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According to this answer there is a book somewhere that says equipping a torch will heat the lock to make it easier to pick.

Is this true? And how much easier does it actually make picking the lock?

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7  
its possible to test this by getting the lockpick pro mod, which shows you the size of the hotzone for picking. I may try this once I get home if no one answers. –  z ' Dec 15 '11 at 13:16
    
Of course if you are trying to be sneaky lighting up a torch would seem to be counter productive to that. –  Xantec Dec 15 '11 at 14:05
    
I strongly suspect that this is just lore, and is not actually modelled in the game. –  bwarner Dec 15 '11 at 14:25
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@yx please do test the mod. Thanks :) –  GmNoob Dec 15 '11 at 18:20
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Sigh, I will, but I'm really interested in playing that new X3 DLC that came out :P –  z ' Dec 15 '11 at 18:25

2 Answers 2

up vote 31 down vote accepted

Does equipping a torch actually make picking a lock easier?

NO

Here is how I tested it:

I downloaded a mod called Lockpick Pro, which shows the hotspot of the lock.

Then I tested it under 4 circumstances:

  1. Normal approach (nothing added)
  2. While holding a torch
  3. After casting magelight
  4. After casting flames at the door for 10 seconds.

Here are the sizes of the hotspots of the lock (aligned so its easier to compare):

Lock picking!

At this point, a smarty pants is bound to point out the following:

But wait! What if the mod doesn't show the effect and its really works?

Well I tried to pick the locks by moving the cursor to just outside the blue (unlock) zone to see if it works, it did not. The picks still take damage unless its within the blue unlocking region.

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14  
Hooray for science! –  bwarner Dec 15 '11 at 22:28
    
so out of boredom at work I measured the pixel length of each blue zone. 1 and 2 are both 24 pixels wide and 3 is 23 pixels wide and 4 is 25 pixels wide. Yes this is completely subjective and there would only be an argument if #2 was larger, but I have to say, 10 seconds of fire = +1 pixel, then get a dragon to breath on it. –  MaskedPlant Dec 15 '11 at 23:15
    
@MaskedPlant lol, you were really bored, weren't you? Did you try going to the actual image link (with the full sized image)? i.stack.imgur.com/l3gul.jpg –  z ' Dec 15 '11 at 23:17
    
Oh, and in case someone brings this up. I found the original reedit post on this and it showed the guy holding the torch up to the lock (i.e. holding block) while picking. I went back and tried this as well and it was the same result. No improvements or widening of the hotspot bar. –  z ' Dec 16 '11 at 3:50
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I personally don't think this is the case, but is it fair to argue that heated locks (2 and 4, with torch and flames respectively) are easier to pick because their hotspots are significantly closer to the neutral? –  Richard Neil Ilagan Feb 18 '13 at 10:29

The UESPWiki says the same thing, but can't confirm that this works. I think this urban/medieval legend began in Oblivion.

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