Escape From Tarkov launched in a beta state in 2017 and since then it has worked incessantly to establish itself as one of the most challenging, unwelcoming games in history. It’s so daunting that we’ve put together a guide to answer one simple question: why is Escape From Tarkov so hard?
It’s worth highlighting that this is being written from the perspective of a player with over 1000 hours in Escape From Tarkov. To fully appreciate the sheer depth and complexity of Escape From Tarkov, it’s important to live it.
So, why is Escape From Tarkov so hard? Let’s find out.
Take Your Worst Fears and Multiply Them
Escape From Tarkov is absolutely not for the faint of heart. It’s a punishing, anxiety-inducing game that can reduce even the hardiest gamer to a blubbering wreck within just a few rounds. If there were awards for the toughest games in the world, Escape From Tarkov would be right up there, waiting to receive the trophy.
If we look at the base formula, we can start to put together a picture of why this game is just so unimaginably challenging.
Escape From Tarkov is a PvPvE extraction shooter, and it has essentially pioneered both the genre and the concept. It’s a game that sees players load into a ‘raid’ on one of several maps, tasked with fighting other players and AI opponents, looting the map clean, completing tasks, and successfully leaving the map again.
However, if a player should be killed at any point in the raid – 30 seconds in or 30 minutes in – they’ll lose everything that they brought in with them and everything that they accumulated during the raid. They’ll almost always lose any progress they made on certain quests during the raid, too. Now, let’s bear in mind that Tarkov is essentially a ‘milsim’ – it’s realistic, and that includes damage mechanics.
There’s every possibility that you could run around a map for 35 minutes, secure a massively valuable stash of loot, complete six tasks, and kill seven other players… And then, just as you’re approaching your ‘exfil’, you catch one single bullet and succumb to the darkness, losing everything.
That’s one of the main reasons why Escape From Tarkov is so hard – it can be soul-crushing.
Let’s Break Down Why Escape From Tarkov is So Hard
There are countless reasons that contribute towards Escape From Tarkov’s status as one of the most challenging games on PC.
It Doesn’t Hold Your Hand
From the moment you boot up Escape From Tarkov, you’re plunged into a world that is absolutely by no means welcoming to new players. There are no minimaps, no guidance markers, no arrows, and no navigational assistance. You’re told nothing about the maps, you don’t know where your exits are, and you don’t really know where your quest objectives can be found. It’s one of the steepest learning curves in the world of gaming.
It Needs Countless Keybinds
If you’re new to PC gaming, then unfortunately, you’ve picked a bad game to get started with. As Escape From Tarkov is so mechanically complex, there’s a need to almost use the entire keyboard to simply play the game at the most fundamental level. From checking your weapon to leaning and from healing hotkeys to stance adjustments, Escape From Tarkov is a game that’ll push your keyboard skills to their limit.
It’s Almost a Milsim
That means that Escape From Tarkov boasts hyper-realistic mechanics, from weapon and bullet physics to healing mechanics. If you get shot in the legs, you’ll be slower, if you have a shot take out your stomach, your food and water levels will deplete faster. If you’re using poor ammunition, you’ll be ineffective in combat, if you don’t have the right stance in a fight, you’ll miss your shots – it’s these kinds of things that make Escape From Tarkov so hard.
There Are Some Tough AI Opponents
At the most fundamental level, the AI opponents in the game aren’t all that threatening, but they can get lucky. There are ‘scavs’ all over the world of Tarkov, and they’re essentially local chancers with rusty, old weapons – but they can still wing a well-placed bullet your way. Outside of those basic enemies, there are intensely difficult-to-kill boss characters that roam almost every map, and they can quite literally one-tap you from a couple of hundred meters away, ending your run in an instant.
If You Can’t Manage It, You Can’t Grow
From an in-game economy system to in-raid inventory and health management, and from demanding tasks to a hideout that needs to be upgraded over time, there are many features and elements of Escape From Tarkov that must be managed for a player to be as effective as possible in the game. They’re daunting for a newcomer, as again, there’s also no way to learn everything without having some dedicated assistance in the form of a more experienced player. If you’re dying over and over again, not only will you burn through your equipment, but you’ll also never grow as a player.
Does That Answer Your Question?
So, we hope that answers the question of ‘why is Escape From Tarkov so hard’, and we hope it gives you an insight into what makes this extraction shooter particularly challenging.
Let’s not be too morbid about it, though – Escape From Tarkov is a fantastically entertaining game (when it isn’t being plagued by cheaters). It can be overwhelmingly satisfying to end a raid with lots of loot and kills, and when playing with friends, it can become a tactical dream.
Once you’ve got stuck in and learnt the ropes, you’ll find that the game becomes much more enjoyable. Don’t approach Tarkov thinking it’s a free-to-play battle royale, though. That’s a pitfall that many unwitting players find themselves falling into.
It’s a world away from a battle royale, and it’s infinitely tougher.
Escape From Tarkov is available exclusively on PC platforms and can only be purchased from EscapeFromTarkov.com.