Escape from Tarkov is a very niche game. Not every FPS lover will like it. Not every lover of realism will like its conventions. Not every role-playing lover will appreciate the pumping system and inventory organization. Few battle royale players may find it a good idea to go into battle with their gear in the face of losing it. However, in early 2020, something happened that few expected – TwitchDrops raised the information noise around Tarkov to such an extent that even feminists started talking about him.
Because of this, many newcomers appeared in the game, and a huge number of people around the game do not understand whether they need a game or 1600 for a piece of badly glued code on a unit is too high a price. I will try to tell you about my game experience and not so much advise beginners, but give a general idea of this game “from the inside”. If you do not want to read my entire stream of consciousness, I will give a piece of short advice in conclusion. You can immediately skip to that moment.
I’m not the best player in Tarkov. I’m not the best player at all. I play a huge number of games, and I have not achieved any high results in any of them. But I like to play. I think many people can say the same about themselves.
And besides, I still haven’t decided whether I like playing Tarkov or not. But I understood that I’m afraid I have to disagree with any opinion that I have seen, heard, or read about him.
As an example, I can cite a post that describes the principles of the game quite well, its small background, and, in general, the article looks like a well-formed opinion of a beginner. You can listen to it, but (I shield) based on it, it is impossible to form a general opinion about the game (because it contradicts my understanding of the basic principles of logic, you still heard the story about three blind elders and an elephant). Some inaccuracies in the post were pointed out to the author in the comments, and I recommend reading both the post itself and the main discussion threads.
The totality of information noise around Tarkov prompted me to write this short post, in which I will try to fully describe the personal feelings of the game from the moment of its announcement to the present day. What if it will be interesting to someone?
Tarkov was announced quite loudly. Realistic PVP shooter, full customization of weapons, beautiful tech demos, Russian developer! I am too young to understand the Stalker phenomenon in the CIS community fully. Still, my first thoughts after getting acquainted with the teasers and the concept were precisely about its development history. I did not pin any particular hopes on Tarkov, but I remembered the name just in case.
My second memory associated with the game is not tied to a date (at that time, I had lost my sense of time for a long time), but tied to the event and people – at about the same time I started watching the streams of the Iroquois and Shustrila released a video about the fact that in Tarkov added the ability to play as the Wild. I looked at the gameplay, got carried away, looked at the price of the Standard Edition and the specs of my PC at the time, and decided that I would buy this game. But after.
The third (and final) burst of Tarkov into my life occurred in early August 2019, when I had free money for an upgrade and for the game itself. By that time, I had already seen the game on the streams of Horse, Iroquois, and in a bunch of Shuss videos. I roughly imagined the goals on the map, my gameplay, and the amount of time it would take to level up.
Unfortunately, I didn’t consider the fact that I got into the stage of the late general game – there are few people, there are no newcomers at all, people either left the game before the new patch or ran for the sake of post-fires in top equipment. My friend, who was trying to teach me at least something applied in the game, immediately told me that they promise a wipe in a couple of months, and there is absolutely no point in completing quests, increasing reputation, and storing something meaningful in a cache. “Just loot and shoot, sun, loot and shoot!”
The pre-wipe event with raiders in all locations helped me a lot with eliminating one little thing – fear. Now I do not flinch so much from the clicking of bullets around me. I more willingly go towards the imminent firefight and make decisions in PVP with greater determination and speed.
All players entered the new patch with empty accounts – for some reason, even the time spent in the game was reset. Ahead was completing quests, mastering a new map, building a shelter, completely shoveling the game’s economy, a lot of fun, and thousands of little things that set my ass on fire.
But before moving on to assessing my own experience in the game, I would like to talk about one rather important topic.
People who make content about Tarkov
If I want to know something about the game, I look at the reviews. If I want to know something about the gameplay, I watch streams. Well, or recording streams. Or cutting streams. Or gameplay slices. It doesn’t matter what it’s called, and it doesn’t matter what the format is. It’s important who produces this content.
