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Lockpicking is a rogue class skill. The trained ability, (learned at level 20 or above from any Rogue Trainer), allows rogues to use Lockpicking to open locked doors, chests, and lockboxes. Lockpicking operates like a profession; the rogue begins with a minimal initial lockpicking skill, and must raise lockpicking skill through practice by picking locks. There are no profession-like proficiency levels to be trained; rather lockpicking skill is capped at five times the rogue's current level. Like gathering skills (such as Fishing, Herbalism, or Mining) the rogue must have at or above a certain level to open locks of that level of difficulty, and only locks near the rogue's current skill level have a chance to provide a skillup. This skill typically doesn't advance quickly enough with casual use; rogues must occasionally go out on runs to improve their lockpicking. Fortunately, your rogue trainer can point you to areas which contain footlockers at your skill level.
Please note that while this guide covers the best ways to power-level your lockpicking, it is perfectly feasible to level the vast majority of your skill simply by choosing to work quests that involve humanoids that can be pickpocketed for lockboxes, which can then be picked to raise your skill, and which also will sometimes contain Rogue poisons, thus increasing the value of this approach.
Also having Glyph Of Pick Lock will speed up the leveling a lot. Especially when leveling from 1 to 100.
1 to 170 Edit
Early on you might get some from an engineer to increase your lockpicking up to skill level 80. The quest to obtain Lockpicking will point you towards plenty of practice chests.
The best way for Alliance rogues to get their lockpicking skill up at level 16-20 (after getting the Pick Lock skill) is Alther's Mill in the Redridge Mountains region. The quest  requires lockpicking a chest in Alther's Mill for a quest item and is close to the practice lockboxes. These chests respawn very quickly (you can stand between a couple or three and alternate between them) and may be practiced upon from 1 to over 100 skill. You do not have to be on the quest to pick these, so you can come back later to raise your skill when your level based skill cap is higher. If you do the quest at level 16, you should probably return at least once when you are over level 20. Horde rogues can similarly gain early levels from an equivalent quest on the ship off the Merchant Coast, south of Ratchet in the Barrens. Additionally, blood elf rogues may take the quest, in the Ghostlands at level 16. This quest chain begins in Murder Row with Zelanis, the Rogue Trainer. Greed takes them to the Amani Catacombs where they may practice lockpicking up to 100 (current level * 5). In addition to training, these chests contain treasure.
(Note: The above mentioned chest are not faction specific. If preferred Alliance characters could just as easily skillup lockpicking on chests found in the ship at the Merchant Coast. Vise-versa, it is possible for Horde characters to level on the chests found in Alther's Mill.)
The rogue poisons quests for Horde and Alliance provide the next opportunity for solid skill gains. The quest can be picked up at level 20, although it may be too difficult for many players at level 20. The item required to complete this quest is contained inside a locked chest that can be picked repeatedly up to 170. (You are likely to hit your skill level cap first, if you are on the poison quest.) If you've already finished the quest, you can still use the chests to gain skill. The chests don't highlight when you mouse over them after the first time (when you obtain the quest item), so you have to activate your lockpicking skill first and then click the chest. The chest will be empty if you already have the quest item, or unpickable if you have completed the quest. Be sure to close the empty loot window in order to speed along the chest respawning (it is very quick if the loot window is not left open.) The poison Touch of Zanzil is applied every time the chest is lockpicked. The poisons can be dispelled if you have the cure from the poison quest chain, Anti-Venom skill (and Anti-Venom in your pack) from the First Aid profession, or by the dwarf racial Stoneform. It has also been confirmed that Jungle Remedy also cures this poison but requires the user to be level 22 or higher. The boss guarding the chest will probably respawn a couple of times while you are leveling your lockpicking skill on this chest. (It appears that either faction could use the opposite faction chest; not tested.)
Level 1 Battered Footlockers can be pickpocketed from the mobs around Durnholde Keep in the Hillsbrad Foothills. Note again that these are level 1, so if you have already leveled up using the lockbox in the rogue poisons quest, these will be grey and therefore useless for leveling your skill. Inside Durnholde Keep there are footlockers scattered around the grounds that require a lockpicking skill of 100 to open which can help you level your skill.
150 to 225 Edit
If you are level 30-40 you can go to Desolace, bring 2–3 hours worth of water breathing potions, and pick your way into the mid 200s. There are Waterlogged Footlockers around (37,21) off the northwest shore. There are level 33 mobs you will have to deal with while doing this. There are also Mossy Footlockers in the deeper areas that can get you to 225. These can be found in a NE running trench near the big island off the coast, around (36,11). Though they are few and far between here. A better place to find these is in the lake that surrounds the Sunken Temple in the Swamp of Sorrows.
Alternate Path Edit
If you don't like the water, you can head to Angor Fortress in the Badlands. There are two types of footlockers inside the fortress, Battered Footlockers and Dented Footlockers. The Battered Footlockers are located upstairs, and you will be able to open them immediately at 150; however, the Dented Footlockers will require a skill of 175 to open.
225 to 300Edit
At 225, go to Searing Gorge. Down in the Slag Pit are . You can open all of them, and again pickpocket for junkboxes. Additionally, you can travel to the Swamp of Sorrows. A water-breathing potion makes circling the deep water around the Sunken Temple much easier, as spawn throughout the area. Stay in either of these locations until 250-255.
