Escape From Tarkov is one of our favorite games out there and we recommend most shooter fans to give this a try. But picking up this hardcore shooter is a daunting task for even the most dedicated gamers. In this guide series we will take you through your first hours in this game. But before we start, a small disclaimer: EFT is still in beta so even the most fundamental gameplay mechanics may be subject to change.
If there’s is one thing that you can count on in Escape From Tarkov, it’s that you’re going to get shot… A LOT. And when that dreaded notification pops up in the top left corner, you need to know what to do. In this Escape From Tarkov healing guide we will explain all the health-related status effects, along with how to fix them. Pro tip: click on the images to enlarge them so you can read what the items do exactly.
Before we go into individual wounds, let’s first dive into the ways you can die. There are seven body parts you need to understand to become an Escape From Tarkov healing pro. Each one with it’s own ‘health bar’. In the image below, you’ll see that some parts of the body are more resilient than others. All you have to know for now is that when your hitpoints hit zero on either your thorax or your head, you die.
But EFT is more intricate than that. Blacked out body parts (completely destroyed, i.e. zero hit points left) are destroyed for the rest of the raid (unless you use a surgery kit, but more on that later). When a blacked out body part receives damage, no hit points can be deducted anymore, so the damage is distributed over the rest of the body instead. Blacked out arms have a 0.7x multiplier. That means that if you receive 100 damage on your blackout out arm, 70 damage is evenly distributed over the rest of your body instead. Legs have a 1x damage distribution multiplier and your stomach 1.5x.
With that out of the way, let’s start off with the most common wound: reduced hitpoints. Whenever you take damage (regardless of the body part) you can restore HP fully. That is, if the body part is not blacked out entirely. Restoring HP can be done with one of the items seen below. Escape from Tarkov healing items have specific usage times, HP restoration, and possibly other additional effects.
But usually, it’s not just a flesh wound, and besides the actual damage you will also start to bleed. Obviously, when left untreated, you’ll eventually bleed out. This is simulated by losing health on the damaged body part. You receive 3.33 damage every 5 seconds on each limb until the wound is treated. Besides bandages, all of the HP restoring medical items heal bleeding wounds as well (except for the AI2, a.k.a. cheese). Be warned though, when a wound is bandaged, it can still tear open again and start to bleed if you jump/sprint. The ‘fresh wound’ debuff goes away after 4 minutes.
Fractures and pain management
Besides flesh wounds and general damage, bullets do all sorts of nasty stuff to you that can’t be treated with a simple bandage. For example, when getting hit in the limbs there is a chance you get a bone fracture. This not only gives you the pain status effect, but also gives you additional debuffs. Mainly, when one of your arms are fractured your aim starts to tremble and your weapons starts to sway. Aiming down sight takes longer and you lose stamina really quickly while aiming.
When you break a leg, you won’t be able to sprint anymore. And it should be obvious that when you lose your mobility, you lose ability to get into cover as quickly, resulting in more firefight losses. If you ignore the fracture, the accompanying pain will make you grunt and impair your vision. To fix a fracture you can use one of the following items (or the previously featured Grizzly First Aid Kit).
Of course, fractures aren’t the only thing to make you cry out in pain. Whenever you get hit, you almost always get the pain status effect. The pain effect not only causes grunting and groaning that gives away your position, but also messes with your vision. In Escape from Tarkov, healing is almost the most important part of your raid. Walking around without being completely healed is almost always a bad idea. So painkillers should always be part of your standard loadout.
You’ll want to make sure to keep your stomach filled as often as possible. EFT currently has 2 separate stats to indicate hunger and thirst. If you dehydrate you’ll eventually start losing health; 3.5 HP on every limb, every second. That adds up really quickly and the same damage multipliers apply here. So if you’ve got blacked out arms, dehydration damage is going to spill over into other parts of the body, eventually killing you even quicker. We should also mention that it doesn’t take very long to get dehydrated, so bring drinks for longer raids.
While on the subject of hydration, you should know that taking too much damage to your stomach is a one-way ticket to dehydration-city. If your stomach gets blacked out, you have to drink something every minute or two and it’d be best to head to the nearest exit or apply a surgery kit to it. Both surgery kits in the game can ‘repair’ blacked out body parts (except for the head and thorax), but only restore them back to 1HP. Restored body parts will have a reduced maximum HP for the rest of the raid.
Keep you stomach full but you backpack empty
Additionally, fatigue will set in when you get low on energy. This effectively means you get tired really quickly, lose stamina rapidly, and eventually start losing HP. Eating takes care of this debuff, so bring snacks! Energy is way less likely to drop to dangerous levels compared to hydration, so always prioritize hydration.
To finish this segment off, update 12.4 introduced a new overweight system. How is this a health-issue you ask? Well, if you’re overweight, stamina replenishes at a reduced speed (or not at all), with your player eventually starting to drain energy. And like we described earlier, once you’re out of energy, you start losing hit points at a rate that is hard to heal through. So besides all the health status effects, keep an eye out on your weight too.
Prioritize when healing multiple injuries
So now that you have a solid theoretical understanding of Escape from Tarkov healing basics, it is time to learn about prioritization. Simply put, it’s rare to only receive one type of debuff or status effect at once. Usually there’s multiple holes in your body that gush out blood while you try to figure out which hotkey had the bandages bound to it.
While playing EFT, sometimes it will be unclear what’s going on with your character. In this last category, we quickly dive into some more advanced status effects and how to fix them. For example, getting hit in the head and surviving (probably thanks to a helmet) gives you a contusion for 60 seconds. Certain combat stimulants (we will ignore stims for now) give you tunnel vision for a maximum of 30 seconds as a debuff. These negative effects can’t be helped and go over by themselves. Being stunned, flashed, and/or disoriented will also go away naturally. So sometimes the best strategy for certain situations is to simply wait out the debuff’s until you can
Over time, you will learn how long you can wait with bandaging a wound. For example, if you’re still in a firefight, field dressing a wound may not be a smart thing to do. But pre-popping a painkiller before starting a fight could give you the upper hand. Because even if the enemy shreds your legs, you are already high as a kite and will still be able to sprint. Experiment with all these medical items and try to decide whether healing 2 HP on your arm is really the best course of action during a firefight. And obviously, it rarely is!
Image credit: BattleState Games