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The Conundrum of Tarkov’s “Band-Aid Fix Mentality”

It could be better. But it also could be WAY worse.

By JirasuPublished 5 months ago 9 min read

Tarkov has gone through many different lives over the course of its development. From where it is now to where it began, it might as well be a completely different game. Visually, mechanically, and of course, how the game has been balanced overtime. Some changes were made for the better, and a general positive to the experience, while others have had some lasting negative consequences that are still prevalent. And what has happened unfortunately, is that the community has dubbed these kinds of reactive adjustments to Tarkov, “Band-Aid” fixes. Things that temporarily solve the problem that has surfaced, but don’t consider that Tarkov is such a complex game with tons of tiny intricacies, that these changes become a larger problem down the line. Essentially, Tarkov and BSG have been kicking the can down the road, as it is aptly said; problems they tried to solve many years ago, have stuck around; rearing their ugly heads when we least want them to. And it is frustrating to see this happen. But this conversation goes deeper than just identifying the problems or brainstorming ways to potentially remedy them. We need to understand why they happened in the first place. Look at some examples of Band-aid fixes and see what happened to them in the modern Tarkov we currently have. And while we certainly can come up with some alternative solutions to these problems, it ultimately is on BSG to fix these. And who knows if that is ever going to happen. But this will be an interesting conversation, nonetheless. So, if you enjoy these talks, be sure to subscribe to the channel for future conversations in the same style as this.

Like I said at the beginning, band-aid fixes are BSG’s way of quickly addressing problems they see arising in the game. These can be simple things like weapon or ammo balance, armor adjustments, anything that can be solved by adjusting numbers. Is a gun too common? Raise the price of it. Ammo too prevalent? Lessen the amount a player can buy per trader reset. These are quick and simple fixes, that for the most part, won’t have too many lasting impacts across the game. As an example, remember when the Mosin released and was 16k rubles? How it was able to one-tap anyone in the thorax? Well, now it’s much more expensive, and player thorax’s have 85 HP. So, that problem got solved. But there was a long period of time where if you wanted to be as efficient as possible, while also risking the least amount you can, going into a raid naked with a Mosin was optimal. And many people did just that. Because before, when the game was old, running into a raid with nothing but a hatchet was the safest way to risk nothing while also having the greatest opportunity to gain everything possible. “Hatchlings” as they were aptly dubbed, became a sticking problem for Tarkov and for BSG to try and combat. Melee weapons back then were very strong and could pierce helmets and kill PMCs in a single right click. Their damage was toned down eventually, and arguably the most hated change to Tarkov came to try and defeat the Hatchling army. Found in raid.

This single change has fundamentally changed Tarkov forever. We could dedicate an entire video to found in raid, and maybe we should in the future. Let me know if that sounds interesting. But to give you a shorter response, found in raid, made it so that there were conditions that needed to be met before an item could be given to traders for quests or sold on the flea market. Time and EXP thresholds were put in place to prevent people from finding a valuable item and immediately heading to extract with it. Dying automatically lost its found in raid status, which incentivized players to avoid all forms of PvP and do everything in their power to get out of raids. And to this day, found in raid still to some, has a strangle hold on Tarkov. People want it gone, while others have made suggestions about modifying what found in raid even means. Because let's be real, the idea has many holes in it. A crafted item is found in raid, but an item taken off a player is not. Even though their gear is technically “found in a raid”. But not found in raid. You confused? So am I. Let’s move on.

While FIR has certainly altered Tarkov, whether it was for better or worse is up to you. It’s the prime example of BSG not thinking too far into the future about such a drastic change and what that has done to Tarkov. It was a reactive solution to hatchet running. And that’s been a theme from BSG for years now. Reactive, instead of proactive. They seem to always be behind the ball when it comes to problem solving, instead of taking some initiative, looking at the whole game, and basing some of their larger scale changes on what they want their vision of Tarkov to be. Movement is another major sticking point for many. Saying that the combination of inertia and the weight system have ruined their enjoyment of Tarkov. And while that sentence is completely valid, I would argue these are the only two changes that BSG have made that were proactive. We knew both were coming into the game, we knew they would change Tarkov at its core. I think these are examples of positive mindsets from BSG. Actually, taking the time to think of changes that might be hated by players but weren’t added arbitrarily because they saw something they didn’t like. No, these were planned for years. The problem was that it wasn’t what people wanted. Which I’d rather have something planned for a long time get added, and then iterated upon man times like the weight system. While it isn’t perfect and causes more problems than it fixes, at least it wasn’t a knee jerk reaction from BSG. I feel as though it could’ve been so much worse if it went down that way.

Another general example is when a wipe happens and then after a week or two, BSG adds a slew of changes to the game in terms of item availability. It always gets under my skin so bad because those changes should’ve been there day one with the wipe. When M80 got moved to PK level 4, it was only after people had gotten to it before this change and could stock up on it because it’s a powerful round. Granted, no one knew this was coming, but a change like that is huge, and should be added with a wipe. These are things that in hindsight, I would expect BSG would’ve done on a Tarkov wipe, because this has happened multiple times now.

But what does all this mean? All these band-aid fixes. Why are they important? It shows two things. First, it shows a level of disjointedness between the players and the developers. They have ideas as to what they want Tarkov to be and add things that fit into their vision. But then the players get their hands on it and potentially use it in a way that wasn’t intended, or worse, expected from us. Then in a panic, BSG goes back and makes things the same or potentially worse than before, begging the question of why add or change something in the first place, if all you’re going to do is retroactively change something. We want one thing, and BSG wants another. A middleman that will never be properly reached.

Second, it shows a lack of confidence in what they are doing. If they are so quick to make changes after an addition or removal of something, it begs the question if in their heart of hearts, they know what they want from Tarkov anymore. I am not questioning their ability to finish the game; however, I do wonder if they second guess themselves with things that have been added or not. We currently have a roadmap, and we know what to expect from this coming wipe in December. But with how large and again, game changing these additions are, is it truly what BSG wants? Or are they capitulating a little towards the masses? I’m fairly confident most of them are what they want in the game, but whether it’s implemented correctly, so they don’t have to go back and make sweeping changes to brand new mechanics we will have to wait and see. These issues have been systemic for years now. It’s essentially caked into the game’s DNA whether we or BSG want it or not. And to truly fix them would require a deep system overhaul, that I don’t think is on the table anymore. The tech debt that has accumulated is too great at this point. I could be wrong, but this might just be the way things are. And as much as I would like it all to be correct and implemented right the first time, that’s just not the reality we live in. So might as well embrace what we have and try to help BSG steer the ship in the right direction so that we all come out of this with the most positive experience we can have.

BSG has a bad track record of trying to fix problems that they themselves created in the first place. Whether it’s nerfing things that were recently added and are too strong, or rolling back entire patches because the new is worse than the old, the mentality of band-aid fixes is something I hope they can shake off going into what could potentially be Tarkov’s final year of development before a 1.0 release. We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves by saying that, but again, this is something that has been in development for six plus years. It must come to an end eventually, which is something we have talked about in the past and will most likely revisit in the future. But for now, just cross your fingers we don’t need any more band-aids for Tarkov. We’re almost out. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to watch this video. Be sure to leave a comment down below on the idea of band-aid fixes for Tarkov and subscribe for more videos about this game feeling like you’re on a roller-coaster with the highs and lows it can give you. I hope to see you in future ones.

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