Escape from Tarkov is an extremely brutal, unforgiving, and often times unfair game. It’s meant to be that way, for better or for worse, but it has clearly attained a massive audience, both for viewers and for players. It’s truly a one of a kind game, and there isn’t anything that comes close to the incredible immersion, complexity, depth, and damn good gameplay loop. The things I loved about games like The Division, Battlefield, DayZ, and other survival, RPG, and shooter games, are all wrapped into a fairly neat bow in Tarkov.

Yet for some reason, I can’t really sink time into the game the way I want to.

I love the gunplay. I love the inventory management. I love the stress and tension of gunfights and fighting bosses and airdrops and everything in between. The entire game is exactly something I feel I would jam endlessly. I think the issue lies deep beneath the cracks of the game’s surface. Once you really get into the nitty gritty of all the game has to offer, small problems add up so quickly, and it becomes a very in-your-face snowball that ends up a detriment to the experience.

Artificial Difficulty

The game is just way too difficult, but not in the way you may think. I definitely don’t want the game to be easier; no beginner lobbies or any of that stuff.

But when arbitrary rules on what you’re allowed to drop in a raid are different from how many of the same rig you can carry, which is also different from which bags are stackable, we start creating artificial tension points for no reason. If the goal of these changes is to combat RMT, then it’s a bad change. Changes like these don’t actually prevent RMTers from doing it. It just makes things more difficult for legit players who are trying to play the game. It is very frustrating to go into a labs run, die to a cheater, go into another, wipe some raiders, and be unable to actually take everything I want out because I’m not allowed to take two of the same random rig they happened to have.

If we want to use an example that encompasses more players: Why are rare and expensive items incurring such a massive Flea Market listing fee? Some items will only retain about 30-50% of its value after selling it, and that’s not okay. It’s hard to get excited about spiking something in a raid, getting out with it, and not being able to get most of what it’s worth afterwards. It just feels bad and I’d rather just not be able to list it at all if that’s the case.


Desync is horrendous to both watch and play with. There are too many instances where you’ll die to a player well after the fight ends, or a player swung on you and you didn’t even see them. Its supposed to be a tactical shooter, but there are so many situations where the best “tactic” is to hard rush around a corner, hold down left click, and hope you were desync’d enough where you had a head start to put them down before they got you.

That isn’t fun.

I’m all for offensive play. I think there should be ways to enable as many playstyles as possible, especially in a game as vast and as dynamic as this. Desync knocks out all but two playstyles: hyper-aggression and ratting. Rats have to hope that they don’t get swung on, and Aggro players have to hope they don’t force their way into the wrong corner and get domed by a rat.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with either playstyle, but when you’re basically pigeonholed into them because of issues outside of the games intended mechanics, it doesn’t feel great. I’m only into my third wipe, but many players who have been playing much longer than I have talked about this wipe being the worst it’s ever been for desync.

Enemy AI

I’m on Shoreline, lining up a shot on what I thought was a Scav, about 100 meters away. I take my time and settle in, knowing that there are no players around me and I’m pretty safe.

Or so I thought.

Turns out it was a guard for Sanitar. He turns around 180 degrees, and during the turn, I immediately get 1 shot from over 100 meters away.


So, the couterplay to that is to be quicker with my identification of the guard and quickly readjust, while also taking into account their range. While that is correct, I pose the question: should it be that way? Is the best counterplay to Killa to stunlock him before he one taps you? Is the best counterplay to the new Rogue bosses to hide in a room and let them run to you so they can clip through the door before opening it and you get a head start on potential headshots? Should AI Scavs be powerful enough to potentially 2 tap you in the dark, with no light, through bushes, while you can’t even see them?

The AI in this game simply does not play by the rules, and while they don’t necessarily have to, it would be very nice if they gave you the means to level the playing field without actually making them easier. If you want them to be hard, that’s totally fine, but having them shoot through the keyhole on a door isn’t exactly making them difficult. That’s just bad AI design.

All of this said, I am enjoying the wipe. I’m doing more things solo than I ever have, and there’s always so much more to learn. The game is great, but these three things have kept me from truly becoming encapsulated with the franchise, and I hope fixes to them come soon.

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