Escape from Tarkov is a cruel, sadistic game, and it will not hold your hand. But it is almost probably the most exciting first person shooter out there because it has high stakes; if you die in a raid, you lose everything you had on you, all your gear and your weapons. Since the game be quite overwhelming when you start, we’ve compiled 50 best tips for beginners in Escape from Tarkov, in no particular order, that will help you take your first steps in Escape from Tarkov and thrive!
Have no “gear-fear”
In Escape from Tarkov you can lose everything you take with you into the raid, which causes a lot of people to sit on their “good gear” and go out with crappy armor and shoddy weapons, not to mention useless ammo. Keep in mind that this is just a game, and that even though you may have little experience at the beginning, the better gear and more powerful weapons and ammo will more often than not be the difference between life and death. You can replace all the gear and weapons with sufficient time invested, so don’t worry about it too much. See every raid as an investment into development of the skills of your character, progress in missions and reputation gain with traders, rather than the danger of losing gear. They are just pixels, and will be wiped anyway every 6 months or so when the game development requires a restart.
Ammo is the king
Good ammo is more important than anything else in Escape from Tarkov, including your weapon. A higher level armor on a PMC or a tougher raider AI will eat up a lot of bullets before your target goes down, and unless you get a really lucky shot – or unlucky, depending on who is on which side of the gun you are – the target may not go down. Getting good ammo is especially difficult for casual and lower level players, since it is so damn expensive, hence you need to find the best budget ammo that is affordable to you. Best place to learn more about ammo in EFT is EFT AMMO website.
Start with budget loadouts
EFT can be very complicated, especially for beginners and casuals. You can hardly tell what to use at any given time, and the amount of gear and modifications can be overwhelming. I will recommend this video to get you started, which requires no access to flea market and traders at level 1 only.
Weapon attachments are important
Weapons are fairly cheap in Tarkov, but the attachments can be insanely expensive. In most builds, the most important attachments can cost as much as the weapon itself. They help reduce recoil and increase ergonomics, both of which are important, but recoil is probably the most important thing in the game. Most times other PMCs will strip the attachments from your weapons if they don’t have palce to carry them, so you mgiht get the insured weapon back.
What is Ergonomics in Escape from Tarkov?
In Escape From Tarkov, examining a weapon will reveal its stats which include Ergonomics, Accuracy, Sighting Range, Vertical and Horizontal Recoil, and Muzzle Velocity. Each of these stats plays a crucial role in determining a weapon’s effectiveness and handling.
Ergonomics indicates how easily you can manage the weapon, with higher values resulting in faster reloads, aim-down-sight time, and weapon switching. Accuracy represents the precision of your shots, while Sighting Range denotes how far you can zoom in when aiming. Recoil determines the level of bouncing and sway of the gun during shooting, with lower values indicating less recoil and greater accuracy. Muzzle Velocity, on the other hand, affects both the speed and accuracy of your shots.
To improve a weapon’s stats, players can modify them with various attachments. For instance, sights can enhance Accuracy and Sighting Range, while stocks and grips can increase Ergonomics and decrease Recoil. Suppressors can also be used to reduce a gun’s noise, but they also lower Muzzle Velocity.
By experimenting with different mods, players can optimize their weapons for maximum effectiveness, ultimately increasing their chances of survival and acquiring valuable loot.
Always wear armor
It doesn’t matter if it is even the most basic one, the Paca, do not go out without an armor. You don’t want to have a lucky raid and get one tapped by a random scav because you were too stingy to buy an armor.
Headsets are amazing. They will reduce the background noise and help you hear scavs and other players moving about. GSSh-01 is the cheapest one, but even that is better than nothing. ComTac2 is my overall favorite
Get a big chest rig and a backpack
For every raid, try to get a big chest rig and a backpack to haul as much loot as possible. Anything below a scav backpack is too small, and anything under 16 slots for a chest rig is too small. Keep in mind that there is a difference between armored and unarmored chest rigs (check out the full chest rig list here), and that you can wear either a) an unarmored chest rig AND separate armor or that you can b) wear an armored chest rig in the chest rig slot but then you can’t put anything in the armor slot.
