Since 2008, Bethesda Games Studios has been using virtually the same lockpicking minigame to chew up lockpicks (The Elder Scrolls) and bobbypins (Fallout), and while the ol’ “find the hotspot” mechanic worked well enough in a pinch, after half a dozen games it had worn itself a bit thin. A new intellectual property demanded a new minigame, and Starfield delivers with its new digipick system, which is more of a puzzle and less of a blind guessing game. This page will cover how to pick locks in Starfield.
How to Use Digipicks to Pick Locks in Starfield
To pick locks in Starfield, you need three things - a poor lock to victimize, a digipick, and sufficient ranks in the skill. In the latter case, the system Starfield uses is very similar to both Skyrim and Fallout 4; there are several tiers of locks, Novice, Expert, and Master, and you cannot even attempt to pick a lock unless you have one, two or three ranks in Security, respectively. The concept of digipicks should also be familiar to veterans of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout - they’re the collateral you put up during your attempt to pick locks. Botching your attempt to pick a lock will consume digipicks, no digipicks, no lockpicking.
Once you’ve satisfied all the aforementioned conditions, interact with a locked object and you’ll bring up the lockpicking minigame. This minigame features several segmented white concentric circles in the center of the screen with a number of digipicks to the right. The concentric circles in the middle screen represent the lock you’re trying to pick, while the digipicks to the right are your lockpicks, and at its core the solution is simple enough - fill the gaps in the concentric segmented circles using the digipicks to the right, which consist of several spaced dashes. All digipick dashes must fill a hole in the lock, you can’t have an extra digipick dash, so you’ll need to plan out which of the digipicks you’re going to use.
This is simple enough at first, but as you start tangling with Expert and Master locks, the number of concentric circles will increase, as will the number of digipicks you have to use to conquer these increasingly complex locks. You can rotate your digipicks around the locks freely ([RB and LB]) before committing ([A]), and it’s generally a good idea to try to fill all the holes in a lock circle with your digitpicks before actually placing them, just to make sure you’ll clear a lock circle. You must complete each lock circle in sequence, starting from the outermost lock circle and moving inwards progressively. While rotating and placing digipicks is safe, once you actually use a digipick you’ll need to pick the lock or you’ll lose a digipick. You can undo all set digipicks a set number of times per lock by pressing [X].
Use your digipicks to fill the gaps in a concentric lock circle and that circle will be removed. Clear all the lock circles with the digipicks provided to open the lock. Not only does picking locks get you access to treasure, open doors, etc., but you’ll get a bit of XP each time you pick a lock. The Security skill - which you must improve to pick more difficult locks - also requires you to have picked a certain number of locks before you can invest in the next rank. Here are a few tips that can make lockpicking easier:
Save before you try to pick a lock. No need to burn through digipicks when you can just load.
Plan the placement of your digipicks before you actually use any. At least make sure you can clear the outer ring before you commit. With more complicated locks it’s possible this won’t be enough, but it’s usually a good start.
If for whatever reason you don’t like the combination of lock circles and digipick sequences, exit out of the lockpicking minigame before deploying any digipicks. This costs you nothing, and attempting the lock again can result in different combinations.
Expert and Master locks may include more concentric lock circles and digipicks. Some digipicks for Expert and Master locks may be extraneous, so don’t feel compelled to use all your digipicks. Digipicks will also feature a wider range of dashes on more difficult locks (2-3 is the standard on Novice locks, while Expert locks will regularly feature digipicks with 1-4 dashes, for example).
Try to save single-dash digipicks for interior lock circles if at all possible. These are basically freebies, and using the less versatile digipicks early on will help ensure you can open the last lock circle when you get to it. Sometimes this may not be possible, depending on the puzzle design, but you should always try to use less generalized digipicks first.
Where Can You Find Digipicks in Starfield?
It should go without saying that picking locks is generally frowned upon by law-abiding citizens, which makes them common fare among pirates, bandits and ne’er-do-wells everywhere. Any time you’re invading the demesne of criminals, be on the lookout for digipicks - you’re bound to find them laying around (note: use your scanner to highlight objects to make these easier to spot). You can also sometimes find them on the bodies of vanquished enemies and in containers. Failing that, digipicks are regularly sold by merchants; most merchants who sell general goods will also sell digipicks, and if you snag a couple of digipicks every visit, you’ll soon be swimming in the things.