Many players in Escape From Tarkov would say at one point or another, they were put into a situation where there were only two possible outcomes. If they do “A”, then “X” would happen. Or, if they do “B”, then “Y” would occur. These two possible outcomes have been described by many as “coinflips”; situations where your knowledge, skill, equipment; none of that matters in the situation you find yourself in. The game is ultimately going to randomly decide if you win this engagement or not. And I’ll be brutally honest and say I find that notion extremely hard to believe in almost every case. Emphasis on almost. There will be moments where you feel powerless; that each decision you make isn’t turning your situation around. You try and try to do the right thing, but in the end, it feels as though the game is out to get you, and you begin to wonder why you even try to take fights, take out AI scavs, go for those bosses. It all feels... almost pointless sometimes. Well, the game isn’t doing anything in the backend that we know of to try and get you killed. This isn’t something like League of Legends that actually has those kinds of “checks” put into place for their own nefarious reasons. The coinflip in Tarkov is an idea; just that. This persona the community as a whole participates in helps them better understand the situations they are put into where they are confused. Now, I am not saying anyone is wrong for having this mentality. After all, it’s a game. If you want to say that the game actively goes out of its way to get you, that’s fine. You’re entitled to that. Just as I am to argue that this notion might not be as real as we all think it is. I have a feeling this one is going to get spicy in the comment section, so please leave your own thoughts on the matter. But all I ask is that you keep it civil and respectful please. After all, this is just a conversation. So, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to have more in the future.
Tarkov is such a complex and tumultuous game that these kinds of conversations can get muddy quickly. Especially when talking about these more lucid topics that aren’t as directly tangible as weapons, attachments, ammo, etc. But there is still plenty of merit when it comes to having these conversations in the first place. And the idea of the coin flip falls into this category. The idea that many scenarios and situations can be devolved into a 50/50 situation is incredibly interesting to me. On the one hand, the notion of having that little control in a game like Tarkov where it’s always been about control and being able to maintain the best position in whatever situation you find yourself in has been part of the gameplay loop for years now. But to say the game is made up of primarily 50/50’s feels... cheap. If I’m being brutally honest. Where’s the agency? Where is always trying, no matter how bad the situation gets? Don’t get me wrong, this game will wear you down and beat you into the ground. But I can’t remember the last time I died in Tarkov and chalked it up to the flip of a metaphorical coin. The only time where it feels the most valid are situations where both players are close to each other after rounding a corner and both are point-firing. I mentioned this in the previous video, that I will agree is a situation where you don’t know what’s about to happen. You have the laser on their head, you see their character aiming at the sky, but sometimes the game makes you fall over instead of them. So, those kinds of fights are where the coinflip idea is the most likely to feel valid. However, even those can be figured out with some thought and knowing that net code for the game is complete butts. For the sake of argument, I will at least concede this situation. Others though, I’m not so sure. But that begs the question: if there is even a single opportunity for the game to screw you over with a cheap 50/50, then is the whole game a coinflip?
It can certainly feel like it sometimes. This game... I can’t think of another online PvP game that feels as though it despises your existence more than Tarkov. Whether it’s intentional or not, whether it’s just the hardcore nature of the game. There have been many times where it feels like the game is telling me not to play it. And will go out of its way to ensure I close the game for the day swiftly and don’t look back. But is that feeling, those situations that would result in that outcome also considered coinflips? I would have to say, no, it doesn’t. This game is the epitome of layers within layers. Even if it feels unnecessary or bloated; the depth this game has facilitates these kinds of reactions and emotions. You are allowed to feel this way. And in some cases, you probably should. But to say the game is actively going out of its way, with things running in the background that you can’t see, to get you, feels a little silly. We would know by now if the game had code or any systems running that were actively trouncing the game experience for players. And I don’t mean things like cheaters, lag, or desync. I mean things like SBMM; that COD and League have in place, to maximize the time you spend in the game. Where you can literally be put on a team, and no matter what you do, still lose the game because you’ve been winning too much, so the game needs that number to go down to just the right amount where you will keep playing and not get bored because you won all your games today. And those games also do the opposite, where if you lose too much it will start putting you in games where your odds of winning are inflated so high you could intentionally feed and still win. Those systems are what define your online videogame experience as a real and true coinflip.
But, Tarkov has none of that in place. And neither will arena (at least those are my hopes BSG don’t do us dirty like that). It’s just a difficult game with shitty networking and online functions that show two different stories to two different people, so they always assume they’re right if they can’t rewatch the fight back from both perspectives. Having that knowledge and being able to see how badly the game is synched up for all parties involved can at least give a sigh of relief that the player isn’t going crazy. On your screen, you did get around that wall before you died. But on their screen, only half of your body did, which is why you fell over. Don’t get me wrong; it still sucks when it happens and is certainly frustrating to say the least. But again, the game isn’t manipulating the lobbies, the players in them, to try and give you the lowest chance of surviving the raid. Sometimes you roll through a map of nothing but Timmy’s, and sometimes your raid lasts a record breaking seven seconds for yourself. It’s just how Tarkov is. It shouldn’t be this way, but this is what we got right now. And all we can hope for is that it gets better with time. Maybe, just maybe, if arena plays well, has good net code, it could potentially be injected into Tarkov, so that the main game we all fell in love with can get the TLC it needs.
The coinflip in Tarkov is most certainly a divisive topic to those who are passionate about the idea. And while it’s perfectly okay to believe in those sorts of situations and scenarios, I think it’s important to ask questions and toy with the idea that this might not be the reality we live in. This and getting “Tarkov’d” are by-products of the game becoming larger than life. This entity, that has only gotten bigger over the years because it is such an interesting case study of going against the grain; making a game that isn’t here to maximize player retention, or shell out as much money as possible before the game goes offline because it sucks and only had a years' worth of development time behind it. Tarkov is the product of a few select people who have a vision and an idea. “A battle simulator in a hazardous environment”. That was Tarkov’s original tagline when the game was being created. And what it has turned into is something I don’t think BSG thought would happen. Whether that’s for the better or worse, we will have to wait and see. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to watch this video. Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are regarding the idea of coinflips being the driving force behind the outcomes of your raids and subscribe for more videos about the higher end, conceptional ideas in the game that might be legitimate, or just created by the masses. I hope to see you in future ones.