Over the past week, a few of my friends and I have been delving deep into the game that has been sweeping streaming services like Twitch and Mixer, Escape from Tarkov.
In its most distilled form, Escape from Tarkov (EFT or Tarkov) is a survival game. While still in Beta, players choose to spawn into the map as either a Scav or PMC.
Scavs, or scavengers, are pre-generated “disposable” characters that have limited loot on their person. They are the “free” lives the game gives players. Their one job is to scavenge for better gear, loot, etc and extract from the map without being killed.
PMCs, or Private Military Company, is the player’s main character (also PMC). The PMC enters the map with customized (by the player) weapons, load-outs, etc. The PMC’s job is to also scavenge, kill, and collect items for the various vendors to unlock renown and lower prices of items or increase the amount of money received for selling scavenged items.
There are multiple maps that are available at the beginning of the game to spawn into. Players do not get any information about the maps, and the only available in-game information is an overpriced map that isn’t terribly helpful.
Unlike most other games, the first 5 “levels” are not forgiving. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Getting to level 5 is tough, but not impossible. At level 5 you gain access to the Marketplace. A virtual store where you can buy and sell items found in-game for (typically more) money than you would to the vendors.
As I said, the essence of Tarkov is survival. Don’t die, get loot, extract. But outside of that, there is a whole separate game of hideout building/upgrading, inventory management, and gun customization.
Each weapon can be broken down, like a real weapon, upgraded, and customized. Even ammo types are different for each gun and, further, each ammo type. You may have some 7.62 ammo that won’t load into your weapon because you currently have a different 7.62 ammo in your magazine (magazines also have different sizes). The point is, there is a ton to this game.
Here are some helpful game rules:
1: Knowledge is Power –
If you don’t know anything about the game, you are already at a disadvantage. As it has been in beta for several years now, there are plenty of guides, resources, and tips online that can help you become a Tarkov player. Knowing the map is a great start, but knowing peek points, choke points, etc THAT is invaluable. A PMC decked out in the best gear and guns can still be outplayed by someone who has better knowledge of the game, its mechanics, and the map.
2: Ammo is more important than the gun –
Penetration value means hit the head more. Damage value means hit the legs more. Pretty straight forward. If the enemy is not wearing armor, aim for the chest. If they are, legs or heads are your targets.
3: Tasks will level you faster –
Remember earlier when I said, “The first 5 levels are tough”? I wasn’t kidding. If you want to level faster, you have to high risk/high reward the game. Going into a raid and not doing anything is fine, you may get a couple of hundred exp by looting 1 or 2 items in-game before extract, or even get a kill on a random ai Scav. If you want to maximize your time in raids, check your traders first, find a task, and focus on getting that done. If you get it done, you get more exp, which will help you get to level 5 faster.
4: It is ok to die –
When you die, you learn something new. You have to not be afraid to die. Dying and losing gear is part of Tarkov. You can kill someone with a bunch of gear just as easily as they can kill you with no gear. Don’t forget to loot.
5: Find a way to make money –
Part of the game is making money. How do you make money? Work the economy. Sell things on the marketplace. Do whatever you need to do to survive and upgrade your stuff. Don’t go overboard because of rule #4. You will die.
There are a ton of other things about this game, but for now, after 1 week of playing, I can confidently say, it’s addicting, fun, and terrifying at the same time. It is worth it to buy the game while it’s still in beta, if anything, to learn the game before its released.
Pinch is an avid player of roguelike games, first-person shooters, and is currently training for Spartan Race 2020.