SolvedCataclysm DDA Nerf improvised lockpicks

Is your feature request related to a problem? Please describe.
Improvised lockpicks (item crude_picklock) are too powerful relative to how-easily they are obtained, and mostly render other lockpicks (and locks) irrelevant.

Currently, improvised lockpicks:

  • Can be crafted with fabrication(0), an item with hammer(1) (for which a rock or chunk of steel will suffice), and are auto-learned, so are available from the beginning of the game.
  • Are crafted from scrap metal. This tends to be trivially-available from when zombies start crashing into cars. It's quick and easy to produce gobs of them.
  • Retrying is essentially irrelevant, since they're so easy to obtain, making mechanics skill mostly-irrelevant. A vanilla character with no mechanics can get inside a door pretty easily.
  • Have no serious drawback versus other lockpicks. All I can think of is: (1) they're slightly-more-annoying to use than other lockpicks, since one has to hit the key combination several times, (2) if one is desperate to get inside a locked door, such as with monsters coming, it might take longer, and (3) for alarmed locks, one runs a higher risk of setting the alarm off.

Further, while I care more about the gameplay effects, thematically someone being able to easily-create a useful lockpick seems questionable. My understanding is that lockpicks are normally made of thin, straight, springy metal. One can't just take a random piece of a car, whack it with a rock a few times, and get a usable lockpick.

Describe the solution you'd like
I'm not sure how best to address this. I do not believe that it is important to have lockpicking immediately-available at the start of the game, as there's not a lot in the game that really needs lockpicking. I do think that it is undesirable to have it easily-available early-on, since it renders finding items like the hairpin, fingerpick bionic, and locksmith kit mostly-irrelevant.

I'm thinking that it makes most sense as a late-game item -- once one can create them, most locks become irrelevant. One possibility would be to shift the recipe requirement to HAMMER_FINE(1) rather than HAMMER(1) (not a huge factor, since most hammering tools already have this, but thematically makes more sense, as it's a delicate item and one presumably isn't making the thing with a sledgehammer), and increase the skill requirement to, say, fabrication(7)/mechanics(5).

Describe alternatives you've considered
Removing the item entirely. It's not clear that it's necessary (certainly it tends to devalue the fingerpick bionic). Hairpins and locksmith kits are already present.

23 Answers

✔️Accepted Answer

A more complex solution could be altering the lockpicks by adding them LOCKPICKING quality and also adding a new field to the door terrain, something like min_lockpicks_level_required. So locked doors in, say, ordinary houses could have min_lockpicks_level_required = 1 and could be unlocked by a makeshift lockpicks with 1 level of LOCKPICKING quality. More serious door with more serious locks in, say, armories, couldn't be picked by makeshift lockpicks at all (or, as alternative, require an immense amount of time to pick).

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