EFT can have a large learning curve before players can be effective and efficient throughout a raid. Without a good knowledge behind the game, you can run around with your head blown off doing nothing.  So, to prevent that, let’s jump into a quick beginners guide to Escape From Tarkov by Battlestate Games.

From the Loading Screen

A great place to start is to head to the Character Screen to see all of the items you start off with.

The first thing you may notice is that many items are blacked out and have ??? instead of the name of the actual item. This indicates that you have yet to find these items in the game. Simply click the middle mouse button (or right click and hit reveal in the menu) to reveal these items. Once you have done that you will see all you start out with.

  • 1 – AKS-74U Assault Rifle
  • 1 – 6L20 Magazine
  • 60 – BP bullets
  • 3 – P226R Pistol
  • 6 – 9×19 P226 Magazine
  • 45 – Pst gzh bullets
  • 3 – PM Pistol
  • 6 – PM 90-93 Magazine
  • 150 – 9 BZT gzh bullets
  • 1 – ER Bayonet
  • 2 – MBSS Backpack
  • 2 – AVS Tactical Rig
  • 300,000 Roubles (In-game currency)
  • 4 – Tushonka
  • 3 – Water
  • 4 – Bandage
  • 4 – Splint
  • 4 – AI-2 (Cheese)
EFT Starting Gear

You may notice when you reveal the blacked out items, you gain a little bit of experience each time (shown in the bottom right). So, one of the best tips I got to boost your XP right away and get a better idea of what items are in the game is to go to the Trading screen and reveal all the items from each of the 7 traders. This will also help you loot in-game more efficiently because you have already examined many of the items you will find on enemies, reducing the amount of time you are standing still, looting. Along with this, make sure you navigate to the “Task” menu on Prapor and Therapist and accept your first two tasks.

First Time in Tarkov

Alright, now let’s enter Tarkov… so we can escape from it. There are two ways we can go about this, 1. Do a SCAV run or 2. Do a pistol run as PMC (there is also the third option of playing offline mode but I think it is fun to jump into a real match at right away). So, what’s the difference between a SCAV and a PMC?


PMC stands for Private Military Contractor and this is your main character. You choose what gear you want to bring into Tarkov, so if you die you will lose the items you brought (unless you buy insurance but we will get to that later). You will play as a PMC to complete tasks you have from Traders and your goal is to have the best gear for your PMC as possible.

PMCs are affiliated with one of two factions, USEC or BEAR. USEC is a faction of security from the United States that was hired by TerraGroup to guard their secret labs underneath Tarkov whereas BEAR is the Russian faction trying to get to the bottom of TerraGroup’s dealings. At this point in the game, the only difference is their clothing and whether they speak English or Russian in-game.


A SCAV on the other hand, is simply a scavenger. These are citizens of Tarkov that you can play as with a 20 minute waiting period between each SCAV run. As a SCAV, you will not use any of your own gear, instead you will be given a random set of gear. Which sometimes can be a very solid load-out like the one shown to the left, other times you will simply have a SCAV vest and a weapon.

From there, you will attempt to loot as much as possible and get out. Typically as a SCAV you will want to avoid conflict with PMCs as you will usually have much worse gear. Along with that, you will have bot SCAVs or AI SCAVs on your side that will fight PMCs or SCAVs who have engaged with them.

So, you decide what to do but here we will play our first game as a SCAV to get a good feel for what EFT is like.

Your First SCAV Run

Honestly, with your first run you will most likely have little to no success if you are playing on your own. Unless you have spent time before-hand watching streamers or videos on Youtube to understand maps, you will be moving aimlessly on the map. Whether you do your research or not, you will want a second monitor (or phone) to pull up a map with spawn points and extraction points labeled for you. This is how you will learn landmarks and extractions so you can successfully complete a raid.

One of the best maps to start playing on is Customs. Customs is a relatively simple map so it is easier to learn as well as the first tasks you get from Prapor will be on Customs.