Escape from Tarkov is a tough game. It’s daunting for new players with its lack of tutorials, no in-game maps (unless you buy one), or friendly markers to tell who’s who when raiding with friends. You will die a lot and sometimes have no idea who shot you. But once you have a couple of successful raids under your belt you’ll likely be hooked. Hooked on the intense firefights and the satisfaction of looting your first few juicy kills. As a relatively new player myself I thought I’d share a few tips for new Escape from Tarkov players to help them prepare for the challenges ahead. If you are a veteran, chances are you will know all this already.
Before you raid
Get to know your stash, the traders and your hideout. Also, I’d recommend examining as many items as you can from the traders. This means you won’t be doing it in raids. There are thousands of items, so you won’t get all of them. However, at level 5 you unlock the flea market – a player run auction house; here you’ll find a whole bunch more items for you to examine.
Speaking of levels, some of the traders will provide you with tasks for you to complete. These tasks can be a fairly easy way to get some XP to help you level up. They aren’t essential to complete but, getting to level 5 for the flea market can be very useful.
Scav runs give you a random loadout and you essentially take control of one of the AI characters known as Scavs. Any loot that you acquire can be passed across to your stash should you successfully extract. The benefits of playing as a Scav are the lack of risk – you’re not really losing anything if you die. Additionally, other AI Scavs are friendly however, if you shoot them, they won’t be and you’ll aggro nearby Scavs too. Learn how they move to help spot other player Scavs- it’s fairly obvious really. Top tip – if a Scav has a gun on his back, it’s a player Scav, shoot them!
There’s a 20-minute cool down on Scav runs, so make use of them as much as possible. They’re a great way to get comfortable with the gunplay, the maps and to get some decent loot if you’re running low or want to make some cash. Just make sure you have space in your stash – top tip, before a Scav run, put as many items as you can on your player to make room in your stash if you’re getting a bit full.
PMC raids are where you’ll use your main character and items from your stash. You’ll use your PMC to complete most quests. During a PMC run you’ll have access to your Alpha or Gamma container. This is a secure box that can’t be accessed by other players, anything kept in this will not be lost should you die during a raid.
NEVER TAKE IT OUT OF ITS SLOT! Any high value items or keys you find during a raid, chuck them in there. Equally, if you need to get into a certain door for a task take the key with you in that box. Keep it secret, keep it safe.
You chest rig is where you should be storing your mags. If they’re in your backpack you can’t just press R to reload, you’ll have to go manually into your inventory to change them. With them in your rig, or pockets, pressing R will reload you. If your rig is full though, you’ll drop the mag on the floor. Be careful! This also applies to any meds and adding them to the hot bar.
Learn a map
It’s good to start off by learning one or two maps and get comfortable on them. You can play offline so no players or AI (if you choose) are present if you want an easier time learning them. Get a map up on a 2nd monitor or tablet, hell print one out if you must. Having a map is priceless.
Double tapping O shows your extract locations. Learn where they are for both Scav’s and PMC’s as they can be different for each. Extracts with question marks next to them might not be open whilst others may require specific items to use them. There’s nothing worse than getting to an extract with a minute left and finding out you need 5000 roubles.
Time & Sound management
Take your time on a raid, this isn’t a run and gun shooter. Running is loud, bushes are loud, walking on metal and wood is loud. Try and keep quiet, moving slowly will help. Also take the time to stop and listen for a second, it just might save your life. Putting a headset on your character makes a big difference too.
You will die and you’ll lose good loot, get used to it. I got over gear fear by taking all my best items to my first ever Labs run – where you can’t get gear back if you die, it was honestly kind of liberating. I’m now much more confident and far less annoyed when losing a nice weapon. Don’t let your best weapons sit in your stash, use them! It’s much more fun.
There is so much ammo it’s crazy. To help understand what’s good find a decent graph that breaks it down. I use this one. It’s not essential early on but it’s useful to get familiar with some good ammo types.
Bag-ception space saving
Looting in a raid can be a little stressful, especially if you’ve just taken down multiple targets and don’t have much time. Practicing stacking items, putting bags in bags, and basically playing Tetris with your inventory will make your looting experience a lot more efficient. Also investing some money on ammo and magazine cases can really help save space in your stash and they won’t break the bank.
I tend to insure weapons, helmets, rigs and armour with Prapor for several reasons. One, if you get killed by a Scav you’re far less likely to be looted. Two, even if a player kills you, they might not want your loot or may already be full. Three, if you find some loot the same as yours, i.e. a helmet or headset drop yours somewhere concealed, then pick up the other one. That way you’ll get yours back on insurance and have another one too!
I’ve barely scratched the surface, but hopefully this gives you a few tips for how to survive in Escape from Tarkov.