Disclaimer, this is not a rant post or an anger post of any kind. It's just more of a discussion on the current state of Interchange.
Interchange across the 6 wipes I've played Escape from Tarkov, has always been my most played map. I play several hundred if not in the thousands of interchange raids every wipe. This wipe in particular has been the most difficult state to run the map I've ever observed the map. I'm not necessarily mad at this as I believe meta and map states should be fluid and fluctuating and it's probably only a temporary thing. However, as of now at the first week of wipe, Interchange has been almost unplayable if you're raiding to make money as I've always done, as a PMC that is. As a scav the map feels amazing, however. Very strong map to scav into currently.
PMC Problems that are increasing the difficulty right now:
#1: Scav spawn-in time. I've timed many different routes in offline raids throughout many wipes to many different areas, I'm very comfortable with how long it takes to get places on this map. The fastest a player can get to techlite is roughly 2:00 in, without an SJ6. This is with a perfect next-to-oli no SJ6 spawn and high endurance and medium-strength levels. So ~43:00. Player scavs have been spawning in as early as 42:00, regularly at the restaurant stores near techlite, meaning you have exactly one minute to loot techlite and leave before potentially running into Player scavs. This is even more prevelant when trying to do more time-consuming things like looting kiba, turning on power from a non-power spawn, etc.
#2 Player scav quantity Absolute insanity. I play with a trio group and I consider us fairly skilled as we regularly can wipe interchange, as we play the map an absurd amount. I've never seen player scavs in the quantity we're seeing them now. They no longer kill each other nearly as much, and most players are choosing interchange as well for their scav location as they need many FIR task items that best spawn on Interchange. Additionally, scavs are now playing together as a group to hunt pmcs. This means having to fight 4 or 5 groups of allied scavs every raid. My group likes to play this map slowly and clear out the lobby of PMCs and methodically play slow as we clear and loot the map. Yesterday we played an interchange raid and killed 4 PMCs at the start, just to get into the mall. Not a crazy thing. We then went into the mall. and throughout the next 10 minutes had to kill TWELVE player scavs. A 4 man of allied scavs, two two-mans, and the rest were solos. Insanity. just constant, constant fighting. kill the 4 man, a two man shows up. kill them, two more player scavs. Cannot even loot the player scavs without more showing. This was not a special raid. This has happened fairly regularly and predictably all week. If you are a PMC and are not extracting within 15 minutes, you are going to be shooting 500+ rounds at player scavs. Not necessarily a negative, as many players enjoy this type of playstyle. Some have been wanting to find this kind of 'absolute warzone' type of scene in tarkov. It's just how the map has changed recently. It's a bit less of a money-printer now and more of a 'pvp warzone' area currently.
#3 Task Items and Area focus With current item shortages, thousands of players are now flocking to interchange. This happens regularly at the start of wipes, people checking for flash drives, looting for gas analyzers, or just money running. This map with item shortages it has been much worse though. Across 40 raids of interchange we have looted Oli and the nearby computer rooms exactly four times without fighting enemy players. Rasmussen and Texho/Techlite are about similar numbers, but that is to be expected.
#4 Scav Friendlies without reduced spawn rates With the introduction of certain in-game functionalities(4 letter acronym), player scavs are now not fighting each other nearly as much. Generally on interchange in the past, scavs would kill any enemy scav on sight most of the time. It's a dark map so being able to distinguish a scav from a pmc was far too risky and many would just shoot on sight for possible graphics cards, etc. Now, Scavs are not only able to communicate when fighting together, they now almost never kill each other. This means that there are probably around an extra 50% more player scavs alive in each raid than before that would have otherwise been killed. The spawn rate of player scavs on the map has not been reduced to compensate this, so the map is constantly absolutely flooded with player scavs.
Concluding… Interchange is no longer a place you can expect to loot and predictably get into only one or two fights. If you pmc this map, you are nearly guaranteed 2 or 3 fights with enemy players, normally groups of players at the moment. This map feels closer to factory or labs than slow methodical clear map like it historically used to play. I decided to do some low-risk loot runs around the outside of woods to compare the playstyle and the sheer calm of that map compared to interchange is insane. The longest our group goes without hearing sprinting near us on Interchange is like 2 minutes. Woods you can go entire 30 minute raids without hearing a single one. Sometimes many in a row. Granted, this is woods, but it felt like such a different level of fighting and ability to avoid players than Interchange.
Possible Solutions to this if BSG considers this not part of their vision for the map:
- When making certain task items rare for 'dynamic loot' purposes, have the traders send a message when loot tables are adjusted. This wipe, gas analyzers were completely disabled on interchange for several days. This did not stop hundreds from flocking to interchange, there was no announcement. Have Prapor send out an announcement, or even cooler have the intel station have a use like this that says 'word is those damn scavs have been clearing out all the gas analyzers/tech/whatever from Interchange. Apparently they've been hoarding them out in Reserve. If you're on the hunt for analyzers/tech/whatever, maybe check there!'
- With increased numbers of scavs being friendly, there needs to be fewer scavs as they don't kill each other as often. I think player scav spawns need to be reduced on these maps that are heavily affected by the new 4-letter-acronym, like Interchange, if BSG wants to calm the scene of interchange down for pmcs.
- Adjust spawns rates a tad. BSG can keep the same number of scavs if they adjust the player scav spawn rates. They can have bursts of player scavs, for example, but currently its simply a complete steady stream of player scavs rushing in, meaning constant fighting at all times instead of bursts of fighting with time to recouperate in-between.
Disclaimer again:This is not a rant post. Maps should fluctuate and have different playstyles at different times, I feel. This is just my understanding of the current state of Interchange for PMCs right now and I thought it would be interesting to discuss the state and what BSG could do if this is unintentional or accidental in the way they've changed the vibe of the map recently.
What are your thoughts on Interchange right now?
Edit: Removed all mentions of the cursed 4 letter acronym apparently automod will remove every post with that acronym listed. V something something o something something i something something p. x to the d.