24

The Depth Is Deep

March 22, 2021 by Tim

I’ve been playing a lot of Escape from Tarkov recently. Actually, it may be more accurate to say I’ve been learning Escape from Tarkov recently. The learning curve is so steep that I don’t think I’m actually playing yet. Or at least, I’m not playing the same game as the streamers I throw on to try and learn the game. As a progression-based game, knowledge and money transform the experience as you play, so a lot of the guides that say “use this super armor and this perfect ammo” are a little useless for a brand new player surviving on scraps.

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I love the depth and complexity of the systems in Tarkov. I love the risk and reward present in the loot system. But it is an uphill climb to parse all of the information required to be successful. Memorizing the maps and extraction points. Getting comfortable with the complex control options. Movement vs noise for positioning and enemy awareness. Recognizing loot of different values. Learning about ammo, and not only what guns accept which kinds, but then the various grades of ammo and their effects. Leveling up your stats, leveling up your hideout, etc.

It’s a lot. If Call of Duty is at one end of the shooter spectrum, Tarkov is just about the polar opposite. If Call of Duty is fast food, Tarkov is a 6-course meal at a black tie establishment and you’d better take it seriously and remember which fork is for which dish.

Learning the game is no small task, either, because dying in a Tarkov raid means potentially losing any gear and equipment you brought into that raid. That right off the bat makes it a game many people can’t get on board with. But for those who enjoy the idea of big risks equating to big rewards, the exhilaration of successfully extracting a tense raid with a bag full of loot justifies the lessons painfully learned to get there. And of course, success breeds success, so once you start escaping with loot, you make money, which lets you buy better gear, which makes surviving easier. It just takes an effort to get that ball rolling.

Tarkov isn’t wholly sadistic, though. You can play the maps in offline mode, which is priceless for learning each new map. And in live matches, the maps are populated by NPC characters called Scavs. Every twenty minutes, Tarkov offers you the option to play as one of the Scavs instead of your primary character. You hop into their body in a match-in-progress, complete with whatever gear they had on them.

If you survive and extract, you get to keep everything they had, plus whatever you looted on your way out. If they die, you haven’t risked any of your own gear and hopefully you learned something. At the same time, you can’t gain experience as a Scav. So as a risk-limiting tool to learn some fundamentals and build your stash of gear, its invaluable, but there is a limit to its overall effectiveness. A part of having an easier time in the game owes to leveling up your character stats, and leveling up your contacts so you have access to more amenities.

Tarkov can be intense, and if I’m being honest, sometimes I find myself having to silently hype myself up, to get into the right mind state before I can even queue for a match. A casual game it is not, and though some streamers breeze around maps, sweeping rooms and always getting the drop on others, I am nowhere near confident enough in my skills to play that way. Slow and steady is my comfort zone, but it means playing in an eerily suspenseful stealth mode, quietly scanning every pixel for signs of an opponent. Having that quiet punctuated by the sudden, loud crack of a bullet you never saw coming can be thoroughly unsettling.

But once my heart has stopped pounding, and I’ve stopped cursing myself for making too much noise or rushing to loot before clearing the surroundings, I inevitably start feeling the itch to jump in and risk it all again for another chance at to get just a bit more acclimated.

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TheSnowedOne
TheSnowedOne
20 days ago

Tarkov is heartless to newbies. I keep trying to get into it and the learning curve is more like a cliff. I try a few times and give up in frustration.. but then you get that urge to try again.. “Maybe if I tried again.. you know – focus on one map….”

Norbert
Norbert
20 days ago

I’d love this game if there would be PvE only with NPC scavs, but I won’t spend any money on PvP, ever.
Sadly they won’t even think about making a separate PvE environment, so this game is lost for me…

Kaogen
Kaogen
20 days ago
Reply to  Norbert

They’re planning on having PvE stuff, eventually. They’re just focusing on finishing the main part of the game before doing that additional stuff.

NoxiousPluK
NoxiousPluK
20 days ago
Reply to  Norbert

If you like the idea of Tarkov, Rust might be worth checking out. Very different but a similar feel to me. And as an added bonus there are (modded) PvE servers 🙂

Dom
Dom
20 days ago
Reply to  Norbert

Well if it helps, Tarkov does NOT use any voice or text chat. (Thankfully if you ask me.)
You can FINALLY play a PvP game without the toxicity.

