Before the bombs dropped, people would like to stash stuff they didn't want others to have access to in safes, or behind locked doors. It's a sensible security measure for the time, but the sad truth for the region of Appalachia in Fallout 76 is that almost everyone in the world is either dead, an irradiated husk, stuck in a vault, or roaming the countryside and shooting everyone else. Therefore they may no longer need their stuff, and that's where lockpicking comes in. It's a little different this time, but only in how the skill is obtained, so this guide will go through how to upgrade your lockpicking skills, as well as how to pick locks.
Fallout 76 lockpicking guide
Those looking for a beginner's guide to get started with the Fallout 76 beta and indeed the full game when it comes out should have a look at our Fallout 76 guide.
Upgrading your lockpicking skill
In order to upgrade your skills in lockpicking and to break into those secure safes or doors, you'll need each of the three perception perk cards associated with improving your lockpicking abilities; which you can find out more in our Fallout 76 perk cards guide. The perk cards you will need are: Picklock, Expert Picklock, and Master Picklock. These are all cards that improve your skill by one and you can equip all three to have a maximum skill level of three. For every card you have equipped, you'll also increase the size of the sweet spot, which will make breaking in a little easier.
That said, there are a couple of things you should be aware of about using the perk cards. All three only have one rank, meaning that you'll only be able to equip them rather than upgrade their ranks like many other perk cards. This means that should you get a duplicate of the Picklock card, you can't combine them to make a "Picklock rank 2" card. You also can't equip more than one of the same type of card to improve the rank as they need to be the individually named cards. Therefore, the only way to improve your skills at picking locks is to find one of each of the three perk cards and equip them at the same time.
How to pick locks in Fallout 76
The actual process of picking locks is apparently the same as the previous Bethesda Fallout games. Upon looking at a locked door or safe that you can potentially unlock, the view will focus on the lock itself, as well as a screwdriver and the bobby pin you are currently using. Note that you will need a supply of bobby pins to be able to break through.
To access the contents inside, move the bobby pin around and turn the screw to turn the lock. If you see the bobby pin begin to shake, it means that you need to adjust your bobby pin position to find the sweet spot. If it shakes too much, that bobby pin will snap and you'll be forced to use a new one. The higher the lock difficulty, the smaller the sweet spot is and the bobby pin will be more likely to break.
Now that you have a start on how lockpicking works, you may wish to learn more about that other bit of thievery: Hacking. You can find out more about the changes that have been implemented in our Fallout 76 terminal hacking guide. I briefly mentioned Perk Cards in this guide, but there is a much more detailed explanation as to what the changes are in Fallout 76. Just head to the Fallout 76 perk cards guide to learn more.