Focus on completing missions
Doing missions is the most important part of EFT, since it helps you level up faster and increase reputation with the traders. You get a decent chunk of experience for each completed mission, along with some money rewards and other prizes. The higher your reputation with traders, more things can you unlock from the traders, including things that cannot be bought on the flea market.
Upgrade your hideout
Make sure you invest into upgrading your hideout as much as possible. Every station will either unlock new abilities for you, increase specific attributes and unlock crafting options that will bring you in money.
Use weapon presets
Once you unlock the workbench in your hideout, you can save a weapon preset. This will allow you to quickly buy the weapon and all necessary parts for it and assemble it. In future, we hope for an addition where one could create entire setups, including gear.
Test your weapon in the hideout
After you unlock the shooting range in the hideout, make sure you test the weapon you take there before going out in the raid. See how the recoil feels, how the weapon behaves, and how the aiming down the sight works with that particular scope.
Embrace the Flea Market
With level 15 you will unlock the flea market. You will initially be able to place only 2 items on the flea market for other players to buy, but as your market selling increases, so will your ability to create more offers rise. Sell successfully, and you will gain reputation, but keep in mind that reputation is lost whenever an offer is not fulfilled, removals included. Here is a chart showing the required reputation for a specific amount of offers you can put up:
Reputation Number of offers From To -∞ 0.2 1 0.2 7 2 7 30 3 30 60 4 60 100 5 100 150 6 150 1000 8 1000 +∞ 10
Note that flea market is not always your best friend! While generally you will be able to sell things, especially the more expensive ones, for a better price on the flea, oftentimes the Therapist will provide you with better prices for certain items.
Flea Market settings
You can adjust your flea market settings and make sure that you only buy items with full durability or full uses, so you don’t end up buying a broken weapon or a halfway used up gas can just because you weren’t paying attention.
What should I loot in a raid?
A general rule of thumb is that a slot in your inventory should be at least 10K ruble worth. The more value to it, the better. You can make a lot of money as a players scav, just looting what the big guys have left behind. Some of the great things to loot are bolts and nails, for example (at the time of the raid, they regularly go for around 20K), which are often overlooked by PMCs. Sugar, for example, is right now around 50K, and is one slot only. At start, loot everything that will not significantly slow you down, and discard later on.
When you follow the 10K per square of your inventory lot, that means that a helmet or any other item that takes more than one slot should have a price that justifies it. A 4 square item should have a fetching price of at least 40K on flea market or with traders, if you are below level 15.
Oh, and make sure you throw in chest rigs into your backpack, to increase the amount of loot you can carry!
Get in a raid quickly
Go to your EFT launcher, click on “change server”, sort everything according to ping and lick on every server in your region. Simple and quick.
Check your weapon
First thing you don in the raid is check your weapon. Alt T to check if the magazine is full, ALT B to check the fire setting. Also check your flashlight and weapon laser mode if you have those equipped.
If you want to loot quickly, hold CTRL and left click to get an item into your inventory. If you want to equip something onto your character (slot must be empty, like weapon slot) hit ALT left click and the item will be equipped.
Discard items quickly
If you need to get rid of stuff quickly, instead of right clicking an item and selecting “discard”, you can hover with the mouse over an item and hit “delete” button (by default) to quickly get rid trash from your backpack during a raid.
Know the prices
Knowing the prices is half the profitability in the game. This can only truly kick in after you’ve been playing a while, though, but fret not. Once you are out of the raid, you can check the prices on Escape from Tarkov market website. The prices will vary according to the stage of the game, since Escape from Tarkov does a “wipe” of the servers around every six months, and reset all of your loot to zero. That is also about the best time to start with the game, since everyone has been reset to the starting position.
