This game and it's community catches a lot of flack from too many angles to count, but at the same time, no other game has forced me to change and adapt my gameplay in so many areas in such a frustratingly enjoyable way. After finishing The Punisher quest line for the first time, I was riding a new-found high for quite sometime….that is, until I set my sights on level 4 Jaegar and a new, lofty hurdle – hunting Killa and turning in his helmet.
Towards the end of last wipe, I spent some time gearing up & jumping into off-line raids to rush Killa to see how well I'd fair (the answer is not very well). Even though knowing he'll be in the middle of the mall is extremely useful, that's only one piece of the puzzle. Avoiding other PMC's farming Killa, GPUs, Kiba or honestly, PMC's farming other PMCs, were all much larger pieces to deal with. If you manage to get in a raid where Killa spawns, avoid death and find him first, killing him should be the slam dunk; that's assuming you avoid his pre-insta kill power-slide. He's like medusa in that sense, once you see the power slide, death is never too far behind. Sure, my newfound confidence and skills from finishing the Punisher Quest line had me in a much better spot than before, but the battles and PMC's found in Interchange are a different beast than that of Shoreline.
Once I took down Rashala (a good story/guide in of itself) to open up the quest to Hunt Killa, I was ready to pick up right where I left off last wipe & hope for one lucky raid. Little did I know, BSG had different plans, by drastically changing Killas spawns. A fellow redditor
Now this change has sparked much controversy by itself, but selfishly threw a huge wrench in my plans. On one hand, spreading Killa throughout the map would surely make it easier to avoid players by letting me avoid the loot hot spots, although the odds of finding Killa elsewhere weren't great. On the other hand, instead of rushing his limited spawns which could ensure shorter raids, nearly the entire mall would need to be checked and I would be forced to take many, many more chances in exploration, not to mention the time needed to do so.
All in all, I did the appropriate risk/reward calculation and decided on a new game plan that
- Fit my current gameplay best while still pushing my limits
- Gave me reasonable chances at finding Killa
- Would allow me decent change at successfully extracting with his helmet
- Was cheap enough to comfortably keep multiple kits on hand for an almost surely very large sample of raids
My first game plan was to stick to the garage. Sure, he doesn't spawn in the garage very often, but the garage had many advantages. It is far less traveled by players and I was very comfortable in the garage since I used it last wipe to for Decontamination Services while leveling sniper skill and it has various exits and plenty of cover. For a cheap kit, I took a 6B3tm rig, no backpack (so I could hit hole in fence extract if need be), a suppressed VP .366 with AP rounds and a 1-4x Eclan Specter. I took one extra mag & kept a pile of AP rounds in my secure container for reloads. If I spotted Killa, I would, in theory, doink him in the head, grab his loot without anyone knowing & peace the fuck outa there.
This game plan worked great – I avoided players, I wore a respirator and killed a slew of scavs for Decontamination services and got plenty of experience on my sniper skill….but it had one big flaw – I didn't see Killa ONCE. I would roam all the way from Idea garage to Oli, and back, just to make sure not to miss him, but no luck. A few times, I would hear his RPK go 100% BRRR mode upstairs, but I was not equipped for CQB. That's when the first change of my game plan came; start in the garage but run to any RPK shots fired in the mall and scope out from a safe distance.
Tip: Since you'll almost surely need to run a slew of raids, this is a great time to do Decontamination services & the "Survive 7 raids" quest. Hell, really most Interchange quests. This is one great reason why a lot of players say it's better to naturally encounter bosses instead of hunting them – it's efficient.
This game plan was better, but still had a big flaw. I was still rocking the VPO so if I heard shots upstairs, instead of running to the main level, I would go upstairs to peek down through the closest overlook. Although I heard him plenty, he remained heard & not seen. Luckily, this lead to the biggest change in my game plan. You see, after hearing him spray & pray near Oli, I ran upstairs and saw a PMC who beat me to the punch, standing on some crates looking down on the action. I immediately put a .366 AP round through his dome, adding to my Tarkov Shooter part 7. We both missed Killa but upon looting him, I found a UMP45 loaded with RIP rounds. I was super confused, since every guide I had seen for Killa suggested high-pen rounds to pen his level 5 armor or level 6 face shield (like M61).
