ESO W2T: Lockpicking

In this article, we cover the mechanics of the lockpicking mini-game in The Elder Scrolls Online for both the keyboard and gamepad UI (user interfaces).

Getting Started

The only requirement for lockpicking is having a supply of lockpicks. Lockpicks can be bought from certain vendors, other players, and looted from various containers (backpacks, urns, pots, etc.). Vendors in Outlaw’s Refuges will sell picks for 9 gold each, but often players will sell on the traders for less.

Best place to farm lockpicks are in Dwemer Dungeons or Nord Tombs. They often have large numbers of lootable urns and pots.

The Lockpicking Screen

Keyboard/Mouse UI

lock picking minigame keyboard / mouse UI
Lockpicking Minigame screen – Keyboard / Mouse UI

Gamepad UI

lock picking minigame gamepad ui
Lockpicking Minigame screen – Gamepad UI

The Lockpicking Process

There are five types of chests. Trivial, Simple, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master. The difference between the various types are the time limit the player has to open the lock and the speed in which the tumblers move. Trivial locks generally only appear in tutorials and have a 100% chance of being forced.

Lock Difficulty TypeTime Limit
Source: UESP


There are two ways to open a lock. The first method is using a lockpick to manipulate the tumblers and the second is forcing the lock.

Forcing Lock

Generally, players with several points in the Locksmith passive in the Legerdemain Skill line (World) will favor the Force Lock method because it is usually faster. You simply hit the Force lock key indicated on your screen to attempt to force the current lock.

Source: UESP

However, there is a chance that the Force Lock will fail. With the exception of group dungeons, Chests are not shared. Often, other players will lurk around a chest near you hoping you will fail and then they will try to steal the chest from you. In these cases, the manual method is preferred.

Manual Process

The manual process consists of moving your lockpick left and right and then pressing each tumbler down to one of three locations without breaking your lockpick.

  1. Move the lockpick left or right to appear over a tumbler
  2. Press the button to lower the lockpick
  3. When the tumbler begins to shake, quickly release your key/button lowering the lockpick.
  4. If successful, move to one of the remaining tumblers.
  5. Repeat until you have successfully set each tumbler or you run out of time.

With a little bit of practice, you will become familiar with the “unlocking zone” and quickly identify if a tumbler needs to be set in the high, medium, or low location. If you are unfamiliar with the “unlocking zone”, check out my 4 minute YouTube Video.

The five tumblers can be done in any order as long as you complete the process within the time limit.

Tips to Obtain Better Chest Rewards

There are three ways to improve your loot from chests.

  • Fortune Seeker Perk – The Shadow Championship Point Tree (10)
    • 50% more gold from chests and safeboxes
  • Treasure Hunter Perk – The Shadow Championship Point Tree (75)
    • Increases the quality of rings and necklaces found in Dolmen chests.
    • Increases the quality of items found in treasure chests from Treasure Maps.
    • Increases the chance for finding set pieces in Treasure Chests found in the overworld.
    • Also boosts the chance of finding better quality jewelry found from Abyssal Geysers (needs confirmation)
  • Rank 20 in the Legerdemain Skill Line – World Section
Loot Table
Legerdemain level 20
White quality – 45.5% chance
Green quality – 37.7% chance
Blue quality – 5.1% chance
Purple quality – 0.5% chance
Equipment – 9.83% chance*
Furnishing – 1.37% chance
Legerdemain level 1 – 50.35 gold per such container on average
Legerdemain level 10 – 59.34 gold per such container on average
Legerdemain level 20 – 82.5 gold per such container on average
Source: Reddit

There is some speculation that Chests respawn on each visit. For example, it may be Simple Difficulty when you first arrive, but may be something else after you travel a certain distance to reset the chest.
I have not confirmed this myself but member of my trade guild suggest it may be true.

Leveling Locations

Belkarth, Craglorn

There is a great legerdemain leveling route in Craglorn. Travel to Belkarth in Craglorn. If you haven’t unlocked the wayshrine, you can access Belkarth from Star Gazer’s carts in the capital cities of Mournhold, Wayrest, and Elden Root.
Travel to the apple orchards by the docks. Loot all the apple baskets and other items. Once you are full, there’s a nearby Outlaw’s refuge with a fence that will take the items from you and increase your Legerdemain skill line.


Copyright Notice

This article is licensed under the ​Creative Commons by-sa license. It uses material from the UESP article Online: Legerdemain.

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