To whom should you sell your stuff to? Traders do not buy everything from you; except Fence, who will indeed buy everything. In short, sell everything you want to get rid off to Therapist first. Next, Mechanic is for weapons (unless they have really low durability), weapon parts and ammo, Ragman is armor, chest rigs and backpacks. Peacekeeper is the next step, he will buy diaries and books and manuals, and finally Fence for all the scav crap nobody else wants. Make sure though that in order to raise reputation with a trader, you need to level up, do their missions AND spend a certain amount of money with them, so always check if there is a trader that you could increase your money spent with to match the next level requirement. This amount is increased by both buying from and selling to a trader.
Learn the EFT maps
Know the map you are getting on. The best resource for that is Mapgenie for EFT, where you can familiarize yourself with each raid map. It will show you the loot positions, mission points and everything else you need to know about them. The best way to explore a map is as a player scav, which gives you less reason to worry about losing your gear and more time to scavenge with less danger for a significant loss.
Go for Player Scav runs
There will be players that will scoff at player scav runs, don’t care about that. A player scav in EFT means that you can “play as an NPC”, in a way, and just go around the map and loot things. Other scavs won’t shoot you, and since the Battlestate games have introduced scav karma, the other players scavs will usually not shoot at you either, since this decreases their scav karma and affects their standing with Fence, the King of Scavs.
Advantages of a players scav run is that you get to play as a scav with random weapons and gear, can go around the map and loot everything that has been left over from other players. Usually you will be safe, but even if you get killed, you didn’t lose anything, just wait for the timer for the next scav run to expire (usually it takes about 20 minutes, but you can reduce it in several ways). Sell off the stuff you got, profit. Keep what is good for your PMC run.
Get better Player Scav loot!
The more runs you do with your players scav and extract successfully or even kill PMCs, the better your rep with Fence will be, and you will have better starting gear with your players scav. At around 3.5 reputation with Fence, I frequently get lab key cards and other expensive items, such as moonshine. I even got a tank battery in a recent player scav run, and that one took some time for me to haul out!
How to distinguish Scavs from PMCs
When playing as a Player Scav, distinguishing between Scavs and PMCs in Escape from Tarkov can be challenging. While Scavs are intended to be neutral, PMCs have no restrictions on attacking other players. Unfortunately, there is no visible indicator on the HUD to differentiate between the two character types.
When playing as a Player Scav, particularly when alone, it’s important to learn how to differentiate between the two types of characters. This takes time and practice, as both Scavs and PMCs look similar in appearance for beginner. However, there are some subtle differences in their behavior that you can observe. Here are some important tips:
– PMCs are almost always much better geared than Scavs, both Player ones and AI
– AI Scavs will have shabby clothes, have bandages and alike, and mostly won’t have any helmets
– Scavs will shout to you, hit F1 to randomly shout back
– wiggle to show that you are friendly, and when someone does that back to you, hope they actually mean it
Do not assume that a well-equipped character is a PMC, and keep in mind that Player Scavs can also come across valuable loot and become well-armed. So, it’s always best to approach any character with caution and be prepared for the possibility of a hostile encounter. With experience, you’ll become better at identifying the differences between Scavs and PMCs.
Level up your PMC
In Escape from Tarkov, you level up both in levels and skills. Each action gives you some experience, most notably killing other PMCs and successfully extracting from raid. But you also level skills, which increase your endurance, strength, weapon handling and many other things. Consider all of it as an investment into your chracter, which will pay off in long term. When you start, for example, your PMC will feel sluggish, but after having run across dozens of maps his stamina will increase, he will run longer and faster, recover faster, jump higher and all those nifty things.
Higher levels are prerequisite for other things such as unlocking flea market at level 15, increasing your trader reputation, unlocking specific stations in your hideout and more.
Flush out scavs and raiders as PMC
Scavs and raiders now react to grenades and flashbangs, yelling out warnings. If you suspect a scav or a raider nearby, just throw a flashbangs or a grenade over there. They will sound off.
