How Does Escape From Tarkov Work? A Quick Guide for Gamers

Diving into the world of Escape From Tarkov can be both exciting and daunting. As a unique blend of hardcore looter shooter with RPG elements, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed at first. But fear not, this introduction will help you quickly grasp how the game works and what you can expect when venturing into the war-torn city of Tarkov.

In Escape From Tarkov, you’ll choose between two factions—BEAR and USEC—and engage in intense battles with AI and human-controlled players across various maps. Each raid you embark on carries risk and reward; with every piece of gear in your loadout at stake if you die. However, successfully extracting from the raid can yield great rewards, making every decision a careful balance between risk and reward.

To increase your chances of survival, you’ll want to utilize the Scav character option whenever possible, and search for extraction points in each map to get out alive. Don’t be discouraged by the learning curve; over time, you’ll become an expert at navigating the harsh landscapes and emerging as a victorious survivor in Escape From Tarkov.

Game Overview

Setting and World

In Escape From Tarkov, you’ll find yourself immersed in a hardcore, survival multiplayer experience set in the war-torn city of Tarkov. The game’s environment presents a thrilling challenge as you navigate a treacherous landscape inspired by the fictional Norvinsk region. Despite being in beta, the game offers a rich and immersive world, giving you a taste of what a full-fledged RPG experience could be.

Factions: BEAR and USEC

When starting Escape From Tarkov, you’ll need to choose between two opposing factions: BEAR and USEC. These factions represent the private military companies (PMCs) that are battling it out for supremacy in Tarkov. Each faction comes with its advantages and unique characteristics, increasing the depth and complexity of the game.

  • BEAR: This faction hails from Russia and features characters specialized in close-quarters combat and heavy weapons.
  • USEC: As the Western counterpart, the USEC characters possess skills in long-range engagements and strategic planning.

As you explore the city of Tarkov, you’ll encounter both AI and human-controlled players representing these competing factions, requiring you to stay alert and on your toes at all times.

Game Modes

Escape From Tarkov offers various game modes, allowing you to adapt your strategy based on your playstyle:

  • Raids: In this primary game mode, you will embark on a series of high-stakes missions where survival is everything. You put everything on the line, and if you die during a raid, all your equipment could be lost. On the other hand, surviving the raid might yield valuable loot and rewards.
  • Offline Mode: Escape From Tarkov offers an offline mode for you to familiarize yourself with the maps and improve your gameplay without the risk of losing your hard-earned gear. Keep in mind, however, that loot and progress gained in this mode will not carry over to the online modes.

To enhance your experience in all game modes, make use of the RPG elements available, such as quests, upgradable skills, and sophisticated weapon customization. These will not only improve your character’s abilities but also make your time in the dangerous, unforgiving world of Tarkov more enjoyable.

Gameplay Mechanics


In Escape From Tarkov, you’ll participate in raids which are time-sensitive missions on various maps. You can play as your main character, a PMC (private military company), or as a Scav (short for scavenger). When you play as a PMC, you can equip your character with your own gear, while as a Scav, you’ll start with randomly assigned equipment. The objective is to kill enemies, loot their gear, and extract at specific extraction points while avoiding enemy players and AI-controlled Scavs.

Looting and Economy

The game’s economy is based on items found during raids and roubles, the in-game currency. You can sell items to traders or on the Flea Market. The economy is player-driven, and prices are influenced by supply and demand. Items range from guns, ammunition, armor, to medical supplies and more. Looting is a crucial aspect of the game, and the risk of losing everything in your loadout adds tension to each raid.

Health, Injuries, and Hydration

Escape From Tarkov features a unique health system. You have various limbs on your body, each with its own health pool. When a limb takes damage, it can cause status effects such as bleeding or fractures. Healing items like bandages and splints can be used to treat these injuries. In addition, the game has a hydration system – you must maintain your character’s hydration levels to avoid negative effects. Be sure to carry painkillers to temporarily mitigate damage penalties.

Quests and Tasks

The game offers a variety of quests and tasks given by in-game traders. These missions often require you to find specific items, kill a certain number of enemies, or complete specific objectives. Completing these missions rewards you with experience, money, and reputation with the trader that provided the mission.

Hideout and Skills

Aside from completing raids, you can upgrade and maintain your hideout. This is your base of operations where you can craft items, upgrade various stations, and regenerate health and energy. Some hideouts even offer places to test your weapons and train your character. Your character has a skill system that improves over time through use. As you utilize specific skills, they will level up, granting various bonuses such as increased stamina, quicker reloads, or better healing from items.

Remember to always consider the risk and reward factors of each raid, strategize your loadout, and prepare for the unpredictable nature of Escape from Tarkov. Good luck out there!

