Forums: Index > Fallout 3 gameplay help > Lockpick vs Science

Of the two skills (lockpick or science), which would be the most important to take? In order to open every lock or hack every terminal in the game, you would need to get them at least to 75, putting you in range of the 100 mark using chems and gear. Unless you want to take both, or spend a lot of time collecting skill books and bobbleheads, you have to choose between one or the other.

At first glance, lockpick would seem to be the skill to take. While many safes and doors can be opened by hacking a terminal, there are still others that can't. Picking a lock might even be easier for some people than trying to find the correct password while hacking. On the other hand, the doors that can't be opened by hacking a terminal usually have a key associated with it, which can be obtained in the usual ways. Between hacking a terminal and finding a key, there are only a handful of doors that can't be opened any other way than by picking the lock, and these usually lead to alternate routes through areas that are easier or safer than going the long way. Add in the fact that finding a steady supply of bobbypins is difficult at best, the lockpick skill doesn't seem so appealing any more.

That brings us to science. Like with the lockpick skill, science can be used to open doors and safes, but there are also many other uses for the skill. You can reprogram robots and turrets to fight for you instead of against you, or even just shut them down entirely. You can even find information that can help you complete quests. Overall, science would seem to be the skill to get as there are many useful things you can do with it. The only downside to the science skill is the difficulty in hacking terminals. Hacking does get easier as your skill improves, so even the downside eventually isn't one any more. Like the lockpick skill, you can find passwords to terminals, bypassing having to hack it.

Even with the downsides to the lockpick skill, it is still a useful skill nonetheless. You can actually win the game without putting any points into either skill, but you will constantly find yourself locked out of areas by either a lock or a terminal, and certain areas will be a little bit harder as you will have to deal with turrets the caveman way.

Now comes the question: Which skill should I take? If you want my advice (and I assume you do since you read this whole thing) I would tell you to tag science and raise lockpick using books, perks, and the bobblehead, and only put points into lockpick if you are close to the next threshold (25, 50, 75, or 100). As I said earlier, you can easily get by with 75 points into either skill, as there are very few locks or terminals that require 100 points, and that is easily reachable using chems and gear.

Thanks for reading and sorry it's so long. --MadDawg2552 17:56, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

I highly recommend getting both skills. With skillbooks and bobbleheads, along with a few light pieces of gear and perhaps some drugs, you can put relatively few skill points into these skills and still be able to max them if the situation warrants. Rogue scholar 03:52, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Every time I've played through Fallout 3 I've made sure to get 100 lockpick and 100 science. Picking locks and hacking terminals is free and east experience. And there is a ton of information and loot to be gathered from computers and safes and behind locked doors. With skill books and bobbleheads getting 100 in both skills is relatively easy.

100/100 in both is a really good idea. Dragonalumni 01:31, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Exactly why I made my maximum build, when you have 100 skill in everything, you don't run into dilemmas like that. --Nux Matrix 03:26, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree that getting 100 into both skills is the best way to go, and getting 100 into every skill is possible given enough time and effort, but my advice is more for the "casual" player or the person on their first play through. There is even something I forgot to mention above: Having a high science skill adds more dialog options during certain quests, while lockpick does not. --MadDawg2552 15:09, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

indeed,getting both to 100 is easily attainable and highly valuable to the player--Bluemax 20:21, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

I find the lockpick skill to be more usful for the way I play the game, althou I get my science up to 40(50 with bobble head) so I can take care of thouse nasty turrents and anything involved in a quest. also to add. There are locked first aid kits (They don't have computers to hack) And some safes (a stash of 5 of them arcoss the way from the libary reminded me of this, 1 hard) also don;t have computers to hack. also if you're on teh pc version you can quick save and load like you do with speach checks and "force unlock" your safes. also foot lockers, and ammo boxxes.- NeoScott 02:37, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

If I had to choose one or the other, I would definitely choose lockpick, no questions asked. Why? Well, almost every single door that has a computer terminal to get through *ALSO* has an option to pick it. About the only thing that Science will get you into that Lockpick won't are the Turret control computers and other control computers, almost all of which can be breached with just 50 points in Science anyway (easily achievable with barely any hard skill point investment). On the other hand, there are TONS of containers that lockpick gets you into but science does not. Safes, footlockers, minor doors, etc. Some Sort 03:25, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

To follow up on this, I checked my in-game stats out of curiousity. One of my characters leveled both Lockpick and Science simultaneously, getting both to 100 very early in the game. Also, in every instance where there is both a lock *AND* a terminal to open something, I have always used both for double XP (pick the lock, then afterwards hack the computer). Despite this, my in-game stats say that I've picked 130 locks and hacked only 40 terminals. There are just WAY more locks to be picked than terminals to be hacked. I've also come across more Hard and Very Hard locks than I have Hard or Very Hard terminals. Some Sort 22:24, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

