Is Escape From Tarkov worth playing in 2020?
It’s debatable whether the game will ever have a full release or forever remain in “Open beta”. Even in the beta state, Escape From Tarkov has seen lots of well-deserved attention over the past 3 years. What has happened in the past three years that makes Escape From Tarkov worth playing in 2020? To answer this question, I will give you an insight on some of the changes I experienced since 2017.
Servers as I remember them
I bought Escape From Tarkov in 2017, fully knowing that I won’t be playing on lower than 200 ping because of the international latency from South Africa to Europe. However, this did not bother me because I had already bought into the idea of a survival game where the stakes are high and the learning curve is quite extreme compared to other games. With the game already being beyond challenging to new players, I had to deal with some rubber banding and high ping. Still, I was not discouraged, I kept grinding and learning to play with what I have.
Servers in 2020
A lot has changed since 2017, the team over at Battlestate games went on a frenzy to deploy new servers to all corners of the earth, yes even South Africa. Finally, after three years I could experience the game without 200 ms ping. I finally felt as if the battlefield is equal, and success depends on my skill from here on forward. The server rollouts were impressive, and it surely lured lots of new players to the game, and even rekindled relationships with players that had already quit because they had no local servers.
Healing as I remember it
Escape From Tarkov has no tutorial, so I did not expect any hand holding and I knew I had to learn the game by using a combination of forum knowledge and experience. I clearly remember my first raid, I played the Shoreline map, and I got shot by a scav, I killed him but I was bleeding out quickly. I didn’t really pay too much attention to the UI telling me that I am bleeding because there was so much going on to experience as a new player. Eventually my screen became all bloody and dizzy, shortly after that my screen faded to black. I bled out. Next time I knew I had to use bandages to prevent deaths like that, and as I came to grips with what seemed like obvious mechanics, I became a better player. I have to mention there was no animation to any of the healing items. You could spam painkillers as you head into a firefight and heal up during intense battles.
Healing in 2020
The biggest change you would notice coming back to Escape From Tarkov is that healing became a strategic component of your gameplay experience. No longer able to pop painkillers like Skittles, there are now animations for every healing item in the game and some take longer than others. When you get hurt in a gunfight, you’ll have to retreat and find a safe spot to heal up if you want to re-engage your enemies. They have also added a fracture status effect, giving weapons the ability to fracture a character’s bones. You cannot simply patch up the fracture with a bandage, you’d have to use a splint, after the splint has been applied it will take some time inside the raid to fully heal, preventing you from sprinting like nothing happened.
The healing animations are extremely high quality and a treat to watch. To make things even more interesting, you no longer heal after you successfully extract from a raid. If you extract from the raid by the skin of your teeth, you will have to either pay Therapist a fee outside of the raid, use medical supplies to heal up or wait a couple of minutes to heal. You can also choose to enter the next raid wounded, but I would not recommend that.
Guns and modifications as I remember them
When I played the game back in 2017, I never felt that there was a lack in variety between the weapons at your disposal. I got used to one gun and tried playing with that gun to give me some confidence. The same goes for the modifications you could attach to your weapons. If you prefer US type weapons like the M4A1 Escape From Tarkov has you covered, and if you prefer Russian type weapons like iconic AK-47, you are once again in excellent hands.
Guns and modifications in 2020
Returning to Escape From Tarkov, the amount of new weapons and modifications overwhelmed me. You still have your standard guns, which everyone is familiar with, but they have added so many other guns that every player’s play style will be accommodated. If you prefer close quarter fights, why not get yourself the MP-7 or get yourself a DMR if you prefer long range battles.
Maps as I remember them
When I started playing, I had access to 4 maps, namely: Woods, Customs, Shoreline and Factory. As a new player at the time I thought to myself, let me learn one map first, get good on that map by learning the spawns and where the hotspots were. The map I became good at was Customs, this was basically the only map I played for a couple of months straight. After I got some confidence in the game, I slowly started exploring the other maps the game has to offer. The 4 maps had offered good variety in map size so it was enough to keep the players happy.
Maps in 2020
Battlestate did not mess around with maps, you now have access to the following maps:
That is 3 brand new maps; Interchange, Reserve and Labs. Not to mention the work and expansion they had done on the existing maps. They expanded Shoreline and Customs and they completely revamped the lighting on the Interchange map. If you jump into Escape From Tarkov in 2020, you won’t have to worry about getting bored with a limited amount of maps. Even more exciting, the Battlestate team have recently announced a brand new map, giving players 8 highly detailed maps to choose from.
Quests as I remember them
When I started playing Escape From Tarkov, I did not pay too much attention to completing the quests, I was too busy trying to get to the grips with the core of the game. I remember when you accepted the collection type quests, you had to keep all those items stashed away in your inventory outside of the raid. If you had the Standard Edition of the game like me at the time, this was annoying because you would almost always be out of space in your inventory forcing you to sell off items you would otherwise have kept.
Quests in 2020
I only recently started seeing the value of the quests, they give you large chunks of experience that will help you unlock the different trader levels. One of the most noticeable changes with regards to the quests is that you can turn in collection quest items as you find them, you no longer have to have them all before turning them to complete a quest. The quest line takes you across all the maps and nudges you to experience everything Escape From Tarkov has to offer. They added multiple new traders to Escape From Tarkov, opening up a whole new line of quests for players to complete.
Miscellaneous and survival items as I remember them
As you loot your way through a map in Escape From Tarkov your inventory will quickly fill with random items such screwdrivers, duct tape and even lighters. These items always got sold to the traders as they did not really serve a purpose. The same went for food and drink items in the game. Your hunger and thirst levels never really depleted before you exit a raid, rendering those mechanics a bit useless.
Miscellaneous and survival items in 2020
The Battlestate team introduced an amazing feature called the Hideout. You now have a hideout where you can craft ammo, medical supplies and even weapons. Suddenly all that junk that you have been collecting finally serves an actual purpose. You use them to either upgrade some workstations in your hideout or you’d use them as crafting items at the workstations. This added meaning behind looting every box in a raid and not only looking for PvP action all the time. You will now have to keep an eye on your energy and hydration levels during and after a raid. You do not want to be in a situation where you start the raid with an empty stomach. Drinking and eating finally serves a purpose and adds another layer of complexity to Escape From Tarkov.
The Flea market
This was probably one of the biggest changes to Escape From Tarkov. Usually you will get the same price for items you find in raids when selling them to traders. With the introduction of the flea market you get to determine the price for your rare finds, enabling you to become filthy rich. What makes the flea market great is you can also buy ammo, weapons and even keys to fast track your progress. This creates a whole other layer of engagement to Escape From Tarkov, it is quite thrilling to play the market. It reminded me of all the hours I spent in World of Warcraft’s Auction house.
Recently there has been a cosmetic addition to Escape From Tarkov. All the PMC characters no longer have to look the same. You too can now stand out from the scav crowd and unlike most games with cosmetic items, these items are bought with your hard earned in game Roubles. The higher your level and reputation with the cosmetic trader, Ragman, the more variety you’ll be able to choose from.
So is Escape From Tarkov worth playing in 2020?
Coming back to the game almost three years later, I can tell you with confidence the answer is yes. Just to see all the new content they have added, an active community and a juicy roadmap, Escape From Tarkov is going to be around for a long time to come and I am looking forward to the journey.