Last edited 20 days ago by Dom
The Schaef
The Schaef
20 days ago
Reply to  Dom

Other than the lead poisoning, you mean.

chris
chris
19 days ago
Reply to  Norbert

That’s what offline mode is for. Granted you dont take anything from them, but you can play every single map without worrying about anything.

no thanks nintendo
no thanks nintendo
20 days ago

Escape from Tarkov is still relevant?! I remember hearing about that mess several years ago, because the developer was filing false DMCA claims against streamers/YouTubers who were critical of the game.

I just assumed it had died for being so predatory, but it seems people really will buy anything. This is why we can’t have nice things. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised though, people still buy Ubisoft games even though that company is run by a family of sex pests.

GarlynSav
GarlynSav
20 days ago

I think writing off an entire company because of a few bad apples equates to being homeless. Every big company will have a large enough sample of the population that some of them are going to be bad. And some of them are going to get into positions of authority. Might as well just commit to shopping only local. And only goods that aren’t from large companies. Turn in your computer and phone cause both of those are major companies or made with parts from major companies. I’m not saying the individuals shouldn’t be held responsible, just that avoiding purchasing… Read more »

Felix
Felix
20 days ago
Reply to  GarlynSav

The issue with Tarkov seems to run a bit deeper than a few bad apples though. I remember hearing about this game the first time I think 2 years ago? And the thing that stuck most with me was that the developers are absolutely horrible towards their customers, cussing them out, making fun of them having problems and basically saying: We don’t care about you, this game is not designed to be fun Pile on that the misogynistic viewpoints they used to throw around: https://wccftech.com/escape-tarkov-interview-truly-hardcore-first-person-shooter/ Apparently the company later on said that these aren’t the official standpoints regarding women in… Read more »

Stop with the fake outrage
Stop with the fake outrage
15 days ago
Reply to  Felix

So one non native English speaker’s remark is dug up 4 years later to stir drama? If you’d ever heard Nikita (the head of the studio in all senses – his studio, his idea, his music, his concept art…) speak English, you’d see how difficult it is for him. And if you spoke Russian, you’d understand how often a lot of meaning is changed when he tries to talk in English. I heard him talk about women and children in Tarkov (in Russian), and his view was that he doesn’t want to see women and children in the game, because… Read more »

Kaogen
Kaogen
20 days ago

I don’t dispute they fucked that DMCA thing up hard, but it wasn’t “Being so predatory” it was two people they put the DMCA on.

People still have their reservations about BSG, and in particular the head guy Nikita, but its kinda hard to have most people know about that sort of thing when the population was tiny up until the end of 2019 when it blew up with the release of .12

chris
chris
19 days ago

Well the issue is this: Do you want the product or do you want the maker of a product to be a certain kind of person? We’re not arbiters of the world and this mentality of “I dont like things about you so i’m not goign to buy your stuff” is incrediblly horrific. If they’re not actively hurting you or people you care about…then why worry? Buy their stuff and live your life in peace. And yes tarkov is exploding. They have had to do several runs of massive server expansion becasue their population has had a number of insane… Read more »

Willem
Willem
20 days ago

As a first wipe player i can so relate to this . So if you ever want to hook up with another noob i would be happy to share the low level things i found usefull. In return i might leech some advice from you how to handle kids cause as a brand new that i got that challenge rolling 😀
Other players all welcome to i say !

Stefan Scicluna
Stefan Scicluna
20 days ago

Start by mastering customs first

Duane E Naulls
Duane E Naulls
19 days ago
Reply to  Tim

Have you tried the Wiggle dance? (Viva La Dirt League joke)

owen
owen
20 days ago

So, does that make DayZ the “Texas Roadhouse” of shooters? Yeah, they serve steak, but you will eventually meddle through the meal without worrying which fork is which…

Leon
Leon
20 days ago

Lol. Tophat…..

