Escape from Tarkov's hardcore mechanics and steep learning curve scare away many newcomers. Yet one of the first skills aspiring PMCs must master is learning the extraction points strewn across Tarkov's war-torn landscape. Failure to exfiltrate before your MIA status expires means losing all hard-earned loot and progress from that run.
This guide will delve deep into the ins and outs of extraction mechanics so you can focus on surviving firefights and securing phat lewtz.
The most basic premise in EFT is simple: when you spawn into a raid, a timer starts counting down. You must reach one of the designated extraction points before that timer hits zero, otherwise you will lose everything and retain only what you shoved up your Secure Container.
The timer varies based on map, but generally lasts between 30-60 minutes. That may seem generous for smaller maps like Factory, but crossing expansive locales like Woods or Shoreline can quickly eat up the clock if you don't plan ahead.
Open your in-game map with the O key to view the raid timer and your available extractions. I suggest printing out maps from Map Genie or the EFT Wiki until you have a strong spatial memory of exits. We'll cover extraction types momentarily.
While this guide focuses on PMC extractions, Scavs have their own unique extracts separate from PMCs. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes not.
Learn the possible Scav exfiltration points just as thoroughly - nothing hurts worse than assumed an exit was universal only to find it locked as a dirty Scav. Some helpful tricks include looking for the green flares marking active Scav extractions and memorizing extractions unique to each faction.
There are two major categories of extractions in EFT: guaranteed and potential.
Guaranteed extractions will always be present and usable every raid. Once you enter the zone, your PMC will begin the extraction animation and conclude the raid. These serve as reliable, fixed exit points.
Potential extractions may or may not be active depending on unknown factors. Sometimes they show green smoke when available, other times you won't know until arriving at their location. Some potential exfils require money, keys, or other conditions to activate.
Learn which extraction belongs to which category through repeated experience. Don't assume because an extraction worked once that it's guaranteed forever - that will eventually burn you.
Extricating early nets you a smaller chance at loot, but guarantees you retain what you found. Pushing to the end risks losing everything, but maximizes potential earnings.
Some tactical factors to consider when planning your extraction include:
Learn when to be bold and when to extract safely. Greed kills many PMCs annually!
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of studying maps to learn extraction points. Burn maps from Map Genie, the Wiki, and community resources into your mind. Seriously, print them out!
Why is this so critical? Because map knowledge enables you to:
It may feel like a chore, but nothing will boost your extraction expertise and survivability faster than grinding maps. Make it a goal to learn a new map every day or two - with 12+ maps in rotation, before long you'll be a navigation expert.
Labs remains the only map not following the classic extraction rules. Rather than fixed extraction zones, every single Labs exit requires completing some secondary objective first.
You may need to turn on power, swipe a keycard, flip a switch, or meet other conditions before extracting. Some exits are further limited by backpack size, so ditch that Pilgrim bag if you want to live!
This added complexity provides a glimpse into the future of extractions in Tarkov. The developers want to make exiting more immersive and tie it into primary raid objectives. Expect new maps to continually raise the bar and force adaptive thinking regarding extractions.
For now, be absolutely sure you understand Labs' many exits before risking its high-stakes environment.
Extracting in Escape from Tarkov demands you balance greed and caution. But armed with extraction point knowledge, you can weight those risks appropriately and exfiltrate like a pro. Study your maps, learn the mechanics, and outsmart your enemies by vanishing into thin air after a long and lucrative raid.
Now get out there, avoid those extract campers, and escape with the best loot Tarkov has to offer! Just don't forget to check your corners...