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.
In Escape From Tarkov, everything has a price. Like we detail in the Absolute Basics guide, dying means losing everything you have on you. Luckily the Russian developers implemented a way for you to get some items into your stash without actually risking anything. As a Scav, you’re taking over a randomly geared A.I. instead of playing as your main characters (PMC). Anything you manage to take out of a raid can be transferred directly to your main stash. And more importantly, if you die, you lose nothing.
So, how do you optimize a Scav raid? That depends entirely on the goal you set for yourself. You can only do a Scav raid approximately every 20 minutes so having a goal is pretty important. Here’s some basic objectives you can set for yourself during a Scav raid. Also, don’t be afraid to mix and match! But most importantly, be flexible; as a scav you are almost always under-geared while being randomly spawned in somewhere. Thinking on your feet is the way to go!
Explore, examine & extract
Depending on how many of our extremely helpful guides you’ve read, exploring the (as of writing) 7 distinct maps in Tarkov is a must. There’s two ways of doing that. You can always load up a raid in offline mode, which just spawns you in a client-hosted match. You can decide how much A.I. (if any) there is and when you’re done, you just leave the match. But here’s a downside: even if you manage to survive, you obviously don’t get to keep the gear you’ve gathered or XP you’ve earned through the offline raid.
So for starters, using your Scav raid as a way to learn the maps is very useful. You only have to worry about enemy PMC’s and the occasional other player scav; all the other A.I. Scavs are friendly. They provide a fleshy shield to hide behind in a firefight. PMC’s will give away their location by shooting them. And most importantly, you can study them in their natural habitat.
So as a Scav, explore a map, examine spawn patterns, get a feel of the flow of the map, and learn what extraction is where. The best part is, if you manage to extract, you’ve just earned yourself at least a couple thousand roubles. And if you picked up some stuff along the way, it’s two birds with one stone!
Leisure loadout looting
You could however also focus entirely on raiding gear with your Scav. As a matter of fact, sometimes you get lucky and spawn with an advanced weapon, maybe even a rare key in your backpack. Get that Adidas-wearing ass to an extraction! That’s a free loadout and potentially some additional money right there.
If you do spawn with a crappy gun (which is quite likely), looting a few more weapons could be a great idea. Especially late in a raid, the map can be riddled with dead Scavs ready to be picked clean. You might even find a pristine, juiced up PMC with high-end gear. Just keep your eyes open for their killer ánd other player Scavs that will determine by your behavior that you are in fact a person and not A.I.
And speaking of Scav on Scav violence; while it’s generally frowned upon to kill fellow player Scavs, they might kill you on sight. This happens a lot, simply because having a potentially hostile Scav around is bad for business. The good ol’ wiggle (spamming ‘E’ and ‘Q’ to lean left and right) signals ‘I won’t shoot you in the back of the head’. Killing A.I. Scavs is free game. Just walk up to them and waste them for some quick loot. Do keep in mind that you are now ‘compromised’ and all Scavs in the vicinity will shoot on sight now.
Max money mission
Like we describe in our money making guide, Tarkov is fundamentally about money. If you run a regular PMC raid, you always have to invest money. You gotta bring something to protect yourself and even if you choose to hatchet run (going in ‘naked’), you’ll have to pay for meds when you inevitably die.
But not with Scav raids. Here, you get a free raid without needing to invest any money. Anything you manage to take out of a raid is yours to keep. Pro tip: Always ensure you have space in your PMC inventory before you start a Scav raid. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to play Tetris for an hour to transfer the gear from your successful Scav raid to your main stash. Not to mention you having to delete items because you can’t fit them in your stash.
PMC procurement party
Lastly for this guide, there’s one other main ‘mission’ you can set for yourself while Scavenging: making friends with the enemy. As a Scav you can only communicate in Russian, but if you manage to befriend a PMC (by wiggling for example), some options open up for you.
Developer BattleState Games implemented some extractions that require both a Scav and a PMC for it to function. Extractions like Scav Camp (Interchange), Scav Lands (Reserve) and Factory Gate (Woods) require the eternal enemies to work together to extract. Let’s be completely honest here, no one ever uses those because Tarkov usually involves all-out war, not cooperation. Yet, if you manage to extract with a friendly enemy, you’re rewarded some additional goodies.
In conclusion, there are many ways of using your Scav raid to your advantage. Like we said in the intro, it’s important to stay flexible and adjust to the situation that you’re in. Conversely, gaining XP and leveling your main character is sometimes more important than doing a quick Scav run. Whatever the case, when you feel like doing one, be sure to use them wisely! What’s your favorite use of the Scav mechanic? Let us know in the comments below.