Escape from Tarkov Basics - the Beginner's Guide

Escape from Tarkov Basics Guide
raphael 18.02.2020 0

Escape from Tarkov basics – the beginner’s guide

Escape from Tarkov (developed by Battlestate Games) is a complex and challenging game that can be hard to grasp for a starting player – especially if he didn’t play anything similar before. However, as it often is with this type of game, there’s a ton of fun and satisfaction to be had when you get over the initial hurdle. On that note – let’s get down to the Escape from Tarkov basics.

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table of contents


   Raid as Scavenger



   Weapon Mods 










EFT Gameplay

First of all, you have to understand some basic concepts of this game. It's a bit different from your next casual shooter. The developers coined the term Hostile Environment Combat Simulator to describe this hardcore game. Your main character is a Private Military Contractor (PMC). While playing as PMC, you're going to gather experience and gain levels that allow for unlocking various passive skills. You don’t have to always play as the PMC, but the other mode (Scav) is far less beneficial as it doesn’t offer nearly as much meaningful progression. Besides the armed combat, survivability is an important aspect of the gaming experience.


Raids are the most important activity in Escape from Tarkov. The general idea is pretty simple - you have to reach one of the extraction points, collect some valuable items, and exit the raid alive. If you manage to do that successfully and stay alive, you will be able to keep the loot. At the same time, you’re going to have to compete and often fight with other PMCs (players) and Scavengers (NPCs and players).     

The items that you collect in a single raid will stay with you as long as you don’t get killed. If you don’t want to lose a specific item or some money, you can hide them in your personal storage. You can get special items like wallets and cases to hold your in-game currency and save up some space. However, if you want to use a certain thing during a raid, you’ll have to risk losing it. On the other hand, there's a possibility of gaining a lot of great items during a raid. Besides the extraction, you can find a lot valuable items as loot from Scavs, other players or from a container. You may need a certain key to access some rooms or open chests. 

You can also play raids in the single-player offline mode. You will not keep the items that you find (you won’t lose yours if you die either), but you can still get comfortable with the different aspects of the game. Playing the offline Raids (with or without the NPC Scavengers) is an excellent way of learning the game mechanics and getting to know the maps. We strongly recommend that you play some single-player Raids before starting to face other players. 

If you want to keep your gear for a bit longer, you might consider buying and insurance. If you get killed, but your insured item won’t be carried out of the raid by another player – it will return to you. That being said, even if you do that for every raid, you will still lose these items eventually. However, if you have got a gun that you like, you can lean towards this feature to slightly decrease the chance of losing it, especially if you have a lot of currency.

This risk of losing your equipment is one of the main identity-defining factors of Escape from Tarkov. The others include the hyper-realistic health and combat systems. 

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Raids as Scavengers

In EFT, Scavengers (or Scavs) are armed civilians that lurk around Tarkov, trying to find anything valuable. They also organize raids to access even some of the more remote and secure buildings in the city. Most of them are piloted by AI, but the players also have the option of raiding as members of this faction.

There are some serious benefits of playing as a Scavenger. First of all, you won’t be attacked by the AI Scavs unless you engage in combat with them first. Second of all, you receive a whole set of randomly generated gear that you get to keep if you manage to succeed and survive the raid! It’s often pretty weak or unbalanced, but hey – it’s something. You don’t get that much free stuff in Escape from Tarkov. You will also keep everything that you loot and/or extract in the extraction point.

As you can see, that’s quite a lot of positives. There are some downsides too. First of all, you can’t just raid as Scav all the time – there’s a cooldown. Raiding as PMC is not limited in such a way. Beyond that, you have a different (often worse) set of passives, you can’t complete almost any quests, you don’t have access to a personal safe, and you will spawn when the Raid has already started – the whole thing is more chaotic, and you can struggle with knowing what to do.

All and all, you definitely should play a lot of Scavenger mode, especially as a new player. As we mentioned, the game doesn’t hand out too many free items, so getting some useful inventory this way is valuable. Of course, there will be failed runs that give you nothing, but at least you’re not losing your main character’s gear. 

EFT Items

Items are a massive part of power progression in Escape from Tarkov. However, this progression isn’t really linear, since you can (and often will) lose your items during a raid, as you get killed. It forces even the best players to stay careful and try to survive at all times. Besides weapons and armor items, there are also multiple consumables and other item categories that are useful during the game. The mechanic of losing items could (and does) provide more replayability and makes EFT interesting for long days and months of intensive gameplay. Moreover, your character's inventory space is limited what makes getting a large backpack even more valuable. 

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In EFT, you can have a primary and a secondary weapon. The latter is currently limited to pistols. As for the primary weapons – there are quite a few types, and each of them offers multiple models. At the moment, players can shoot at each other with assault rifles, assault carbines, light machine guns, submachine guns, shotguns, designated marksman rifles, and sniper rifles. There are over 60 firearms, and each one of them has unique properties. Moreover, most of the weapons can be modified with various mods. The weapon that you're using will impact the wya that you position, find cover and move around the map. 