Weapons and Ballistics

Weapon Types

In Escape From Tarkov, you can choose from five main types of weapons:

  • Primary weapons: These are your most powerful and versatile weapons, perfect for taking down enemies in different situations.
  • Secondary weapons: These act as a backup when your primary weapon is out of ammunition or not suitable for the situation.
  • Stationary weapons: These are heavy-duty weapons that are usually fixed in place and can deal massive damage.
  • Melee weapons: When bullets aren’t an option, melee weapons help you take down enemies at close range.
  • Throwable weapons: Grenades, throwable knives, and other projectile weapons become highly useful in tight situations.

Remember to fit your weapons according to different situations, as modularity is a key feature in Escape From Tarkov.

Ammunition and Ballistics

An essential aspect of mastering Escape From Tarkov is understanding the ballistics and ammunition types. Bullets in the game are simulated realistically, so factors like gravity, air friction, and bullet speed come into play.

Different types of ammunition have varying levels of damage, penetration, and armor damage properties. For example, 7.62x25mm Pst gzh has a damage of 50, penetration of 25, and projectile speed (unknown). Thus, it becomes crucial to select the right ammunition for your weapons based on your play style and the enemies you’re facing.

A critical concept in the game is bullet penetration. The penetration chance of a bullet is determined by the armor level, its durability, and the type of bullet it is being hit with. Bullets that penetrate armor will deal 0%-40% of their base damage while also decreasing its durability. When a bullet does not penetrate, the player receives blunt damage.

Armor and Bullet Protection

Armor in Escape From Tarkov serves as your primary form of protection against enemy bullets. The effectiveness of your armor depends on its level and durability. However, be aware that ballistic properties of bullets make it possible for them to penetrate or ricochet off the armor.

When choosing your armor, consider factors like durability, weight, and any movement penalties it might incur. It’s crucial to balance protection against mobility to ensure you can dodge enemy fire or move quickly when needed.

Keep in mind that Escape From Tarkov is designed to be a challenging and realistic game. This means learning and adapting to different weapons, ammunition, and armor types is essential to your success. Good luck!

Maps and Exploration

Escape From Tarkov offers a unique gaming experience with a focus on maps and exploration. In this section, you will learn about the different maps available to explore and what to expect when venturing into them.


Customs is one of the first maps you’ll encounter in Escape From Tarkov. This map features a mix of open and close-quarter combat areas, with plenty of buildings and containers for cover. Be prepared to face both scavengers and fellow players as you navigate through this map in search of valuable loot.


The Factory is a small, fast-paced map with numerous tight corners and close-quarter combat situations. This location is perfect for players who prefer intense action and quick engagement with enemies. Keep in mind that spawns can be close together, so be ready for action as soon as you set foot in the Factory.


Woods is a forested map that focuses on open-world exploration and long-range engagements. With fewer structures than other maps, make sure to use trees, bushes, and natural terrain for cover. Plan your movements carefully, as it’s easy to get turned around or run into other players in this vast, dense forest.


Shoreline is a larger map featuring a coastal resort, attached villas, and a small town. This map offers a mix of urban environments and natural landscapes, making it an excellent choice for both stealthy and aggressive players. Pay attention to the sounds, as footsteps on various surfaces and distant gunfire can give away enemy positions.


Reserve is a military base map with numerous interconnected underground bunkers, buildings, and open fields. Be prepared to encounter a mix of short and long-range combat, and make use of the underground bunkers to avoid enemy fire. Communication and teamwork are key to success on this map, as it can be easy to get separated from your squad.

The Lab

The Lab is an underground research facility filled with valuable loot, but also comes with a high level of danger. The close-quarter combat and advanced enemies put a heavy emphasis on tactical gameplay. Preparing for potential threats, such as armored opponents and raiders, may be necessary for you to survive and escape.

Streets of Tarkov

Streets of Tarkov is the latest addition to the game, featuring a city setting filled with skyscrapers, shopping malls, and hotels. This map offers intense vertical combat and requires players to stay aware of their surroundings, as well as the multi-level conflicts taking place around them. Enemies such as border snipers, Glukhar, and Killa provide deadly challenges for you to overcome.

Remember, understanding each map is crucial to your success in Escape From Tarkov. Take time to learn the layout and unique features of each map to maximize your chances of survival and loot acquisition.

AI and Enemies

In Escape From Tarkov, AI-controlled enemies play a significant role in the game. This section will provide an overview of the different types of AI you might encounter, including Scavs, Boss Scavs, and their behavior.


Scavs are AI-controlled enemies that populate the various maps in Escape From Tarkov. As a player, you must be cautious when encountering them, as they can pose a considerable threat if you’re not prepared. Here are some key points to remember about Scavs:

  • They can often be distinguished from player Scavs by their movement patterns and frequent chatter.
  • If you kill a Scav in one location, other Scavs in a different area won’t become hostile as a result.
  • Scavs can be both friendly and hostile, depending on whether you’re playing as a Scav or a PMC.