As I said, most of my knowledge about Tarkov I got from the videos and streams of the game. First of all, I paid attention to Shuss, as I was confident in his skills in FPS games. But now, having played a fairly large amount of time in the game and watching a lot of content, I can say with confidence that your skills in other games mean nothing in Tarkov. I have a good reaction thanks to CS and CoD, I know how to navigate the terrain in ArmA (and I also go hiking, but this has little to do with games), I have an idea of Microgaming in PUBG and TABG, I have experience in macro games in strategies like Supreme Commander and (God forgive me) Dota. And it was very difficult for me to compile all this in Tarkov at first. Of course, these skills helped me a lot, but I am sure that without them at first, it would have been just as difficult for me, but with experience, they would have come anyway. And now, watching new players, be it FallFire, who came to FPS from a completely different genre, or DrDisrespect, who has significant experience in shooters, I see all the same mistakes I made. I am sure that they were also made at the beginning of the journey: Shuss and WithoutAim and Pestily and all mere mortals.
And this is my first significant thesis – Tarkov has a very peculiar place. And it would help if you got used to it. The easiest way to do this is in the company of experienced people, of course, but sooner or later, you will have to go into the raid alone. And here, two universal laws work: theory and practice have nothing to do with each other, and in a stressful situation, you do not rise to the level of your expectations but descend to the level of your instincts. Any shootout with a man in Tarkov is a stressful situation. The entire design of the game is geared towards this. But as soon as you catch the pace, learn how to solve the game’s problems in practice, and cope with stress, the game will begin to bring you real pleasure.
I am not saying that after comprehending Tarkov’s Zen, it will turn into a game from which you only get pleasure because dishonest mechanics were originally incorporated into it. However, try to play comfortably for yourself and consider all the conventions of gameplay. You can reduce everything to acting around the main factor of uncertainty – other players on the map. And the safest way to learn the general patterns of high-level players’ actions is to watch streams. Above, I named the people whom I would recommend looking closely, but in general, it all depends on your preferences.
Purpose of the game
It’s time to talk about why Tarkov exists at all and what goal I pursue in the process of playing it (read, why do you need to strain the convolutions in the game at all). As sad as it sounds, it’s true. As such, there is no common goal in Tarkov. It doesn’t exist in DayZ, PUBG, War Thunder, poker, or in real life. The player himself is free to set some intermediate goals, such as “accumulate a certain amount of money”, “improve the shelter”, “complete the quest”, but at the moment, it all comes down to making money. After all, money is the main parameter of this game. Everything depends on it, which does not depend on the AI of the bots or the directness of the player’s hands. The amount of Tarkov Roubles in the cache directly affects the quantity and quality of the equipment you can take to the raid and, accordingly, the chances of emerging victorious from a fair one-on-one shootout with another player. Over time, experience decides more and more, but I have a whole diagram for a visual presentation!
Here it is worth considering only one point: equipment cost is finite, but skill is not. And this is my second thesis – the more experience in the game, the less effort you need to make to enjoy the game.
For me, the goal of the game is to enjoy the gameplay. I played quite a lot of time in DayZ, something like 250 hours in DayZ Standalone, so Tarkov’s bugs for me are vanity of vanities and all kinds of vanity. Nothing critical, nothing out of the ordinary. I enjoy playing the way I’m comfortable with people I’m comfortable with, with weapons tuned effectively in terms of gameplay, but with my aesthetic preferences in mind.
Escape from Tarov: Pros and Cons
If we speak dryly and point by point, then Tarkov is quite simple to represent in the form of a combination of pros and cons.
- Shooting. It is a fundamental mechanic in Tarkov, and it is well done. The weapon behaves realistically, parallax, anticipation, loading “three armor-piercing one tracer” into the RPK-16 drum, and a huge bunch of other little things work as it should. And everyone needs to understand this, which only adds pleasure to the process.
- Customization. At first, you don’t understand why all these mods are needed, except for the sight and the silencer, then you don’t understand why you need any handles other than the PK-2 and Fortis or CQR, and in the end, you use what you like visually. And it’s even longer to figure this out than the mechanics of shooting! The visiting card of the game.
