How to Play Guide for Escape from Tarkov

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This page covers the basics of combat and survival in Escape from Tarkov.

Alpha notes[edit | edit source]

  • As long as Escape from Tarkov remains in Alpha, do not get too attached to the stuff you carry. Battlestate Games periodically wipes all progress and tosses in goodies and roubles to allow players to experiment with different loadouts, weapon combinations, the economy, without them having to worry about losing their progress. If you get killed, it's not like you lost anything permanent, no?
  • Many of the systems underlying the game are not yet finished (because it's an alpha), so keep that in mind before asking why some character skills don't work. That said, ad rem.

Basics[edit | edit source]

  • Escape from Tarkov aims to simulate the experience of modern combat, complete with an accurate ballistic model, wound system, and incredibly robust weapon modification that allows you to outfit yourself anywhere from a professional soldier to a mall ninja. In a nutshell, it's a lot more ArmA than Counter-Strike.
  • The economy relies (or will rely, once it's properly initialized post-alpha) on scavenging, so beyond simply shooting scavs and other players, you need to pay attention to loot anything you can find. Any raid where you come back in the black - with a new gun, mod, or a bag o' loot - is a good one.
  • As such, it's a lot more important to come back alive and with loot, rather than killing everyone.
  • Here are the current default key bindings:
Basic Advanced

Shift – Sprint

C – Crouch

Hold C + Mouse Wheel – Slowly Changes Stance by going up/down

X – Prone

F – Interact

W, A, S ,D – Movement keys

Q, E – Lean left and right respectively

Spacebar – Jump

Tab – Inventory

Left Mouse – Fire Weapon

Right Mouse – Aim Down Sights

R – Reload (requires loaded magazines in your rig or pockets; replaces the magazine in the rifle with a fresh one, placing the old one in the rig unless so space is available in advance, then it will be dropped on ground)

Double Tap R – Quick Reload (magazine drops to the ground instead of the rig)

T – Switch Tactical attachment On/Off

O – Check Raid Timer

L – Look at Weapon

B – Change Firing Modes

V – Knife (Right click for Stab and Left Click for Slash)

Hold R + Mouse Wheel - allows to pick chosen magazine/ammo to reload from all available ones.

CTRL + T – Cycle modes (Either Flash Light, Laser or IR laser/searchlight)

SHIFT + T – Chamber Check

ALT + T – Magazine check (To check how much ammo you have left) (Look at right bottom side)

ALT + A/D – Incremental Lean. Must manually lean back as it does not reset

ALT + W/S – Incremental height stance change

ALT + Right Mouse – Switch to Alternate Optics

G – Quick Throw Grenade

ALT + B – Check Firing Indicator

Double Tap V – Quick Knife Slash

Movement[edit | edit source]

  • The game works a little different, with the movement model trying to mimic the actual performance of a soldier encumbered with gear and weapons. You have three postures to choose from: Standing, crouched, and prone, each with a different application.
    • Standing allows you to move fast, but also makes you more visible at range. However, in the right circumstances, it can help you stay concealed from the enemy
    • Crouching balances a low profile and reasonable movement speed and is excellent for taking advantage of most cover.
    • Prone makes you almost immobile, but gives you excellent accuracy and greatly reduced silhouette.
  • Movement is more than modes of speed. It also includes the way you move through the levels. Due to the way combat is handled, think less like a player and more like a soldier. Avoid open spaces, move against walls to cover one of your flanks at all times, try to move slowly when in cover to minimize the noise generated, and avoid glass or other loud materials. Giving away your position too early is a good way to get capped.
  • On that note, avoid being obvious. If you enter a corridor, pause for a second while moving through it to confuse whomever might be waiting for you on the other side, or choose another exit. Leading a shot is surprisingly easy.
  • The human eye spots movement a lot better than changes in patterns. Keep that in mind while pondering whether to switch up your position.

Spotting[edit | edit source]

  • As player and character names are not displayed, nor is there any other indicator that you have an enemy nearby, you need to rely on your hearing and sight. A good surround set up or set of headphones helps in paying attention to what goes on around you. You can hear your enemy and locate him, more or less, based purely on sound cues they generate: Their footsteps most importantly.
  • Flashlights are a dead giveaway, primarily for scavs. Use them to pin-point their location and wait for them to emerge. Of course, if you have a flashlight, it's a dead giveaway. Toggle it off with T.
  • Similarly, observation is the key to surviving in Norvinsk. Scope out an area you want to enter before hand, with your weapon's scope. The generous time limit allows you to take it slow.

Firefights[edit | edit source]

  • Fast and brutal, just like they are in real life. Each of the six body parts has its own life bar and status effects, with damage depending on the kind of weapon used and the location hit.
  • While headshots are incredibly effective at putting down the targets, your best bet of stopping other enemies is to shoot center mass. That means, the torso. In the time you line up the shot (especially with the delay it takes to bring up your weapon and line it up with the target), the other operator can - and will - shoot you several times.
  • Do not spray and pray. Not only is it wasteful, it's also the most sub-optimal way to kill people in the field. Semi-automatic, precise shots work best nearly every time (unless you're cornered and about to get shot in the face, then go wild, it's not like you'll take your stuff home otherwise).
  • Whenever you have a spare moment, remove your magazine to inventory, unload a mag in your tactical rig, and top up the main one. Useful way to stay with a full mag.

Loadouts[edit | edit source]

  • Choosing the load out is mission specific. For maps with largely confined spaces, shotguns work well, as do carbines and short assault rifles. In open maps, pick a rifle with better range and stopping power - a custom, long assault rifle or even sniper rifle is a good choice.
  • Make sure to fill your rig with spare magazines and bring a couple for your sidearm in your pockets. You don't want to be left without ammunition.
  • Most importantly, while the modification system allows you to go total gun nut and make yourself a mall ninja's dream, an M4 with enough bells and whistles to become a one-man orchestra, don't. Remember, less is more, and most of the time, a holographic sight, foregrip, and lightweight stock are enough to make you lethal. That and you'll be laughed at by the guy who plugs you in the head with a Tokarev while you fiddle with all the laser sights, flashlights, and optics you slapped on it.
  • Consider mounting a flash hider or silencer. As mentioned above, being loud gets people killed. Especially in Tarkov.

Raids[edit | edit source]

  • The only game mode currently available, raids pit you against enemy players (online) and scavengers (online and offline with PvE enabled). These time-limited excursions into the currently available maps allow you to gather loot to exchange for money and face-off with other players.
  • Coordinating with other players helps contain the scavengers. Of course, if it's a casual hookup, you're best served by shooting other players in the face. Since there's no leaderboards, keep track of the kill count. Eliminating every other player gives you the ability to loot the area at your leisure.
  • Disconnecting from a raid will leave your character stranded (in alpha offline this will typically just rollback anything you gathered and return to its pre-raid state).