Raiders are one of the most feared aspects of Escape from Tarkov. These heavily armed and well-trained NPCs roam the game’s maps, posing a serious threat to players. With their advanced tactics and equipment, raiders are a challenge even for experienced players.

Raiders are not just any ordinary scavengers – they are former USEC and BEAR operatives who have turned to a life of crime. They are equipped with top-of-the-line gear, including armor, weapons, and grenades. They are also highly skilled, making them a formidable opponent for even the most skilled players.

One of the most notable aspects of raiders is their unique AI behavior. They are programmed to work together and use advanced tactics, such as flanking and suppressing fire. They can also communicate with each other, making them a cohesive and deadly force.

Despite their fearsome reputation, raiders can be a valuable source of loot for players who manage to take them down. They often carry rare and valuable items, making them a worthwhile target for players who are up for the challenge.

Overall, raiders are a challenging and exciting aspect of Escape from Tarkov. They add an element of danger and unpredictability to the game, keeping players on their toes and ensuring that no raid is ever the same.

Boss Scavs

Boss Scavs are more powerful and dangerous than regular Scavs. They typically have better gear, more health, and may even have bodyguards. Keep these points in mind when encountering Boss Scavs:

  • They might be hostile to both PMC and Scav players, so be prepared for a fight.
  • Boss Scavs and their guards often have unique and valuable loot that you may want to acquire.

AI Behavior

Understanding the behavior of AI enemies in Escape From Tarkov can give you an edge when engaging them. Here are some important aspects to consider:

  • AI Scavs may sprint but will make a specific sound (like dragging their feet) when stopping. This can help differentiate them from players.
  • Cultists, another type of AI enemy, approach silently and use melee or ranged attacks when engaging a player.
  • Learning the behavior of AI is crucial for differentiating between human players and AI-controlled enemies.

Remember that AI behavior can change and evolve over time, so always stay alert and adapt to the situation as needed. Good luck in your Tarkov adventures!

Community and Updates

Server Wipes and Gear Progression

In Escape From Tarkov, server wipes are a crucial aspect of the game’s progression. As a multiplayer first-person shooter set in the Norvinsk region, you’ll be competing with other players for valuable resources and gear. During a server wipe, all players’ progress is reset, with everyone starting from scratch. This ensures fair gameplay and provides an equal opportunity for all players to explore new strategies and build their strength.

Though server wipes may seem daunting, they offer a fresh start and allow you to reevaluate your tactics in Escape From Tarkov. Plus, with every wipe comes updates to game features, improvements, and bug fixes, enhancing your overall gaming experience.

Content Creators and Streamers

Escape From Tarkov has captured the attention of popular Twitch streamers and YouTubers, who showcase their gameplay and teach newcomers how to play. Much like in other games such as PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, Fortnite, Destiny, and World of Warcraft, content creators play a vital role in fostering an engaged and supportive community.

By watching these streamers, you can learn from their expertise, witness different play styles, and get inspired to try new tactics in your own game. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your favorite Twitch or YouTube stars to ask questions or seek advice. Many popular content creators, such as Polygon and EFT-enthusiastic YouTubers, are willing to share their knowledge with fellow players.

Future Updates

Escape From Tarkov is regularly updated with new content, bug fixes, and improvements. The development team at Battlestate Games is committed to keeping the game fresh and engaging, even during its closed beta phase. As a result, you can expect regular updates addressing various aspects of the game, such as:

  • Expanding the in-game world and adding new locations
  • Introducing new weapons, gear, and items
  • Tweaking gameplay mechanics
  • Optimizing server performance and stability

Stay informed about these updates by following Escape From Tarkov’s official channels like their website and social media pages. The more you understand the changes, the better equipped you’ll be to adapt and thrive in this challenging and immersive world of survival.

Escape from Tarkov Consoles: Will PlayStation and Xbox Players Get to Join the Fun?

Escape from Tarkov is a popular first-person shooter game that has been a hit among PC gamers for years. But what about console gamers? Unfortunately, Escape from Tarkov has not yet been released for consoles. However, there have been rumors circulating about the possibility of a console release in the near future.

PlayStation and Xbox players have been eagerly anticipating the release of Escape from Tarkov on their respective consoles. While there is no official word from the developers, the game’s popularity and success on PC make it a likely candidate for a console release.

If Escape from Tarkov does make its way to consoles, it will be interesting to see how the game is adapted for controller gameplay. The game’s complex inventory system and tactical gameplay may pose a challenge for console players, but with the right adjustments, it could be a great addition to the console gaming world.

Until then, console gamers will have to settle for other first-person shooter titles. But with the potential for a console release on the horizon, Escape from Tarkov fans can hold out hope for the future.

About the Author

Dan was initially only focused around gaming reviews and other content back in 2019ish on this platform. Since then he has decided to focus on the hardware and software side of things instead of just the games themselves. He has been focused on PC gaming and wants to give back to his community as much as possible.