Tip: Learn your way around the outer areas within the mall. Making my way from the garage to the main floor and upstairs via the stairways in the back of Oli and Idea was crucial. Surprise Surprise, map knowledge is monumental.
That forced me to do some research, and found that legging Killa with 45 RIP rounds or 9mm RIP rounds can be surprisingly effective and after the recent blacked-limb update, leg meta is even more effective. After testing 9mm RIP rounds in an off-line raid, I confirmed everything I suspected. Although it'd force me into CQB, this playstyle would almost certainly lead to more run-ins with Killa. With that, I bought 4 9mm Vectors, kitted them with cheap vertical grips, cheap redots, NCstar lasers, one 33 round mag of 9mm rip with one spare mag in my rig.
This game plan had me starting in the garage but quickly moving to rush through his traditional spawns, checking store fronts second, then upstairs last before hitting no-backpack extract. Night raids really helped keep the PMC count down, but I definitely ran into more players than I cared for. Luckily, I was able to successfully defend myself once & eluded all other PMC fights (some more persistent than others). RIP rounds are just as effect against PMC's but I'd rather reset the raid then spend 20 minutes battling PMC's if Killa wasn't there. The big factor I had to keep in mind was that now that I switched to CQB, having him spot me from a ways off went from Plan A to a worst case scenario. Unfortunately, spawns like in front of Idea and Goshan made it hard to get up close & personal at times, so those needed to be checked very carefully (hold that thought for later).
After about 10 raids, I started taking 2 extra mags since 9mm RIP rounds are pretty cheap, the 33 round mags from vendor are cheap & I would frequently run low on rounds if I had to fend off too many scavs. It made me feel better about surviving but my odds of finding him kept my optimism at bay. Just spurring an encounter was proving to be very, very difficult.
Then around raid 15, there was about 20 minutes left. I had spawned behind Goshan, rushed to the front of Goshan from the garage, ran behind the main-drag to Generic, checked ADIK and Brutal, ran to Idea, took the escalator upstairs to check down on Oli and didn't hear or see a peep. The raid was basically dead, so I picked off a few scavs, hit some of the tech stores and looked down on the main drag from upstairs for a minute before thinking about resetting. I walked slowly towards the escalator by Goshan when a scav below yelled at me from downstairs, right before I 1-tapped him with well placed 9mm RIP round. I kept walking but heard another set of footsteps below…. quick footsteps. I stopped, crouched upstairs by the desk where you turn the alarm off, right when the footsteps turned into a sprint up the escalators. A disgruntled scav? A lingering PMC? I didn't know but I held an angle and watched as a sprinting body flung himself to the top of the escalator and through his level 6 face shield, rained down automatic fire on me like an African monsoon. My slightly delayed reaction had RIP rounds starting at his head, moving towards his legs but good cover and a poor angle by me blocked his legs. And just like that, no voice, no prior gunshots and no signs of life after clearing 99% of the mall, Killa cleaned me up like I was a nagging itch. I didn't know what to think. How'd I miss him during my rush? How'd he not aggro on me while I romped through the mall?? I didn't have any answers but I immediately felt more regret when I thought of how extracting on a dead raid would have been. What a huge missed opportunity.
In order avoid another missed opportunity, I decided to start taking 3 flash grenades to help flush out this pain in my ass. From raid to raid, I would rush spawns and flash others from a distance, mainly the IDEA spawn and Brutal from upstairs. This made me feel better about not missing him, but it didn't pay off for me as no throw of mine was rebutted with the distinct war-cry I was desperately seeking.