Your gun has limited durability. If you manage to hold onto a single weapon for multiple raids, you might have to repair it. To do so, you’re going to have to visit the NPC Mechanic, bring him some Roubles, and maybe weapon parts.

Besides the primary and secondary weapons, there are some throwable grenades – currently, you can group them in three categories: fragmentation (damage), smoke, and stun. Moreover, every player has access to a knife used in melee combat (you can also find various axes, icepicks, and other fun options). Finally, in certain areas of the map, you may be able to find stationary weapons – heavy machine guns and grenade launchers.  

Weapon mods

The weapon modifications are another complex feature divided into a few categories: functional mods, muzzle devices, sight enhancers, gear mods, and vital parts.

Functional mods are a relatively broad category. It includes bipods and foregrips that can help out with recoil reduction and stability. There are also flashlights and laser pointers, useful for vision and aiming. Outside of that, this category features the multi-purpose tactical combo devices and multiple auxiliary parts that increase defense and ergonomics.

Muzzle devices are rather self-explanatory. They let you shoot enemies, without causing too much fuss. They’re divided into muzzle adapters, flash hiders, and suppressors. Besides reducing the noise and flash of your weapon, they can also help out with recoil and accuracy.

Sight enhancers are divided into various reflex sights and scopes. The latter may just simply offer some zoom while aiming, but others can provide thermal or night vision.

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Gear mods are another varied category of alterations. It includes charging handles, stocks, magazines, mounts, and even a grenade launcher! These items can help with ergonomics, reload speed, magazine size, recoil reduction, and more. However, they can also affect some of these stats negatively. Getting a larger magazine with more rounds can increase the reloading speed of your gun.

Last, but not least - vital parts let you replace specific fragments of your weapon with alternate ones that can increase particular stats or longevity of your gun. They’re divided into barrels, gas blocks, handguards, pistol grips, receivers, and sliders.  

As you can see, there are multiple ways of altering your weapon in Escape from Tarkov. It introduces an interesting dilemma – you can enhance your favorite gun with various mods to create a perfect weapon, but a single bad game can result in losing it. Excessively modding a single gun is not recommended in the early game, unless you have a ton of Roubles stashed in your personal safe, to spend in case of losing this weapon. Getting too attached to a single gun in EFT is not a good idea. It's a good idea to keep some currency in your stash to simply have an option to purchase weapons from traders when needed.

Escape from Tarkov Ammo

Besides choosing and modding your gun, there’s one more way of influencing its fire power. Loading your weapon with the right ammo can vastly increase your effectiveness. It’s especially prevalent in the case of heavy armored targets and piercing ammunition. There are multiple ammo options for almost every type of weapon.  

EFT Armor

Currently, Escape from Tarkov features only body armor and helmets. It means that you can protect your thorax and stomach with a bulletproof vest or an armored chest rig, and your head can be shielded with a helmet. Of course, the percentage amount of mitigated damage depends on the class and type of armor, weapon, and ammo used by the attacker, as well as the distance between characters. Most of the time, the bullet will either penetrate the armor and deal a considerable portion of the base damage or stop, deflect and inflict just a small amount of blunt damage. 

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The damage and health system in Escape from Tarkov is incredibly complex and realistic. All the consumable medical items are a part of it. A lot of these don’t even restore any HP. They just let you shrug off some of the negative status effects.

Various painkillers can help with Pain, Intoxication, and Contusion, while sometimes dehydrating your character. Bandages can prevent Blood Loss, and splints can remove the Fracture effect. Surgical kits can also heal Fractured or destroyed body parts, while the standard medical kits restore your HP and remove various ailments. Grizzly First Aid Kit is the best medical item that you can currently find in the game. We recommend having one on you at all times if you have enough currency to afford them. Just remember that applying these medical supplies is not instant – make sure that you’re in a safe spot when you’re using them.  

Realism in Escape from Tarkov

The developers take a lot of pride in the amount of realism that’s present in this game – they often compare it to the Arma series. It means that a player used to some of the more mainstream shooters like Call of Duty, CS: GO, Battlefield, or Fortnite, can be a bit surprised with the level of tactical complexity and difficulty. There are some major quality of life “downgrades” that you’ll have to get used to for the sake of realism.

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Some of the examples are: using any healing items takes time to do it, if you fracture one of your arms, you will reload and search slower, a leg that’s badly hurt will slow down your movement, and these are just some of the examples. The complex systems apply to ballistics, movement, durability, damage, and health.  


Ballistics in Escape from Tarkov is designed slightly different than in most other shooters. Instead of providing a simple % damage reduction, the interaction between armor and bullet plays out much more like in real life. The shot will go through and inflict massive damage, or it will bounce off, merely leaving a scrape. We’re not going to bring up all the armor items and ammo types, because that would be too much raw data. Just remember that there’s always a trade-off. The lighter ammo is often more accurate and causes less recoil. That’s why you shouldn’t always use the heavy armor-piercing rounds.  

