With the influx of new players, I have been reposting this information a lot. So, I thought to make it its own post that I can link to. It is a work in progress and is based on my comments in other posts, so I apologise if you've seen it before. It will be added to over time. Please add your own insights, tips, tricks, and corrections in the comments below. I'll be sure to credit you in the next version. FEEL FREE TO ASK QUESTIONS.
Escape From Tarkov – the Missing Quick Start Guide
Hi. Welcome to Tarkov.
You will have heard many descriptions of EFT. Here is mine:
EFT is a: deeply immersive Roguelike First-Person-Shooter Looter Survival RPG.
Many claim EFT is hyper-realistic. It is not. What EFT is, is hyper-immersive. That's ok, realism can be overrated and immersion can be more fun. Realism should not be ignored but immersion should hold the balance. It's what keeps us coming back in spite of the obvious ways realism is not catered to.
EFT is definitely a Roguelike. With average survival rates from 20% – 40%, dying is the norm, and with death comes loss. Die in a raid? You've lost your gear and anything you found in the raid. (Insurance can help here, more on that later.) You are going to die. A lot. No. Seriously… Think of all the dying you can imagine. Double it. That's not enough dying. You will die more than that. A lot more. I do not care how hardcore you are in any other shooter or in real life. Tarkov is a 'special set of skills' and you are going to die.
This is based on an old meme about Eve Online, but it seems to fit EFT:
At its core, EFT is pure First Person Shooter. EFT is a playground for gun-lovers and FPSers. If you do not like hunting down your fellow man for the purposes of shooting him the face from a first-person perspective (and if you can not take it when he does the same to you) then EFT is not for you. If you do, and can, welcome home.
Equally fundamental are EFT's Looter mechanics and inventory management. There are a metric-tonne of trade items, weapons, weapon modifications, clothes, food, medicine, barter items, parts, and junk to be found, sorted, sold, fitted or crafted.
Survival is the ultimate goal, whether in a single raid or across a career. Though we expect to die, we are striving to build up a base of operations and skilled characters who occupy it. We have to learn to survive and profit while doing so. As game development continues these elements will become more and more active in our day to day but they play a role even now.
EFT has deep RPG systems in play. Our PMC and SCAV develop over time, earning levels and skill points as we play. Unlike many FPS this has a direct effect on things like the control of recoil, or other things normally left only to player skill.
That seems like a lot for a game to try to be, and it is. EFT is mostly successful at it, and over the years the game has improved, if slowly. In spite of its flaws, EFT is my go-to game, and I love it. I tolerate the issues because I know there is hope for improvement and because I enjoy the gameplay. There is no other game like it.
What to expect, my own experience
1st wipe: GAH! WTF! ALL THE DYING!!!!
2nd wipe: Ok, getting (dead) a handle (dead) on this (dead)…(dead)
3rd wipe: Ah, now I can begin to learn.
My first wipe, I had Shinyitis and Gear Envy. I also had no idea how the game worked. I died to everything. I wasted a lot of time, rubles and fun. Was frustrated and annoyed almost all the time.
My second wipe, I took an adage from Go and applied it to Tarkov: "Lose your first 40 TT's as quickly as you are able. Then you might begin to learn." I learned. A lot. About the mechanics of my character and his weapons, about the map, and the AI, and the flow of Tarkov. Moved on to the Sr1mp. God that pistol is a beast with the 12 ammo! I also learned to insure everything, just in case I get one tapped by a scav and no one finds my corpse.
My third wipe, I went full-on ScavArmy. I levelled my PMC to 5 then ran my Scav until he was in the 30's. Stored the quest requirements, sold the rest. Bought cases and scav boxes, and learned how to apply the TT lessons to whatever weapons I got. Then I went to the PMC and ran the quests. I ended last wipe with 40m rubles in hand and a full suite of storage and 'Oh I should keep this." stuff.
This wipe, .12, I am just faffing around mostly following the pattern of last wipe.
For a new EFT player, I would recommend this pattern:
Spawn your scav. Every time it is available to you. I recommend Interchange (map).
Learn it from the edges in and bottom-up. Loads of good value to be had there. Do nothing but extract and sell the stuff. While waiting for the scav timer, play an offline match on the map you want to learn. Select: AI, as in-game, and start learning. If you want to practice combat, use Factory in offline mode. Choose a high number of scavs and prepare for the dying.
When you are ready to sell stuff, disassemble the weapons (including taking the round out of the chamber – disassemble button does not do this and Skier will not buy weapons with a round in the chamber).
Sell everything to the traders in the following order:
) Ragman (I only sell to him for standing – Skier gives better prices)
Peacekeeper (I only sell to him if I need dollars or standing))
Fence for the rest (crap unrepairable armour, knives, etc))
If I am just going for money then my order is: Therapist, Skier, Mechanic, Prapor, Fence.
Not done Jager yet, so not sure where he falls in there if at all. My reading suggests he's not great for prices either way.
Lather rinse repeat until you have a million rubles. Buy a scav junk box.
Now you should have some map knowledge. Start looting in earnest on your scav runs. Start doing your 40 pistol runs with your PMC. When they are done, choose an inexpensive weapon to get good at (AK74u seems to be winking at you, go check her out) and use it exclusively. Get good with a low-end gear. Hit what you aim at. Ammunition and skills mean as much or more as a meta M4s.
Lather rinse repeat until your scav box is full. By now you will have enough loot to make a good nest egg, map knowledge to help you survive as a PMC, and lots of experience dying so you are used to that too…
Learning Tarkov is like baking a cake. You get the ingredients, mix em up, and then it has to bake. There is no rushing that. Tarkov is learned in a wipe but mastered across wipes. Enjoy that. The learning is the best part. Once you 'know it all' EFT becomes pretty repetitive.
Oh, and though your PMC does not gain EXP from scav runs, your scav does. He gains skills and exp just like your PMC. The main stat screen shows the PMC though. To see the scavs stats you must check them in raid.
Some notes on Keybindings
I would recommend changing these keybinds:
Grenade to g, double press – no more accidentally dropping a nade when trying to use stuff.
Blind-fire overhead to something not using alt (now you can check mags and adjust sights – anything that uses alt, while moving)
Show objectives to 'o' release – now you get both the extracts and the timer in the same keypress. This one is just cause we're talking keybinds and it's handy 😀
How to Bind Items to a Number Key
You can set any usable item in your rig or pockets to a numeric hotkey (4-9) by hovering over the item with the mouse, and pressing a number, 4 – 9.
On Grenades, and some other ways to use them
Put grenades in your rig/pockets.
Assign them hotkeys by hovering and pressing a number, 4-9
When in-game, press a number to get a grenade
— Left-click gives a more controllable throw.
— Right-click, grenade primes. Right-click again , the grenade is underhand lobbed.
If you add the 'blind-fire overhead' and blind 'fire-right' controls to the mix, you can even affect the roll.
There is so much more to it than that. This really is just a quick start guide.