Around raid 25 (I stopped counting at this point so maybe +/- 5 raids), I once again was nearly done clearing the Mall and only had a few spawns to check. I had spawned in the back of Goshan, checked the front of Goshan, Oli second and upstairs third, so I dipped into the garage to make my way back to check IDEA. I hucked two flash bangs upstairs from below with no signs of life, so I decided to check the medical supply room below and thought I might as well check the IDEA office for GPUs, too. As I ran my way up the stairs and towards the office, tracer rounds shaved off my PMC's eyebrows as I slammed on the breaks, taking cover behind the single pillar in front of the registers. The automatic fire didn't stop for no one but it wasn't an RPK. It stopped enough for me to peek but I immediately retained cover while the onslaught of rounds began to seemingly carve out the pillar. After 30-40 rounds of what must have been a drum mag, I needed to satiate my curiosity – was this him? If not, this was either a stupidly persistent scav or a PMC who doesn't know what hard cover is. The bullets stopped and I stole a glimpse of the man-of-the-hour – Killa. I flipped my gat to full-auto (single fire for 1-tapping scavs), turned the laser on and this time, peeked with authority as I shredded his legs like a block of cheese. He started to run towards me but with 5 rounds left in my mag, his body crumpled upon his now useless limbs.
I was alone at the time and I'm a generally a pretty reserved person, but as Killas body fell, I yelled "POWERSLIDE ME NOW, BITCH" loud enough for the neighbors to question my sanity.
With 23 minutes left in the raid, I ran over to his corpse and did what I was waiting to do for days and what every Killa farmer has down to a science – checked his pockets while I dropped my gear, equipped his armor, rig and helmet, then equipped his pocket contents. I ran through IDEA, back of Goshan, down the short-cut to the garage and straight the no-backpack extract.
I don't know what I'm happier about; not having to hunt Killa again, not having to worry about the sweatiest of sweaty players hunt me while I'm running with a killa helmet to extract, or not having to force myself to check every nook and crany of interchange at the hottest part of the raid. I probably won't know for a while, but here's what I do know. During the punisher series, I was forced to adapt my ambush-style gameplay to a point where I was at least slightly dangerous to other PMC's. After the struggles and time I spent on this quest, I was again forced to significantly adapt my gameplay into a much more quickly-offensive playstyle. I had be confident in routinely checking hot areas in some of the most contested areas in the entire game. I had to make sure I was ready to rain down 99-rounds at 950 rounds per minute at a moments notice, yet swiftly moving and making my way across every level of the mall. Did I turn into LANDMARK, flicking headshots left and right? Absolutely not, but no longer do I have to wait in the weeds for unsuspecting players and for the perfect shot to land in my lap – I'm capable of taking the fight to one of the most brutal opponents in all of Tarkov.
A few notes
- Unless you get lucky, this quest will probably take you a while. Having kits ready to go if you get killed saves time & having affordable kits means you can have many on hand. I'd suggest the 6B level 4 rig since it holds everything you need, cheap enough to have many on hand, protects you from most all other scavs & gives you a fighting change against PMC's. Don't expect it to tank rounds from Killa, but that shouldn't be your game plan to begin with.
- Start with a game plan you're comfortable with. If you start by rushing into something you're not ready for or equipped to deal with, you'll die a lot and growing discouragement will likely be the end of your hopes of completely quests like this. My first game plan didn't work, but it let me survive often, which gave me confidence in knowing if I was lucky enough to find Killa, the rest would be up to me. It was only until I got more comfortable before I switched to 9mm RIP and roaming the mall more and more. 10 survived raids without finding killa and 10 raids killed within 30 seconds with no room for hope are not equal experiences. It may sound silly, but when Killa laid my ass out upstairs, it left me hopeful because I knew my current game plan was safe and would eventually lead me to another encounter.
- Stack. Quests. There's so much to do on Interchange, it was a big missed opportunity for me for doing them before hand. I ran by the bookstores, wifi-camera spot, gold chain spot and the helmet/comtact spot more times than I care to remember.
- If you don't feel comfortable looting high tier areas while you hunt, there's plenty more areas to make the failed raids worth it. There's 3 weapon crates upstairs I would routinely hit by the Oli stairs, a slew of weapon crates in the garage, and of course, the lockers off-center in Goshan. There's no reason why you can't make money and gain valuable looting experience while doing this, along with every other skill that's leveled by looting.
To those on the hunt; be patient, be vigilant and best of luck!