I'd have to agree with Neo and Some Sort, Lockpick is definitely a superior skill for my style of play. The fact of the matter is, once you've got the rhythm and feel for lockpicking, you don't need a steady supply of pins. With practice, I probably use up only 1 pin for every 10-20 locks I pick. By the time I reach level 20 I usually have more than 50 pins with me since I rarely ever break them. In the early game, fact is you'll 'need' lockpick more than science. You'll need ammo, medicine, and other assorted stuff that you can only get by picking locks. Almost every door that can be opened by a terminal can also be opened by picking it. From a practicality standpoint, lockpicking IMO is a superior skill. Magnum101 14:40, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

I have 100 in both. I have always conserved bobby pins because when it seems like it might break, I just back out and start over. That also works with the computers, when you make your third guess, if you are still wrong, do not guess a fourth time! Just back out and start over because it will give you four new guesses. Gsmikem 18:10, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

There are 25 books of all the skills + 1 bobblehead.. with the right perk that's 60 skill points.. 21 for each rank you're going up.. it only requires 4 levels to get them both at 100.. btw hacking is far easier.. get the combinations of the <> () [] etc and the false answers will dissapear

TBH I feel that lockpicking is easier as the correct positions are always chosen from the same set and with a bit of skill, you have about 5-6 tries before the needle breaks. That´s more than enough to crack most locks in the first try. Anyways, back on topic, IMO lockpicking is way more important in the beginning of the game when you´re mainly fighting your way through the metros and Raider camps. So, get lockpicking first (to about 50 to 75) and then follow up with science as it´s the more important skill later on (especially if you want to find all those logs). Golan2781 09:53, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

I really think both of them are important: Lockpick for cracking up ammo crates, doors and safes, and Science for finding logs, backstory and otherwise hard-to find-information. If you really wanna explore the game, get both up to 100. It's not that hard: Start with lockpicking as a tag skill, take it up to about 50%, and then you start taking both skills up leveling/using skillbooks.

AngryNorwegianDude 10:09, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

I payed close attention to this topic on my current play through - I intentionally did not put a lot of skill points into Science, and got 100 lockpick pretty early on. So far I have done most all of the side quest, gotten all the unique items a wasteland wanderer could want, and I only found a couple times that I needed a 50 Science skill, and only one time where I needed a skill of 75 (The Pitt, steelyard, to release the protectorons that kill trogs). All other situations I have been able to get by with a 100 lockpick skill. I believe you NEED the 100 lockpick to get into the broken bow in Rivet City, which is the only way to get the info that gets A3-21 to give you his awesome plasma rifle. That reason alone justifies the 100 lockpick for me, and I have seen no reason yet to have Science above 75, and no reason to have it above 50 if you are willing to kill all the trogs in the Pitt Steelyard yourself... anyway - that is my 2 cents...Pgoon 16:36, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

A correction - you don't need 100 lockpick to get into the bow of the carrier - you can enter by swimming in, then flip the switch near the door that unlocks it so that on later trips you don't need to swim but can just walk in through the now unlocked door. -- 12:06, 18 May 2009 (UTC) Krag

Awesome - I didn't know that - thanks! Where is the entrance you can swim into? Is it underneath the bow?Pgoon 17:50, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Pgoon, to find the "secret entrance" check out the Rivet City Bow page on The Vault: There's a pretty good picture with the entrance to the bow. If for some reason that doesn't help, go find the plane to the right of the guard at the entrance of Rivet City. Stand on that plane's platform, jump off and swim to the corner of the bow nearest this position. Hope this helps. Butcher Pete 01:42, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Butcher Pete - I swear I swam around that thing for hours and never found a way in! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction...Pgoon 02:35, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

UMM ok. . . Back on track (again *rolls eyes*), I would leave my science around the 50 mark, and increase my lockpick after. A science of 50 gives you access to most locks and safes. I rarely encounter a terminal with a higher level then medium. And when I do find a medium, they were for turrets (I'm thinking of the Bethesda Ruins, ever heard of them? They are great for custom weapons! Work bench included.). The terminals for turrets are pointless because usually when I find a terminal for the turret, there IS no turret. But I have encountered MULTIBLE times, locks and safes with a higher level then terminals. So science is good as it requires no item. Plus it is easier. So science around 50, lockpick a little higher, and then spend those extra points on other skills (but not big guns, a raider who spawns at the Bethesda Ruins carries a book for big guns, you can always kill him and get the book). Also, you NEED to go to the Bethesda ruins, there is a big Book of science, some other items, AND the lockpick bobble-head. (Sorry for the spoilers. couldn't help it.) Learner4 16:52, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

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