The best place to raise your skill from 250 to 300 is in Blackrock Depths. Simply go in, turn to the left and unlock the Shadowforge Gate. Continue forward and take the first right, picking the next Shadowforge Gate. Pick the first door on the left, the East Garrison Door, and then head through the door, staying on the bottom level. If you are level 60 or above, pick the large wooden object sticking out of the ground below the giant gear, The Shadowforge Lock; lower levels can aggro the mobs around it (although you may be able to pick the lock then Vanish if you have the Glyph of Pick Lock; confirmed that this works with a level 57). Pickpocket the 10 humanoid mobs in the room and you should average either 1 Sturdy Junkbox or 1 Heavy Junkbox each run. You can also lockpick cell doors if you are able to solo small groups before them. Then head out of the instance and reset it before doing all four again. Note that you can only reset the instance 4 times before it disables you from entering, saying "You have entered too many instances recently". This will yield 5 runs. This is valid for the whole account and resets roughly an hour after you entered the first time. Keep in mind that a number of mobs will be able to see through stealth, regardless of your level, so be prepared.
Another place for 250-300 is Tyr's Hand in Eastern Plaguelands. Pickpocket the mobs and find all of the . In the time it takes to take a full circle of Tyr's Hand, the starting point will be pickpocketable and have boxes respawned. Do this until 300.
Yet another location to level lockpicking from 250 to 300, particularly for those above level 60 is in the mines below Honor Hold in Hellfire Peninsula. The Gan'arg Sappers can be pickpocketed for . As most have their back to the center of the mine they can all easily be robbed clean with little problem, and the only other NPCs capable of interrupting the Rogue are the patrolling Succubi, but they can be easily avoided.
Another spot at Searing Gorge is the Stonewrought Pass. You can pick the doors on either side at around 225, however the Loch Modan side has an Alliance guard so Horde may find it easier to simply level on the Searing Gorge side. The door quickly closes after being opened, so you can continuously pick the door until it is grey. (Trying this on 9/1/09 produced 1 skill-up from each gate, with difficulty Orange. It appears there is a CD on the skill-up of at least 15 mins.)
300 to 375Edit
The best place at 70 is in Feralfen Village in Zangarmarsh. This is located south of Coilfang Reservoir and Twin Spire Ruins, west of the Lagoon and east of Quagg Ridge. There are three areas of buildings clumped together with a handful of wicker chests in each. They typically spawn inside and around the huts. The tower in the western section of the village has wicker chests on the first floor and on the top floor. You can also pickpocket the mobs (levels 61-63) with an 11% chance of getting a (requires Lockpicking 300).
Another location for leveling lockpicking between 300 and 350 is outside of Black Temple in Shadowmoon Valley (very east side, hunk of land sticking out). Stay near the blood elves that are paladins/warriors (not by name), not the demon hunters. Pickpocket these and kill them to have them respawn. As many know, there is an epic thrown weapon that can be taken out of the that come out of Outland, . Formerly a popular item, it was nerfed with patch 2.3.
If you are feeling somewhat more adventurous, you can work your way up to the top of the plateau mentioned above. Easy at level 72, so long as you avoid the stealth detectors. Then, when you reach the top, Jump down 3 ledges to an unpaved walkway. Go through these and work your way back to the bottom of the first ramp. Doing this, you can continually pickpocket without having to kill a single mob. Because by the time you get back to the beginning, you can pickpocket them again.
However, if you're wishing to level your lockpicking in Northrend, a great location to do so is southwestern Borean Tundra. The Kvaldir Mist Lord have a 36% of getting a , and a Kvaldir Mistweaver has an impressive 38% rate.
Note: I have attempted to pickpocket the from both the Kvaldir Mist Lord and the Kvaldir Mistweaver, moving up and down the shore pickpocketing the entire population twice, I only received 6 . As I pick-pocketed approximately 104 combined mobs, the total comes to about 16%, less then half the above noted.
350 and beyondEdit
With the amount of humanoid mobs you'll be killing, if you make it a habit to pick all of their pockets before stabbing you'll wind up with more than you'll know what to do with. This should allow you to easily skill Lockpicking up to 400.
The Feralfen Village in Outland is still a viable place to level your lockpicking, for 380+. The doors to Karazhan, Shadow Labyrinth, Shattered Halls, and the Arcatraz will all offer easy skill points as well, as all are orange at 350 — simply leave your keys to these instances in your bank. Stratholme doors also remain green until 400; they are less likely to give a skill point, but offer multiple attempts in a single area with no travel time.
If you are level 77 or above, one of the most amazing places to get is The Avalanche in Scholozar Basin. There are hundreds of zombies which can be pickpocketed for the lock boxes. In fact, there are so many that by the time you finish pickpocketing the last one the first few will magically find a new lock box for you to steal from them all over again. Just be careful of the 1 or 2 elites that wander the area. Well worth the time for a level 80.
- Crafted locks used to raise skill
Skill gains on doors not inside an instance are on a timer. They cannot be picked repeatedly for skill. A certain amount of time (about 5 min) must elapse before skill gains may be realized again. As of 5 August 2008, doors within instances must also be given time to cool down before getting another skill point, even if you reset the instance
As of 16 December 2007, there seems to be a 50/50 chance that picking a junkbox will reset the skill gain timer on either or both Scarlet Monastery doors. Zoning into any of the four instances and pickpocketing at least three mobs also seems to give a 50/50 chance of reseting the SM door timer on both doors.
See also Door section of Lockpicking.
- See Lockpicking for the current state of the skill.
/ Patch 4.0.1 (12-Oct-2010): Guide now obsolete; lockpicking scales with level now.