Maybe some of you have considered this before, and if you have please don’t come down hard on me (like this sub is often want to do) just because I’m only realizing this now, but what Tarkov does better than any other shooter out there right now (that I’ve played anyways) is creating a virtual but very real connection between yourself as a player of the game and as a character in the game.
Gear fear simulates the experience of real loss in a video game. When you play PUBG your driving incentive is to do well THAT ROUND. If you die it’s okay, the game has been designed so that you can quickly turn around and try your luck again. Every loss in PUBG only EARNS YOU EXPERIENCE, there is never a point where you truly lose anything from game to game.
Well Tarkov can’t keep you permanently dead when you die… so how do they design a game where you can experience unequivocal loss?
By letting you get attached to the things that you value as crucial to YOU as a player or player character. My pmc doesn’t really have any customizable features, maybe some different shirts, but the reality is that he is a copy paste of the other pmcs of his faction, but THE GEAR I PUT ON ALLOWS ME TO SELF IDENTIFY IN THE GAME. Whether its to look cool, be functional, or just to fuck around, your identity in the game is tied to the decisions of what tools you keep and what you sell to maintain forward progress.
Ultimately, when you lose gear, you LITERALLY LOSE A BIT OF YOURSELF in Tarkov!
Yes you can buy more, and sure other people can wear similar stuff to you, and play in a similar manner. But none of this changes the fact that EVERY TIME you decide to take a kit into a game you are making a statement about your values as a player/character in the game: Am I all about the money? Am I here to show off? Am I looking for an ingenious way to take advantage of the rules of the game?
Surviving a raid with said kit would support the claim that your way is a viable way to survive in the harsh world of Tarkov, and dying speaks to the impracticality or incorrectness of your decision making as a character in the game.
No wonder it hurt so much to lose gear, even as a high level player! The gear is your means to communicate with the game world and shared lore of the pmc experience!
COD can let you upgrade your guns, your character model, your vehicles, yadda yadda on and on… but dying in COD is often just that, “oopsie, you executed your gameplay slightly slower or slightly less accurately than your opponent, better luck next time!”
The game wants you to try again, without feeling the shame or pain of having lost as it would disrupt the flow and “fun” of the game. Instead, you leveled up your gun because you killed a guy at the beginning, way cool man! The only way to go is up! (/s)
As much as we all hate it, getting killed by an extract camper in Tarkov alone forces your self into the game world more than COD can by simply rewarding you for spending time in the game. It forces you for a moment to seriously consider if it’s worth it to take risks and hunt for loot while others take advantage of your hard work with little effort. Is it fair? Should I be playing fair? Pissed or not, my dying in that manner has now personally involved me in the world of Tarkov, because the only way to not lose gear, my identifying feature and proof of progression in tarkov, is to now adapt my playstyle to either deal with campers or become what I hate most. The same goes for shoot-on-sight scav violence.
When a game makes you question your personal ideals and make a hard decision about what kind of player/character you are going to embody in the world of the game, well I call that real immersion.
TLDR: Gear represents you as a player, and the winning and losing of it is where Tarkov shines in making you feel like part of the game world. If it didn’t hurt to lose MY stuff, then I wouldn’t feel as much like my character in the moments where it matters