The basic idea is to move the bobby pin to the correct position then turn the lock with the screwdriver.

The correct position isn't immediately obvious though - you have to test positions with trial and error until you find the right spot. The bobby pin shakes more when it's in an incorrect position. As you move towards the correct position it will shake less. Using the amount of shaking as a measure, you can hone in on the correct position.

Be careful though - when the bobby pin is in a high-shaking position it's easy to break it. If you don't allow the bobby pin to shake too long you should be able to try at least 2 positions without breaking it.

If by the 3rd attempt I don't think I'm getting close, I'll usually exit the lockpicking screen and then try again. This resets the try count (meaning you have more tries before breaking the pin) but also resets the unlock position. If I think I am getting close I might take a chance on a 3rd try. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Also, if you are playing on a console, the controller will vibrate when the pin is shaking.

EDIT: There are heaps of how-to videos on YouTube. They manage to get more than 3 tries out of their bobby pins without breaking them... but finer movements look easier on PC with mouse/keyboard controls. (I'm on PS3.)

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Godd answer, but you should also mention how skill and lock difficulty enter into the picture to be complete. – Andy Jun 12 '11 at 18:42
Does the sound while moving the pin tell anything? – Zommuter Aug 19 '12 at 14:53
@Zommuter: I could be wrong, but I don't hear anything revealing while moving the pin. – YellowMegaMan Aug 30 '12 at 2:50

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