Besides the type and class of armor, weapons, and ammunition, there are more factors at play here. The distance between characters is critical, as the bullets are affected by air friction and gravity. Moreover, the shots can ricochet or penetrate various objects (including the target’s body parts – for example, a single bullet can go through the enemy’s arm and thorax).

Outside the ammo, armor, and all the other factors that we just talked about, the damage dealt by a bullet is affected by the body part that it hits. There are five major zones that will act slightly differently upon being damaged: Head/Thorax, Right Arm, Left Arm, Stomach, and Legs. Most of these parts can be Fractured, inflicting some negative effects.

Health and damage

If your head or thorax takes too much damage, you will die instantly. You should aim for these parts for the most lethal shots. They are the only ones that can’t get fractured but destroying results in a kill. Getting hit in the arms is less deadly, but it will cause some major impediments. A fractured arm decreases the speed with which you reload and search containers (67% slower reloading and 50% slower searching for the right arm, 50%, and 67% for the left arm). Destroying one of your arms will deal additional 0.7x damage taken, distributed over your remaining body parts.

Fracturing your stomach will in rapid dehydration and energy loss. Destroying it doesn’t cause instant death, but it deals a massive amount of damage (1.5x damage taken) to your remaining body parts. Finally, fracturing your legs will result in decreased movement speed (45% for each leg) and reduced jump height. Destroying one of your legs will deal the exact amount of damage taken to your other body parts.

Status Effects

Receiving damage from other players or NPCs, as well as interacting with the game’s hostile environment, can apply various status effects to your character.

Blood Loss – an open wound that deals damage over time, based on the amount of affected body parts.

Fresh Wound – an injury that has been taken care of. It can cause Blood Loss again, after taking damage, jumping, or sprinting.

Fracture – a significant injury to a specific body part.

Pain – limits vision.

Contusion – weakens your senses and muffles the audio.    

Tremor – a shaking screen – it’s caused by a Pain that you ignore for a long time.

Tunnel Vision – the screen pulses between the standard and narrower visual field.

On Painkillers – ignores Pain and Fractures, increases color contrast.

Dehydration and Hard Dehydration – damage over time, depending on the Dehydration level.

Fatigue/Hard Fatigue – 20% slow to all actions and damage over time (only during Hard Fatigue).

Stun – replaces all the game audio with a ringing sound.

Flash – takes away your vision.


Escape from Tarkov features three paces of moving: walking, sprinting, and slow walking.

Walking – the most standard, default way of moving. It can be slowed down by armor that you’re wearing.

Sprinting – the fastest way of moving. It depletes your stamina and requires resting after some time. If you don’t do that, you will suffer from Fatigue.

Slow Walking – a fundamental mechanic in Escape from Tarkov. It’s the method that generates the least amount of noise and allows you to sneak up on other players or Scavs. Learning when to use it is a really important skill in EFT.

Beyond that, players can use side stepping and sliding.

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Learning Escape from Tarkov

There’s a lot to grasp as a newbie member of Escape from Tarkov community. Learning to use all the weapons and playing around every important mechanic takes quite a long time. The same goes for unlocking and learning the whole map. That being said - if you have what it takes – it’s definitely worth the effort. Not many games can offer such an interesting progression system and the combat realism that EFT provides. We hope that thanks to our guide and tips you found some aspects of the game easier to understand. 

Take your time, explore all the aspects of the game, and don’t get attached to your gear when you start getting into the online raids. The faster you enter, the better – there are tons of things to learn in EFT. Moreover, the developers aren’t slowing down! They keep introducing new updates to the game and adding new content (weapons, skills, and mechanics). If you like a real thrill of adrenaline while playing an online game – check out Escape from Tarkov! The game got out of alpha a few years ago. It still technically is in the closed beta, but it's available to play, so you can easily access it and join the playerbase.

If you're interested in more content about this and many other popular online FPS and different genre games, make sure to visit and follow our site, choose a page that you may like and read some guides as well as articles. Besides the blog, make sure to browse the offers posted on the website - you can add some power to your account by buying EFT Roubles with just a single click! 


Can you drive vehicles in escape from tarkov?

Sadly, it's not possible. You can only travel on foot, by walking, running or slow-walking. Walk is the standard transport method. Run is faster, but as you're quick, you're also loud and easier to find, at the same time it consumes Stamina. Slow-walk reduces your speed, it allows you to quietly sneak up to your enemies though. 

How to deal more damage in eft?

To make your bullets deal more damage, you'll have to acquire a better gun and ammo, it can work extremely well against armored opponents. Furthermore, the weapon can be modded and you can learn passive skills that empower specific gun types. 

Can i play escape from tarkov without the risk of losing my items?

If you raid as a Scav, you won't lose your main character's items even if you die. You can also store gear that you don't need to use in your personal safe, or buy an insurance and get them back even after death. 

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