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Your Expectations in Tarkov Need a Reality Check

They are not what they seem

By JirasuPublished 4 months ago 8 min read

Tarkov has always been a game about expectations. Making sure you know what you are capable of with the gear you go into a raid with, and what might realistically happen. The tough part about Tarkov is that you can never pinpoint exactly what might happen. The game is so open-ended once you get into a raid that you can prepare for any situation and there still might be something that catches you off guard. And while some people might see that is difficult to adjust to or even frustrating, I see it as a beautiful thing that no game has really been able to capture as effectively as Tarkov. But there has always been this challenge of managing expectations when it comes to Tarkov as a whole. Every facet of the game; whether that’s balance, development timeline, comparing what we have now to promotional pieces for the game. It’s always been interesting to look back at old footage of the game, see how far it’s come along, and even compare it to what BSG has officially put out over the years. So, today I wanted to take some time and go over some of these aspects and compare what we all were expecting with these overarching topics and see what or where they are now and whether they are a positive addition to the game or not. If you’re interested in hearing about this and much more, be sure to subscribe for future videos about Tarkov.

I suppose it would make sense to compare playstyle as a whole and see where it started and what it has become. Because Tarkov, being a hardcore FPS game, the expectation would be for players to take more “seriously”; and try to play it low and slow. Traveling across maps, being always on edge, checking their corners, trying to make sure their plan has no holes in it. But unfortunately, that’s not how people play the game. Most of the time, it’s the complete opposite. Except for right after a wipe happens, most players don’t engage in the game like this. I would put myself in this in this bubble as well, which is always just running to a high traffic area on the map looking for action. Or, if it’s the early game, trying to just get quests done. Mobility has only gotten more important over the years for being able to play aggressively and constantly reposition to have the best possible advantage over whoever you are fighting. And while BSG has taken steps to kind of retroactively slow down people with inertia, and weight causing you to move slower and be louder, there have also been additions into the game that allow people, for the right price, to bypass most of these ankle weights being attached to our legs. Which is a shame, because I always wondered what it would be like if players engaged with Tarkov like the developers do whenever they tease new maps. You see them all slowly walking around in groups, trying to clear floors of buildings and just generally looking out for one another before the chaos starts between the two factions. It’s a big question mark if more mechanics and potential restrictions will be put in place to slow us down even more. I don’t foresee anything in the immediate future that would give that impression. But with hitboxes becoming much more accurate regarding the armor we wear, who knows, maybe that’ll be all it takes.

Weapons and weapon customization. This will be very quick because Tarkov still easily has the best weapon customization of any shooter ever made. We saw early on that you would be able to change almost every single part of a weapon, and that has never been truer than now. With so many different attachments available for a ton of guns in the game, half of my time spent in the game these days is just trying to come up with weapons that both function and look awesome at the same time. Occasionally, I might just go for the min/maxed version of that gun, but most of the time, it’s trying to make something cool. And we keep getting more for guns which is always awesome. But yeah, the expectation and reality of proper weapon modding is exceptional. What isn’t so fantastic all the time is the overall and general balance of the game.

Balance has always been contentious because of how delicate of a subject it can be. We all want everything in the game to be in a state where there isn’t one single answer to a problem. And to their credit, BSG has done a somewhat decent job at that. Technically, any bullet in the game can kill you, under the right circumstances. Whether or not those conditions are met is an entirely different story. But with so many elements going against the grain (net code, armor levels, ammo statistics), it can certainly feel like the game has horrendous issues with where things feel. On top of that, there have been pieces of equipment added to the game that some would see as questionable at best, regarding having the game feel balanced in some capacity. But here’s the conundrum; BSG has always planned for there to be busted items in the game for use. Underbarrel grenade launchers, standalone launchers, thermals and goggles, insanely high-powered ammos; these were all on the board from the beginning. And it’s only now that we are seeing these items have such an impact on the game. Even if, to their credit, these items are rare and difficult enough to obtain that you won’t see them every raid, just having them in the game for someone to use is powerful. So, the expectation was that these items would be introduced into the game, and the reality is that they are here and have been in the game for a while. Some are more powerful than others but being adjusted over time to where they feel like they are in a suitable place. They are there, you can use them, but it won’t be every raid. So, in this instance, I would say they hit the nail on the head.

Devlopment timelines is another point outside of the direct game that is worth mentioning here. To be respectfully blunt, BSG hasn’t been good when it comes to releasing things in a timely manner. To their credit, Tarkov has become a much larger beast than BSG ever thought it would be. Again, some may not know this, but Tarkov’s initial reason for existing was to fund their single-player game in the same universe, “Russia 2028”. But to say they have miscalculated when certain aspects of Tarkov would be implemented is being kind to say the least. We had seen in engine clips of Streets from back in 2016. And we didn’t get any version of the map playable until last year. Crazy how things work sometimes. Again, this isn’t a bash on them, it’s just what expectations were set, versus what the reality ultimately ended up becoming. They’ve said that many different things would come online a lot earlier than they did. But regardless, even if they couldn’t hit those ETAs on features and mechanics, when they do eventually get added into the game, they usually don’t disappoint. At least, the with the initial impression.

In general, it’s hard to temper your expectations with the game and how you hope your raids will go. Some might want to try and conquer the world, while others just want to survive one time that night. So, it really boils down to what you want your experience to be. Granted, what makes Tarkov so tricky is that a lot of that is out of your control. Where you go, who you shoot at matters. But sometimes, that lonely sniper scav out in the distance just decides today is not your day and takes you out with a single shot. You can’t control that. Which is unfortunate, but the nature of why Tarkov is so interesting. The randomness, and how off the cuff it can quickly become. Being able to react to what’s going on and adjust/adapt on the fly. It’s what helps define players as experienced or not. It’s both a knowledge and skill check at the same time.

But this philosophy of expectation versus reality goes beyond Tarkov and beyond BSG. It’s something that can be difficult to regulate in life should you not have any experience in a matter. Sometimes, it’s best to just go in with an open mind and experience whatever is going to happen, and then ground your expectations in the reality you just experienced. This is kind of difficult to explain so I apologize, but as time goes on, managing what you think should happen and what is going to happen are skills that you will learn overtime.

Tarkov has certainly set some level of expectation with the game and what we should look for going into it. And as the game has evolved over the years, more players have engaged with the game, and BSG gets better at crafting the game they want us to play, the reality of what Escape From Tarkov is going to be will certainly change. It’s already become something so different than what it initially started as. And as time goes on, and we inch ever so closer to that 1.0 release, it will only continue to change. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to watch this video. Let me know your thoughts about the expectations Tarkov has set for players, what your personal reality has been with the game and subscribe for more videos about the existential elements of a first-person shooter game still in active development. I hope to see you in future ones.

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Scripts about the things I find interesting. Most are for videos on my YouTube channel.

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