Oh, and if they yell in English, run. Those are the new baddies that will probably shred anyone but the toughest chads into pieces.
Stash runs are a great money source
Across all maps there are stashes hidden, which you can find on the Mapgenie for EFT, where you simply deselect everything except the stashes (caches) and plan your route. You can do this with players scavs as well, and lot of times you may find some of the stashes untouched. See the image below for an example; just figure out where you spawned and what your exit is, then decide on the route.
Organize your stash
You will get different stash sizes in your hideout depending on your initial version of the game, from the basic stash of 10×28 squares or cells for the standard edition to 10×68 stash for Edge of Darkness, the largest edition of the game.
Scav boxes are awesome for this, invest in one as soon as possible, Therapist sells them. Use chest rigs that can hold more items within them as squares they take up in your stash. Sell everything that you don’t need ASAP.
Press R to rotate items
Crazy, but many people don’t know about this feature from the get go. You can rotate items in your stash and containers by holding an item and pressing R.
Get containers for your stash
Containers are very important in Tarkov, since they allow you to have more items within them as space they actually take up. Specific containers can only hold specific type of loot, though, so make sure you got the right ones. The aforementioned Lucky Scav Junk Box can be obtained from Therapist (no longer allowed on flea market) which provides 196 inventory slots while only taking up 16. Also, make sure you get other containers for other gear, such as ammo cases, med cases and food cases, all of which can be bought or bartered from traders.
You can put backpacks inside backpakcs inside backpacks inside backapcks in EFT. Inception level insanity.
Which items to keep in your stash?
There is a number of items you will want to keep in your stash for quests, and all of these will require the “found in raid” status, which means that the items were successfully extracted from raid by your PMC or your Player Scav, OR alternatively crafted in your hideout. They can’t be bought from flea market and handed in. Some, like the tank battery, will be very difficult to find in raid, and is hard to extract with that heavy thing. You can find the EFT item list you should keep for the quests here.
Use your secure container
You get a secure container on your person that holds things you cannot lose even if you die. It can range from 2×2 for the standard version to 3×3 for EoD edition, and you can get Kappa secure container with 3×4 after completing a series of quests. Initially, you will keep precious stuff you loot in the game in there, and that you don’t want to lose, but eventually you will want to take special things with you in raid that are more important, such as meds, keys, extra ammo (only the expensive types). Keep in mind that you can put other boxes in your secure containers, such as a document case, which takes up two slots but you can have 16 inventory slots for money, keycards, GP coins, maps and other similar things.
Insure your gear
Before the raid starts, insure your weapons and gear. You won’t get the ammo back, but if nobody else picks up your gear in that single raid, you will get it back from Prapor within a day or so (reduced waiting time with increased rep). You can even throw your gear into the bushes, and once again, if nobody finds it, you will get it back. NOTE: Do NOT throw your gear into water! It seems that you will not get it back. People do that at times, since no other player can recover that gear, but it simply seems to disappear forever.
There is something called a “hatchling run” when players go in basically more or less naked, armed only with an axe or a pistol, and try to snatch valuables from stashes or rooms before they run out with the loot. They used to be much more popular in previous versions, now you will only see people doing that when they have a quest where they need to kill PMCs with pistol only. If you want to do those, you can, but they are no longer worth it, unless as a challenge for some.
Painkillers before fight
If you are certain you are going into a fight. you can “premed” with a painkiller, or even use a stim if you have one. That way, if you get a broken limb, you will have countered that pain up front and save yourself while sprinting to cover instead of limping in open.
Drop your backpack before a fight
Go to a bush, drop your backpack if you expect a fight with a double Z tap. You will be much faster, the drain on your stamina will be reduced, and your chances of survival will be much better. You can get back to it once you are done with fighting.
Healing in fights
When hurt, make sure you first remove any pain effects and then focus on healing your head and thorax first. Hurt stomach will will make you dehydrate and starve faster, hurt or broken arms will affect your weapon handling, while hurt or broken legs will impair your movement speed. A blacked out limb cannot be restored.
