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.

Beta notes[edit | edit source]

  • As long as Escape from Tarkov remains in its Beta state, don't get too attached to the stuff you carry. Battlestate Games periodically wipes all progress and tosses in goodies such as ingame currency to allow players to experiment with different loadouts, weapon combinations and the economy, without them having to worry about losing their progress.
  • Many of the systems in the game are not yet finished, so keep that in mind before asking why something doesn't work.

Basics[edit | edit source]

  • Escape from Tarkov aims to simulate the experience of modern combat, complete with an accurate ballistic model, health 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 on scavenging, so beyond simply shooting Scavs and other PMC operators (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.

Default key bindings[edit | edit source]

It's recommended to not change any buttons because that tends to break certain functions completely.

Basic Advanced
W - Move forward

S - Move backward

A - Move left

D - Move right

Spacebar - Jump

X - Prone, press again to return to previous stance

C - Crouch

Left Shift - Sprint/Hold Breath

Q - Quick Lean to the left

E - Quick Lean to the right

V - Take Melee Weapon

2x V - Quick Melee Attack

1 - Take Secondary Weapon

2 - Take Primary Weapon 1

3 - Take Primary Weapon 2

4/5/6/7/8/9 - Use Quickbar Slot 1/2/3/4/5/6

Mousewheel up - Increase Movement Speed

Mousewheel down - Decrease Movement Speed

Caps Lock - Walk/Change Movement Speed to Minimum, press again to return to previous speed

Left Mouse Button - Fire Weapon

Right Mouse Button - Aim Weapon

Middle Mouse Button - Free look

R - Normal Reload

2x R - Toss magazine on the ground for a Quick Reload

H - Toggle Underbarrel grenade launcher

B - Change Weapon Fire Mode

Tab - Open/Close Inventory

T - Toggle Tactical Attachment

N - Toggle NVG/Face Shield

G - Throw Grenade

F - Interact

Page Up - Increase Sight Zeroing

Page Down - Decrease Sight Zeroing

L - Examine Weapon

O - Check Raid Time

2x O - Check Raid Exits

2x Y - Communication Menu (Right Mouse Button on Gesture/Voice line to open Hotkeys, Left Mouse Button to assign one)

F1 - Mumble, Hotkey for Gestures/Voice lines

F2/F3/F4/F5/F6/F7/F8/F9/F10/F11/F12 - Hotkeys for Gestures/Voice lines

Escape - Open Game Menu/Close last opened Inventory window

Print Screen - Take Screenshot (C:\Users\YOUR_NAME\Documents\Escape from Tarkov\Screenshots)

Press Delete while the cursor is on an Item - Discard the Item

Press R while dragging an Item - Rotate the Item

Note: The Modifier Keys Left Alt and Left Ctrl can be changed, while Left Shift can't.

Hold R + Mousewheel up/Mousewheel down – Selective Reload of a specific Magazine

Hold C + Mousewheel up/Mousewheel down – Switch between 7 Stances from Standing to Crouching and vice versa

Left Shift + T – Check Chamber

Left Alt + Right Mouse Button – Switch between Sight Reticle Modes

Left Alt + A – Slow Lean to the left, press normal lean to reset

Left Alt + D – Slow Lean to the right, press normal lean to reset

Left Alt + Q – Side step to the left

Left Alt + E – Side step to the right

Left Alt + W – Over Ledge Blind Fire

Left Alt + S – Around right Corner Blind Fire

Left Alt + L – Fold/Unfold Stock

Left Alt + B – Check Weapon Fire Mode Indicator

Left Alt + T – Check Magazine and estimate remaining Ammo

Left Ctrl + T – Switch between Modes of Tactical Attachment

Left Ctrl + Right Mouse Button – Switch between Sights/Scopes

Press Left Alt + Left Mouse Button on a Gear Item – Equip Gear Item automatically in the right Gear slot

Press Left Ctrl + Left Mouse Button on an Item – Move Item to Chest Rig/Pockets/Backpack depending on the Item category

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 unarmored enemies is to shoot for centre of mass. That means, the torso. If your opponent has armor, and you don't have a high powered sniper rifle such as the RSASS, the only reliable way to kill them is by shooting their legs. The reason for this is; can effectively kill a player with only leg shots 2.the legs are completely unprotected by armor. 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.
  • Semi-automatic fire, while sometimes effective, highlights the idiosyncrasies of Tarkov's recoil system; single-taps and the first few shots of automatic fire both recoil more sharply than sustained automatic fire. For this reason (as well as the overwhelmingly increased potential for damage output, particularly against armored opponents), most high-level players rely heavily on full auto.
  • 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, short assault rifles and carbines work particularly well. In most situations, however, a standard assault rifle (preferably silenced and with a high-capacity magazine) is the best choice. Bolt-action rifles, pistols, and especially shotguns should be considered weapons best fit for desperate situations.
  • 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 and you will lose everything you brought in and looted
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