The Anti-Guide to Tarkov (for beginners)

Escape From Tarkov can be an intimidating game to a newbie. I’m here to make your life easier and help you understand Tarkov's many intricacies. As a great man once said many times, let’s crack straight into it.

1. Which version to buy?

Let’s face it: the EOD version is superior in just too many ways.

Those other players will tell you that the secure container size doesn’t matter and that you can farm everything for your warehouse expansion in-game.

One: the container sizes are actually the same, it’s the volume that differs and matters. Those additional five slots will make you feel superior to those scrubs in many ways. And it’s something to take solace in that volume after you die. And all that at a low cost of $140!

Two: you’re a newbie and you won’t get to farm this game, let alone be able to grind the stuff for the warehouse. If playing this game has taught me anything, you are the farm.

Oh, and the extra $95 spent on the game will hold your conscience hostage long enough for you to learn something and fall in love with the game. Maybe.

2. USEC or BEAR?

Tough choice. USEC has some nice clothing that you can buy later in the game to make you look like a scav at a distance, perhaps saving you from a few stray bullets. But clothing costs a lot. And there are even more disadvantages!

We will be choosing BEAR for three reasons:

  1. This is Russia, baby!
  2. There is an early quest for people to hunt USECs. By choosing BEAR you know that when you get killed, there is a future Chad griding his teeth thinking “damn, I needed that last USEC kill!”. This feeling of spite will help you cool off after you die, which, by the way, you will be doing a lot (both dying and cooling off).
  3. USECs get a lot of gear you won’t have access to for the longest time, meaning that you will never ever take it out of your stash on the natural fear of losing it (and that fear is not unfounded). Those AKs, on the other hand, can be found on half the scavs in the game, if you are able to take them down. This is Russia, baby! Not that you won’t be afraid to take out that AK as well, but at least you can lie to yourself that you’ll get another one soon.

3. SCAV or PMC?

When playing the game you will be presented with the choice to play as your PMC (you character) or a random scav.

You can go two ways here.

Safe route: play a few scav games successfuly (as little as 600 games could be enough) and raise scav karma/reputation by extracting. That karma will lower the timer your next scav, making things even better. On scav runs you don’t lose anything, get free loot (if you can extract) and get a chance to learn the maps.
At some point you will even go to woods and think “hey, I know this tree!” right before getting blasted from 300 meters from someone who has made these trees their home a few years back.

Or take the risky route: play as your PMC, raise their stats and hope for the best while you still have the naivety to do so. After all, you want to get those stats up, right?

4. What to take into the raid?

To summarise: armor, helmet, tactical headset, tactical rig, primary weapon, some spare mags, a few grenades, loads of medicine and a big backpack is what you won’t be needing any time soon. You just need the cheapest pistol you won’t be afraid to lose and lots and lots of prayers. Ok, maybe grab some medicine on the rare account you don’t die from the first bullet… you optimist.

The wise newbies will always wear the Kolpak-1S riot helmet. Some players will try to convince you that that helmet doesn’t let you wear headphones and you need those because sound is such an important part of the game. Well, Kolpak is even better. It doesn’t amplify sounds, it dampens them. This way you won’t be intimidated by the sounds of the rain while hiding in a corner, holding your gun close, imagining a troop of Chads circling around you. Ignorance is bliss.

Going with just your knife is also an option but there will be people killing you just out of spite. Might as well make them work for it and give yourself something to franticly shoot in their general direction while they calmly aim for your eyes.

5. I’ve loaded into the map, great, where do I go?

Since there is no map, start running towards the biggest, lushiest bush on the map and hide there. In the unlikely event you were not killed in these first 10 seconds you can wait for a bit and listen to the running noises. If there are still no running noises after five minutes you can go risk it all. Unless you’re on Customs, where your safety is never guarantied and the author of this guide personally holds a record of a death 3 seconds into the raid (as a PMC).

6. Do I run? Do I stealth?

You stealth around and run away.
Better yet, learn the terminology of the game, who Rats and Chads are, and how their playstyles differ.
Take it all in, weigh your options.
Proceed to become a rat.

7. Oh no, I’ve put on headphones and I can hear everything!

If (and it’s the most likely scenario) you have the GSSh-01 on your ears, fear not. Start running and the deafening sounds of your boots will most likely stop you from hearing any other intimidating noises on the map. What is hearing loss when you can get a piece of mind?

If it’s any other headphones, you might as well take them off… or just take in the sounds around you, steeling your heart and training your self-confidence, you maniac.

8. Oh no, I can hear someone running towards me, what do I do?

Well, there isn’t much to do — Omae wa mou shindeiru.

One thing you can do is stop all movement completely, crouch down, make no noises or movement. Chads react to sounds and movement, and you might just live long enough for them to think there’s no one here or that everyone has already left.

If you there is no place to hide and all you’ve got is a pistol, you can prepare for the unlikely event of silent Tarkov negotiations. Look into the direction of the Chad, assume the most non-threatening pose you can (press V) and as soon as you are sure the Chad has noticed you press Q and E keys in rapid succession.

If the negotiations work out, the Chad may take pity on you, escort you to an exit or even give you free stuff.

But most likely event you will be shot as soon as you make the slightest movement. But then the Chad will see your corpse and he will weep over it (and the lack of loot or a high level USEC token in it). While you may not be able to shoot them in the [head, eyes], you will get them in the [thorax, heart]. And then it’s time to take comfort in the soothing feeling of spite!

9. I’ve got friends I can play with! Any advice?

First, nobody likes a bragging wanker. “Ooh, I got friends!”

Second, they are not friends, they are a liability to your tactical gameplay. They will make noise, loot everything you were going to and attract unwanted attention.

Third, how do you know if it’s your “friend” or a Chad about to blast you in the eyes. This is why you must set the rule that everyone needs to constantly describe their actions and position and proceed to murder anyone that dares stray slightly off your path (given that you can hit them).

Someone came out into the corridor of the building you were looting? "Sorry, Mark, I had no way to know it was not an enemy about to shoot you."

Someone running away from you (and towards some looting spot) with their back towards you? "Sorry, Fred, I thought it was someone intimidated by your EOD container volume."

Someone pointed their gun at you? "Sorry, Dennis, gun safety was made for a reason and I got a twitchy finger."

Someone just standing around? That's either an enemy or Peter, and we hate Peter. Not sorry, Peter!

Loot their bodies for anything of value and stealthily proceed towards an exit. Deny any warcrime accusations.

10. I am intimidated by all those screams in Russian I don't understand. What do I do? How do I play this game? What is the goal?!

In the infinite wisom of a random scav: "Shcha k barygam, a potom – po babam"

This anti-guide is inspired by the "Beginner guide, written by a beginner." made by Kingstudly.
Kudos to him for inspiring me to write something in ages.
If you want any questions answered or anti-advice for anything else, do ask in the comments. That may or may not inspire a part 2.


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