Escape from Tarkov is a difficult survival game where it helps to have some knowledge before jumping into the action. If you’ve seen a livestream and think you’re ready to hop in, read some of our tips and tricks before playing. It’s easy to make simple mistakes without knowing the basics as a beginner.
Table of Contents
- Tip 1 – The Difference Between PMC and SCAVs
- Tip 2 – Using Offline Mode
- Tip 3 – Insuring Your Gear
- Tip 4 – How to Extract
- Tip 5 – When is it Day or Night?
- Tip 6 – How to Heal Injuries
- Tip 7 – What Items to Keep
- Tip 8 – Who to Sell to
- Tip 9 – Examine Items to Save Time Later
- Tip 10 – Skill System Advantages
There are two ways to play Escape from Tarkov (EFT) and one is riskier than the other. When players first get into EFT, they pick a Private Military Company joining USEC or BEAR. This is the faction your character is aligned with, despite it not having any meaning currently. Once you’re ready, you have to pick your PMC or SCAV character to go on a run.
PMC – This character goes in with whatever gear you equip from your stash. That also means if you die, you’ll lose that gear unless it’s insured. Further information about insurance in Tip 3. Lastly, PMCs have access to a secure container that can’t be looted.
SCAV – Scavengers are given random gear that can’t be edited. When entering an area, you join midway into the extract time limit after PMCs have spawned. AI-controlled SCAVs won’t attack you unless you attack a SCAV. SCAVs don’t have access to a secure container.
The idea behind SCAV runs is you’re given free gear to gather more or extract with. However, SCAVs have a cooldown timer after each run.
Offline Mode is a solo way to play Escape from Tarkov without losing any gear. If you click the next button multiple times after choosing your PMC character, the Offline Mode will appear. It’s a good way to practice against AI SCAVs and learn a map you’re not familiar with. However, you don’t gain any experience or loot regardless of whether you extract or not.
The various options let you choose the amount of AI, their difficulty level, and other options too.
If you’re worried about losing gear as a PMC, insuring your equipment is a way to counteract that. Insurance from Prapor or the Therapist makes it so your lost gear will return to you if it’s not looted by a player. It’s not an immediate return, but it gives you a fighting chance.
If an AI SCAV kills you, you’re more likely to get your gear back since they don’t loot bodies. Also, some players drop insured gear in hidden areas to make room for other equipment. This is an efficient way to keep your gear while returning with even more.
|Time to Recover||Cost|
|Prapor||26 to 36 real hours||Cheap|
|Therapist||12 to 24 real hours||Slightly More Expensive|
SCAV players are on their own because they can’t insure their gear.
One of the most important tips for your first raid is understanding how to extract. This can be a frustrating ordeal if you don’t know the area and how certain extraction points function differently.
Finding Your Extract Points
First, when you enter a raid, tapping “O” twice by default will show your extract points at the top right. Each extraction with question marks means it’s not a guaranteed extraction. If a location has question marks, it can require money, a key, or simply a light being lit. These extract points are a wild card.
PMCs Have More Extract Points
Second, if you’re a PMC, you have access to more extract points than a SCAV player. It’s worth knowing that grouped players always have some extract points in common.
Running Out of Time
Escape from Tarkov uses a time limit for every raid where you lose your gear if you don’t extract. This leads to an MIA status where your gear is forfeited but returned if insured. Any loot gotten from the raid won’t be kept.
Knowing the day and night cycle in Escape from Tarkov is important for how you’re geared. If you go into a dark raid without night vision, you’re going to have a bad time. While daylight will vary at dawn and dusk, estimated hours for the time phases are below:
Daytime from 6:00 to 22:00
Night from 22:00 to 06:00
Every limb is shown in the Health menu when clicked from your inventory. This area shows how damaged a limb is and with that information, we can figure out how to heal it. If a limb is red or slightly damaged, an AI-2 Medkit will heal the health bar up. However, other meds like bandages are required to remove negative effects like Bloodloss.
If a limb is black like my left arm in the above screenshot, it’s considered destroyed. This means it can only be healed with a CMS Kit or Surv12 Field Surgical Kit. These are rarer to find and aren’t common. However, Painkillers combat the effects of destroyed limbs if you don’t have either of the above kits.
Common meds for beginners that are sometimes worth keeping in a secure container:
- Aseptic Bandage
- AI-2 Medkit
- Immobilizing Splint
Another useful tip regarding healing in EFT is to heal your PMC after a raid. They keep whatever health, thirst, and energy they had at extraction. However, you can wait and let them passively fill back up. Certain Hideout structures speed up this regeneration rate too.
Knowing what items to keep while scavenging is one of the tougher parts of Escape from Tarkov. Over time, you’ll learn the value of items and what is worth keeping. This depends on whether you’re hunting certain items for tasks, Hideout structures, or money. However, as a beginner player, you’ll likely want to sell a lot of items to have money for what you need.
When I first started, I looted equipable gear because it was a way to finance my next raid. Whether that means guns, body armor, backpacks, etc. These pieces of gear tend to take up a lot of space, but can be worth a good amount too. So long as you sell them to the right person as explained in the next tip.
Also, small items are a good opportunity for your secure container as you won’t lose them. This makes a failed raid still profitable.
There are eight different dealers alongside the Flea Market with preferred items that they’ll buy. If you want to get the most money out of your items, be sure to sell to the right dealer. And once you hit level 5, you’ll realize that some items are more profitable on the Flea Market.
Certain dealers sell more items when upgraded through a loyalty system. This relies on completing tasks, leveling up, and buying/selling items to them. Depending on who you want to upgrade, this may affect your selling habits.
|Sell These Items to Them||Notes|
|Prapor||Ammo||Buys most items, but rarely for the highest price.|
|Therapist||Medicine, food, electronics, barter items|
|Skier||Weapon mods, backpacks, and clothing.||Won’t buy all weapon mods.|
|Mechanic||Gun frames, weapon mods, ammo||Won’t buy all weapon mods.|
|Ragman||Clothing||Primarily for leveling, otherwise, sell to Skier.|
|Fence||Only items that others won’t buy like knives.||Buys at the lowest and sells at the highest.|
|Peacekeeper||Guns||USD currency only.|
|Jaeger||N/a||Locked until completing a quest.|
When you first start Escape from Tarkov, most items are hidden and show as an “Unknown Item”. These are identifiable by examining them in-game, in dealer inventories, and the Flea Market. Each time you examine in an item, it gives a small amount of experience and permanently identifies it. This prevents the need to examine items when you’re on a raid and everything is unknown.
Despite the unfair prices of the Fence, you can often find Unknown Items in their inventory. Until the Flea Market unlocks, this is a nice way to get ahead.
Escape from Tarkov skills passively provide major advantages depending on their level. Similar to earlier games in The Elder Scrolls franchise, you level your skills by using them. If you want to raise your Attention skill, loot more containers. If you want better recoil and reload speed with a certain gun, use that type of gun.
Beginners should know that Offline Mode doesn’t provide any experience even though it acts as if it does. Also, here are a few examples of skills and their benefits below:
- Attention – Increased looting speed and chance for better loot.
- Health – Decreased chance of fractures. Decreases energy consumption and dehydration rate. Increased health regen outside raids.
- Perception – Increases hearing distance, loot detection radius, and enhances aiming.
I hope this list of beginner tips and tricks helped prepare you for Escape from Tarkov. Comment below if you have any questions or feedback. And if you make some plays, let us know too! For more EFT tips, check out our 9 Best Flea Market Beginner Tips here.
Escape from Tarkov is available on PC by purchasing it directly from their website available here. Four founder packs are purchasable with the cheapest being $44.99.