Kaogen
Kaogen
20 days ago

Its worth recognising what gear is and isn’t worth equipping, as well as the value of items on a per-cell basis. For example, you might be tempted to put on a Kolpak helmet. Don’t. Like, ever. It reduces how well you hear things, and it has the equivalent protection of wrapping your head in a marshmallow. If you need a cheap reliable helmet, always go for the green salad bowl if you’re buying at low levels. And when it comes to what loot is or isn’t worth looting, make sure you basically loot anything that fits your inventory, but sticking… Read more »

Last edited 20 days ago by Kaogen
The Schaef
The Schaef
20 days ago

So basically, John Wick 2 versus me in Valorant.

Kasaix
Kasaix
19 days ago

Are you going to start streaming games again? I love watching you and getting the chance to hang out.

Carlos Angulo
Carlos Angulo
19 days ago

I love and enjoy your work. Haven’t played Tarkov but have seen a lot of the jokes about it. Just wanted to say something interesting about your post. Don’t want to be an ass but to teach about a very common mistake or misconception. The learning curve means a graph showing the time (or effort) you spend vs ability you gain on something. A step learning curve really means that with a little time or effort you gain a lot of ability. What you really wanted to say is that Tarkov have a really shallow learning curve, meaning that you… Read more »

chris
chris
18 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Angulo

So I think you have a misunderstanding of what a learning curve is, or rather you have a DIFFERENT understanding, or perception, of one. A learning curve is TYPICALLY considered proficiency vs experience. A steep learning curve is one where the proficiency is the x-axis and the experience required is the y and each step of the x-axis has a massive jump in the y, or for each gain in proficiency you have had to consume/gain so much experience. Now, yes you CAN flip the two axis and have it the other way around which yes WOULD be a very… Read more »

Carlos Angulo
Carlos Angulo
18 days ago
Reply to  chris

You can always change the axis to interpretate it the way you want it. But the most common way to graph something is with time in the x axis. You are not wrong in what you said, but there is a lot of bibliography documenting this misinterpretation. You can make a quick google search to see it, even Wikipedia speak about it and some other sources, for example: https://freakonomics.com/podcast/misused-psychology-terms/   As always the language will always means what the people wants to transmit and what the receptor understand, this is just an example of that, just like the double negative… Read more »

Merendel
Merendel
18 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Angulo

There are alot of times where the common understanding of a phrase is at odds with a more strict analysis of what that language in the phrase means. In this case a better visualization of the common use meaning of the term vs the strict meaning would be a hill and not a mathematical graph. Climbing to the top of a 100m hill at a 50% grade is significantly harder than one at a 5% grade. You’ll be climbing the 5% much longer and cover more ground but most wont find it hard, just time consuming. Meanwhile that 50% one… Read more »

wkz
wkz
18 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Angulo

> But the most common way to graph something is with time in the x axis. I think this is where the misunderstanding comes from. If you use “learned stuff vs time” axis to measure things, then yes it is a very slow shallow curve, as there is much to learn (assuming a linear learning process) But if the axis of that graph is “learned stuff vs reward” instead, then the saying makes more sense. You need to pile on the knowledge a lot more before you get a small incremental gain in the reward (loot and gameplay) that you… Read more »

leduk
leduk
19 days ago

that kind of game is wayyy too hardcore for ppl like me.

Duane E Naulls
Duane E Naulls
19 days ago

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSMETuURtTXAksFP3iltK4sf9NlEagiUv
Just something to watch from the Kiwi guys…

WIGGLE WIGGLE!

Last edited 19 days ago by Duane E Naulls
eric
eric
19 days ago

Finnneeee I’ll try it!

Every game you talk about like this (Like rimworld, which I still play) I end up getting addicted too. So fine.

chris
chris
19 days ago

The big thing about tarkov is that it is VERY much a team-play game. The disadvatnage of being on your own is just so great when you as a newbie are playing on the same map (due to quests) as the super-advanced players that when its one of you and multiple of the super-players…it’s rough.
So, finding discords like tarkov hideout are essential to finding groupos to be with so you don’t run your quests alone, you have someone to watch your back and call out noises you may have missed

Nikademus
Nikademus
18 days ago

I just wish their customer service department wasn’t 100% useless. I might actually have given them money for the game.