- Mechanics. Character characteristics. NVV, thermal imagers, sights of different magnification. Cartridges with different indicators of “meat” damage and armor penetration, armor-piercing injuries, bullet fragmentation. Limb health, fractures, morphine, although this is known to the general public for the fashion Ace for Arma. Little things like jumping on the run from the right foot. Thousands of them! And all together somehow works better than Space Engineers at the start.
- Cards. There is a Factory where the distances are minimal. Everything is sharpened on CQB. There is a Forest where you can use sniper, there is a Customs, where you can avoid fire contact with players only by trying hard, there is a Decoupling, where, if you wish, you can shoot with bots and the boss. And with the players at the same time, there is a Laboratory where you can test your PvP and PvE skills. There is the Shore, on which they added both the boss and the exists on the map, but at the same time, it was still a huge empty territory with an extremely small number of points of interest … Well, there is the Reserve. For him, I can even turn on the voice, like a Goblin:
The day before yesterday, on the advice of trusted comrades, I went to a new map – Norvinsky-2 Airspace Control Center. Immediately, panting with greed, he opened the warehouses of technical equipment and climbed onto the radar. Size is my respect. The base was a real tough nut to crack. Accustomed to the harsh Squad’s everyday life, even my computer refused to boot from the first call. Together with Nikita Buyanov, they fought the problem. Sensations – ATAS. There is no comparison with the laboratory. In addition, the loot tickles CSV nicely. I went there all day. Resolutely ready for the commissioning of Tarkov streets. Many children will see manifestations of homosexuality here. Dumb children do not know that pederasty and patriotism are two different things. The map is excellent. I recommend it to everyone.
All this, as usual, is advertising.
- Performance. Everyone is talking about it. Therefore, someone will have problems with it. This is Unity.
- I see problems only in the loading time to the location, but to fix this, it is enough to buy an SSD.
- Netcode. So far, everything is just very bad.
- Cheaters. Everyone talks about it … To be honest, I have met a cheater only once during the entire game. And once I saw on the video of the Refrigerator.
- Sound. SteamAudio has been added, but a huge number of reports of bugs and shortcomings have already accumulated. But there is an opportunity to choose between the old sound and the new one. Escobar’s theorem applies.
- Axemen. Not exactly hatchets, not a problem, and not a game. And it’s not a minus, but just a kind of style. I have personal scores. In the current patch, the problem is more or less solved by the fierce restriction of the in-game market between players, but rats and campers replaced them at the exits.
- Adjacent respawns, coupled with different performances, sometimes lead to death five seconds after the start of the raid—especially the “glass-toll exit” corridor at the factory.
Overall, I can say that I got exactly what I wanted – gunporn and gunfights. I am satisfied. In the future, I hope there will be fewer bugs, more gunport, and more customization. Maybe it won’t. But I didn’t waste my pennies in vain.
If you are still wondering, “do I need this game or not?” I can answer with my friend’s words when we tried smoking mixtures in a country where smoking mixtures are allowed.
If in doubt, then don’t.
At the time of this article’s publication, Tarkov’s economic system is in early-game condition, millionaires rarely come across locations, and items for the first levels of the Vault are still being actively bought up. Now is the most convenient time to start the game, but not the most convenient to play it with full dedication – the mechanics are still being tested, the developers have not yet decided on the flea market, and the technical execution of the game and especially the server-side leaves much to be desired.
On the other hand, even now, Tarkov may well provide an exciting, adrenaline-pumping, and most importantly, original gaming experience. To do this, the Early Access game should be treated as an early access game, and not like an e-sports discipline, and not be afraid to lose everything many times and start all over again many times.
Once again, summing up: if you do not know what you will do in this game, you shouldn’t take it. If you want to shoot, then it is better to play Armu or Squad. If you want to touch the gunport, then at least wait for the release.
If you love vibe Daze, Armagh, Battle Royals, Squad, Doom, hardcore CoD4 servers and have a sense of humor about absurdly horrible situations. Then this game may well suit you.
And if you are sure that you will like it here, you do not ask yourself such stupid questions.