Escape From Tarkov: Starter Guide

Released in July of 2017, Escape from Tarkov has quickly risen to become one of the most popular FPS survival ‘looter-shooter’ games on the market. It offers an intense, exhilarating, and nail-biting experience to players, standing firm as one of the most challenging FPS games in history. It’s complex, in-depth, and for newcomers, it can be an absolute nightmare – but it’s extremely rewarding once you succeed at it. With that in mind, we’re here to offer a snapshot Escape from Tarkov starter guide.

These tips will serve you well in the earliest days of your adventures in and around Norvinsk, the setting for ‘EFT’. Unfortunately, this game barely offers any cushioning or ‘toe-in-the-water’ mechanics for new players. So, an Escape from Tarkov starter guide is exactly what you need.

It All Starts Here

Firstly, you’ll need to figure out how to get Escape from Tarkov. Currently, you can only download the game from the developer’s website, utilising a built-for-purpose launcher to start the game. There is a range of ‘pre-order packages’ available, and it’s here that we arrive at our first Tarkov tip. While you can opt for the cheapest package, it’s massively beneficial to pick up the ‘Edge of Darkness’ edition, which might seem expensive, but is definitely worthwhile.

Image Credit: Battlestate Games

If you end up enjoying Tarkov, it’s a great deal, and it might just wind up being one of the greatest games of all time.

The ‘EoD’ edition provides you with a huge in-game stash, a larger box for safekeeping valuable loot, masses of items, equipment, and weapons, and, most importantly, a season pass. There’s quite a roadmap in store for Tarkov, and this will ensure you don’t miss out on anything. Fortunately, you’re able to upgrade your package at any point after purchase, so there’s nothing wrong with starting small and upgrading once you’ve settled in.

We would seriously recommend watching tips and tricks videos and reading further Escape from Tarkov starter guides before loading in. There are many aspects of Tarkov that must be understood, such as:

  • Health, healing, and survival systems.
  • In-game trading, economy, and marketplace mechanics.
  • Combat and equipment usage.
  • Inventory management.

This isn’t your average FPS – there’s a huge amount to learn.

You Can’t Beat Experience

Thankfully, you’ll be able to learn a lot of what you need on your journey through Escape from Tarkov. When you first load up Tarkov, take a while to look at your inventory (as you’ll have starter items to play with), toy with keybinds, and lock down your settings. Here’s another great tip for the Escape from Tarkov starter guide: make use of ‘offline raids’.

Escape from Tarkov Starter Guide
Scavs won’t have sophisticated equipment, but that’s fine. (Image Credit: EFT)

In Tarkov, everything is about ‘raids’; jumping into a map, looting to your heart’s content, completing quests and tasks, and getting out alive. However, should you die at any point in the raid, you’ll lose everything you have a) taken in with you, and b) picked up while scavenging. This is another fantastic tip: insure everything you take in, provided you have the roubles to do so. When you insure something, you can get it back after 24 to 36 real-time hours, so there’s less of a blow when you do fail in-game.

But, should you launch into an offline raid, you can rest assured that you won’t lose anything. I mean, you won’t gain anything either, but it’s perfect for testing out movement mechanics, learning the maps, and understanding how combat works.

Learning The Ropes

When you’re starting out, we recommend you stick to one map and learn it in and out. After a few raids, you’ll be much more comfortable with it, and you’ll be able to focus more on the movement, healing, looting, and inventory mechanics. As we’ve already said, Tarkov might be complex, but it’s definitely satisfying to complete a raid and pull out with some high-value loot.

Recommended Starting Map

If there’s one map this Escape from Tarkov starter guide could recommend, it would be Customs. This mid-size map offers a brilliant introduction to Tarkov, as many of the early ‘tasks’ you unlock are completed here. Furthermore, it’s easy to orient yourself and figure out the best looting spots – and spawn spots for the AI enemies, Scavs. These enemies are what you’ll be killing – unless you come across another player with an aggressive playstyle.

Customs is the most welcoming map for new players. (Image Credit: PC Gamer)

They’re not to be dismissed, though. In Tarkov, even a Scav can kill you with a single shot, especially if you find yourself lacking in armor. However, you can turn the tables and drop into a raid as a ‘Player Scav’, which is a more forgiving way to play, but you will be unable to use the collected loot that your ‘PMC’ uses. Although, early on, we recommend using Player Scav characters as often as possible, as they’re not only an easier way to learn maps, but Scav factions won’t shoot at you.

Unless you engage them first, that is…

The Granularity Of It All

Honestly, this Escape from Tarkov starter guide could go on ad infinitum, but as we’ve said, this is a snapshot guide. Here are a few more things you need to pay plenty of attention to in Escape from Tarkov:

  • Check your ammo regularly, and make sure you’re trying to use the right round for the job – bullets matter more than the weapon in EFT.
  • Learn how to manipulate storage effectively, and figure out how to prioritise the high-value loot for your ‘pouch’.
  • Make effective use of hotkeys, prioritising medical items that can be deployed with the touch of a key.
  • Identify the best loot early, making a point to strip weapons of attachments and dig around in those jackets for high-value keys.

Ultimately, you should remember to enjoy Tarkov and try to not take it too seriously. Sure, you can incur some huge penalties if you slip up, but there’s nothing wrong with getting stuck right back in again.

Starter’s Guide Final Tip

Here’s a final tip – pay attention to the Escape from Tarkov server status. As this isn’t a game backed by a massive studio, there can sometimes be the notorious Tarkov Queue preventing you from accessing the game.

Persistence is the key to succeeding in EFT.