Throw grenades overhand and underhand
You can throw grenades with left click after selecting them, and you will throw them high. If you hit right click, you will throw underhand, which is ideal for throwing a shorter distance with a higher arch, say over a fence.
Quickly fix weapon malfunction
Your weapon can malfunction, but fixing it is simple. Set inspect weapon to any button or bind you want, and set it to press type “press”. Next, set check chamber fix malfunction to the same bind, only set the press type to “release”. Now, when you hit the button and hold it, it will first inspect weapon, and when you release it (after it shows you in display what malfunction there is, very important!) it will fix the malfunction.
For a quick reload in emergencies tap R key twice fast. Your PMC will drop the empty mag instead of putting it in the backpack, but will reload the gun faster. If you hold R and scroll, you can choose from different types of mags if you have them in your inventory.
Use the hotbar
You can use your hotbar to use any items you have on you, whereby 1, 2 and 3 are reserved for a handgun and primary and secondary weapon, respectively. Just pull an item to slot on the hotbar, but make sure it is either in your pockets or your tactical rig.
Aim for the legs!
Yeah, there is no armor for legs. If you come across a chad with crazy gear, spray for legs. That will be your best chance to get him, besides hoping for eyes shot.
Positioning is everything in EFT. Make sure you flank your opponents, never peak the same spot twice in a row if someone has taken a pot shot at you, and make sure you stop to listen every now and then. Fast reflexes are very important in this game, but more often than not a proper tactical approach will carry the day.
As soon as you load into the raid, either as a PMC or Players Scav, double tap “O” to see your extraction points. You should tailor your strategy according to that, especially if you are doing stash runs. If you are not certain where an extraction point is, open up a map on a secondary monitor or alt/tab. All of your progress matters little if you don’t get to extract with that juicy loot you gathered in a raid.
Play EFT Your Own Way
As always, people will tell you how to play a game. You should play it your own way. If you want to snipe, run CQB in Factory or enjoy long walks at Shoreline during sunsets either alone or with other player scavs, it doesn’t matter. Do what you enjoy, and what is fun to you.
What is the best map for beginners in EFT?
It is hard to answer that question, since some maps are good for specific things while others are good for other things. If you want quick action in close quarters, got to Factory. If you want sniping action, go to Woods. If you are interested in stash runs, then both Woods and Customs are a good starting place, even though some smaller maps like reserve have good stash routes as well. If you want a lot of PMC action, Labs might be the right place for you. Some quests will require you to go to a specific map, and some items will be easier to find in specific places. If would advise to start focus on Factory, Woods and Customs for starters, and then expand to other maps. Leave Labs and Lighthouse for later.
Escape from Tarkov is not fair
You can get into almost any shooter today and have a fair fight with other players. This is not the case with EFT. The players, the “chads” that roam the game are highly geared, have experience that you cannot, as a beginner, even hope to match, and will have vast majority of beginners for breakfast. It is not only that a learning curve is steep, it is also that it will take you a long time to get anywhere near a competitive level with other players, for a multitude of reasons. You will have very little chance, compared to your overall playtime, to actually take on firefights and practice your aim, and otherwise master those struggles. In one of my first raids, I have spent 25 minutes in Woods, not seeing a single opponent, just to be one tapped by a “bush wookie” camping the extract. In another, I’ve seen a players scav emptying a full magazine from an SMG into an PMC chad from 5 meters away, who was either AFK or disconnected, and this guy took it standing. The players scav reloaded, and finished him off. What are the chances that players scav or any random beginner geared PMC would have against him, I fear to even think about.
Now, all that being said, and in conclusion, if nothing of this scared you off…
You will die. A lot.
This is Escape from Tarkov. It is exhilarating, exciting, frustrating, and unforgivable. You will die a lot. If you want to play the game, get used to it and don’t be bothered.
For Escape from Tarkov, like life, is pretty much suffering.