Escape from Tarkov is an intense and complex first-person shooter with survival horror elements. With its steep learning curve, Tarkov can be an overwhelming experience for new players. This comprehensive guide aims to teach newcomers everything they need to know to get started and find their footing in Tarkov’s cutthroat world.
The first decision you’ll make is choosing between the BEAR or USEC factions. This determines your starting gear, clothing options, and a minor gameplay impact on the Lighthouse map.
BEAR players have a harder time dealing with the Rogue AI forces on Lighthouse. Other than that, differences are minimal and come down to aesthetic preference. Pick the side that you like the look and sound of more. Just note your faction choice is permanent until a full wipe!
Your stash inventory has tabs for checking overall stats, medical status, skills progress, tasks, and the main gear screen. Pay attention to your weight in the bottom left, as going over 35 kg will encumber you.
Keep an eye on the hydration and energy meters. Run them dry and you’ll start taking constant health damage! Make sure to eat, drink, and take meds as needed.
Success and survival in Tarkov comes down to two equipment factors - your armor and your ammo. Higher caliber ammo has increased penetration, letting it pierce higher class armor.
Wear the most protective armor you can afford and equip ammo that can penetrate class 4 or 5 armor. Aim for headshots when possible, as they bypass armor entirely!
Some beginner loadout examples:
Tarkov features a complex medical system. Each body part has individual HP and injuries impair your abilities. Losing a leg prevents sprinting, while losing an arm hurts aim.
Blacked out limbs spread damage to other body parts. Prioritize surgically fixing them with medical kits. Bandages stop light and heavy bleeds. Splints mend fractures.
Manage your med supplies efficiently. Inspect kits to learn the number of uses and plan accordingly. With good medicine skills, you’ll survive far longer!
Buy, sell, and complete quests for the various traders to increase your reputation and unlock better gear. Get all traders to maximum loyalty for big discounts!
Prapor and Therapist are good starters since they sell basic firearms, meds, and armor. Peacekeeper offers weapon mods and higher tier ammo.
Sell items only to the trader that pays top dollar for them. Check the flea market value if unsure what something’s worth.
The Hideout is an instanced area where you can build facilities to unlock bonuses:
Prioritize upgrades that improve quality of life, like stash size. Come back to optimize profit later.
PMC raids are played with your persistent character and main loot. Death results in losing all non-secured gear.
Scavs let you spawn into ongoing raids with random gear to loot leftover items. Killing other scavs is penalized, while cooperating is rewarded.
Try alternating PMC and scav runs. Use PMC for quests and fighting. Scav to make money and take a break from risking gear.
Level Strength and Endurance first for increased movement speed and quicker stamina recovery. This affects almost all combat and mobility.
Scale other skills naturally through normal play. Don't obsessively grind them, as there are diminishing returns preventing power leveling.
Check a map guide to learn all possible extraction points before entering a raid. Locate the extractions so you don't get cornered when trying to exfiltrate.
Escape From Tarkov doesn't display extraction locations in-game. Have the Tarkov maps open on a second monitor or tablet.
Scav bosses, Raiders, and Rogues are deadly AI foes with superior firepower and aimbot accuracy. Avoid or approach with caution.
Utilize tactics like holding tight angles where only your head is exposed or sniping from long range cover. These enemies are no joke!
Looting valuable items and selling them on the flea market is the key to making bank. Focus on maps like Lighthouse and Streets that are dense with tech spawns and rare loot.
Small items like gold chains and bitcoin make more money than guns and armor from killed players. Learn what sells well and prioritize the most profitable items.
With these tips, you now have the fundamental knowledge to thrive as a new Tarkov player. Patience and practice will soon turn you into a seasoned scav hunter. Gear up, load in, and try not to let the post-raid stress get to you. Good luck out there!