Starfield’s lockpicking mini-game is interesting and rewarding, but can also become frustrating at times. Here is a basic tutorial and some hints to speed up the process of picking locks with digipicks.
Guide to Lockpicking (Digipick)
Basic Minigame for Lockpicking in Starfield
Lockpicking is straightforward in Starfield, but can occasionally become frustrating. This guide is to teach you to solve this mini-game using a process, minimizing the trial and error.
A lock has rings with cutouts, and several choices of keys to rotate around and match those cutouts exactly. Each ring requires two keys fit into the slots to complete the ring. Each key has a single use. Once the outer ring is complete, it disappears and you can work on the next internal ring until all the rings are gone.
As locks get more difficult, they gain more rings. And you start getting fake keys. It’s even possible to get combinations that work on the outer rings (using fake keys) that take up real keys needed to solve the internal rings.
You can also gain Auto Slot and Undo actions. The higher your skill, the more you can bank these actions. Auto Slot will place one key correctly for the current ring.
Basic Process to Solve
- Count slots in outer ring.
- Select key with most pins smaller than this number (Call this Key1).
- Rotate key around to see if you can fit it into outer ring.
- Repeat this step, eliminating keys that don’t work, until you find one where all pins fit a slot.
- Do not slot the key (yet).
- Examine empty slots, ignoring any that Key1 will occupy. Note the number of empty slots.
- Find the key matching ALL of the remaining empty slots. (E.g., if two slots remain, look only at keys with 2 pins)
- Slot both keys!
If you cannot find a solution for Key2, go back to Step 2 and try rotating Key1. If it doesn’t fit in a different position, ignore it and continue with a different key.
Step 1: Count slots: 5
Step 2: Select key with most pins smaller than Step 1, rotate to try to find a match. Try next highest-pins key if no match.
(No match using key with 4 pins.)
Try to find a match for all remaining slots. Only look at keys with same number of pins as empty slots.
Slot both keys, and repeat for next ring.
Hints and Pattern Matching
- Always look for patterns to speed up finding matches, such as
- Two pins/slots next to each other. If a key has two adjacent pins, it’s easy to see if the ring has two adjacent slots.
- Angles. If it was a clock face, remember the positions of the hands.
- All pins on one side (180 degrees) are easy to find a match.
- Use Math and logic. Two keys must add up to number of slots.
- If the largest key and the smallest key are greater than the number of slots, the largest key cannot be a solution. Example: if the ring has 5 slots and the largest key has 4 pins, if there’s no key with 1 pin, the key with 4 pins is no good.
- If there are two adjacent slots, but no keys with two adjacent pins, the keys must “split” those two slots.
- Use the Auto Slot and Undo if you get stumped.
- It’s possible to remove a ring using a key needed for an inner ring. Some solutions are not unique, and can force you to undo many steps. This is rare. Undo, then use Auto Slot when it becomes possible to click.
- It’s possible to have a bug, too, and need to Undo. Always keep a bank of around 5 or 6.
Here’s a 2 minute example of a master lock. This one took longer than normal, and you’ll see why.