How to learn the ins and outs of a location!

Escape from Tarkov is an unforgiving game. You must loot Tarkov items on a vast map with NPCs and players out to get you. Of course, since everyone, from veterans to newbies and those in between, play on the same maps, those with more experience have the advantage. This results in beginners asking questions like:

  • Why do I die in the first five minutes of the game?
  • I died, and I don’t know where my killer was/I always die around this area/Where did I get shot from?
  • How do I avoid campers?
  • What’s the best way to get from my spawn to my objective?

While some questions don’t seem to relate to knowing a map, all can be answered when you start accumulating knowledge about the locations.

Here are some things to know about EFT maps and steps that let you gather more pertinent information to remember.

How to Learn About EFT Maps

Landmarks

When you move to another city or town, one of the first things you do is to learn the lay of the land. You’ll want to know the nearest grocery stores, where the cafes are, and an optimal route to work and back. Also, you’ll like to learn how to get home from anywhere in the city.

You must explore and get to know EFT maps similarly. Use the offline mode to explore the location, ensuring you turn off AI so you don’t deal with interruptions. Take note of landmarks you can use to orient yourself. All maps have these unique features. It can be a tower, a big rock, an unusual tree, a tall building, etc.

You can also study maps through some unofficial sites like mapgenie.io and gamemaps.co.uk. They have a bunch of pins you can filter through, but at the beginning, you’ll only need landmarks/locations, spawns, and extracts.

You can open the map on a second screen or mobile device to help you when exploring in-game. When you know where you are, figuring out where you need to go will be easier.

Spawns and Extracts

These are your starting and ending points. Knowing where these are helps determine how to reach your objective and an extraction point afterward. It’s also best to know which extractions are always available, which can only be used once, those with variable states, and any item or key requirement.

Sometimes, you’re unlucky and wouldn’t notice this spot had an extraction point because it was always closed when you passed by. Otherwise, you never had the items needed to unlock it, so you thought it was part of the design.

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Learning all these locations lets you be more flexible in extracting. You’ll know that other players are swarming this one so you can avoid the bloodbath and go to another one. This drastically lowers your chances of dying just before you can extract, leading to more successful raids.

Take note that some extraction points are only available to Scavs. You might go to one when you’re a PMC, so keep it in mind. Also, other people can spawn where you did, so another player could be behind you (which is mostly the case for those who die in the first 5 minutes).

Hotspots and Pathing

Now that you know your destinations, you can plan routes to and from your goals. This is about when you should go on relatively low-risk (not ungeared!) raids. Scav runs are preferable due to lower risks, but you can also run regular ones.

Look at where players gather and fight each other. If you’re not into PvP as much, you’ll want to avoid those.

Unfortunately, these spots are likely to be where the best loot is. You must choose whether to brave the bloodbath or take a chance of ambushing them near the extraction. However, that’s for a different guide. Knowing this information lets you make informed decisions on confrontation or avoidance.

Simulate the Future

You’ll start predicting where players go when you’ve accumulated enough experience and knowledge. Of course, this won’t be 100% accurate, but it doesn’t need to be. You just need a general guide to where and what you can expect in parts of the location. This depends on how long the raid has gone on.

The early parts of the raid have players scrambling toward hotspots or destinations. A bit later, looting areas have mostly been picked clean, and players are booking it to extraction points. Near the end, most players have already extracted, other than some stragglers, and it’s time to leg it to an exit.

This is where knowledge of the above becomes pertinent. If you’re avoiding enemies to extract safely, you’ll want to avoid the most commonly used extraction points. When you don’t know where else you can exit, you’ll likely die trying to go to the most frequently used escape routes.

Think Beyond Your Objectives

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Being overly focused on your destination or objective doesn’t leave room for notable observations. You’ll forget to take note of passages you can use, where you can hide, and/or if there is player traffic in the area.

You might succeed in the raid but didn’t learn anything. You need to build up a knowledge base you can refer to later. Each run is an opportunity to learn about the map, so take advantage of it. Even some veterans who have been playing for years find something new about locations they’ve been to hundreds of times.

Leave just enough brainpower to take note of interesting or valuable observations.

Step in Your Enemies’ Shoes

After encounters, you can think to yourself what you would’ve done to counter what you did to the other player. If you ever get into the same situation, you can do what you thought about. It could be better if you were recording your gameplay so you could rewatch it. This lets you consider it later when you’re not keyed up during a raid.

It’s also a tiny part of simulating the future, where you can guess their next moves. Depending on your objectives and how long the raid has gone, you can use it for hunting them down or avoiding them.

Repositioning

The above information is more general, but this is more specific. You’ll want to know which doors can be opened and which are not. This lets you sneak by campers or flank ambushers through an unnoticed route.

For example, there’s a building in customs (3-floor dorm). On one side, you can enter any of the three floors. On the other, only the one on the second floor is open. The third floor has a balcony or opening that lets you jump onto the second-floor entrance of that side.

If you see an enemy on the second floor, you can run to the third, jump down to the other second-floor entrance, and sneak up on them. Find alternate routes and openings, and get creative. Of course, other players can also do this to you, which you can learn and copy later.

You can also note hiding places and areas players don’t think to check. These spots can be ‘rest spots,’ somewhere you can recuperate a bit so you can survive.

Sightlines

This is the main problem of those who ask the second question in the introduction.

Generally, you’ll want to avoid wide-open areas with clear sightlines. This makes you vulnerable to getting shot or sniped. However, this isn’t always the case. If there’s high ground, this opens up more areas that snipers can use.

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You’ll get sniped if you don’t know where to be wary of snipers. The best way to figure out where they hang out is to think like one. Get onto high ground and see what they see. You can use a map to mark those places. Avoid them or conserve your stamina for sprinting/weaving through them.

It also works for mid-ranges. The best examples are Factory and Labs, which have tight corridors and blind corners. Also, this makes you vulnerable to flanking, as somebody might be following you if you don’t periodically check your six.

Accumulate Knowledge

While you can do the above deliberately through the offline mode, some learn better under pressure, like during an online raid. The first three should be enough to get you through map runs, but when your knowledge increases, so does your chances of success or survival.

The best source is experiencing it yourself, so play through some raids and learn from each one. This is a gradual procedure, so don’t rush. You don’t have to know everything in a day, and with updates and changes every so often, there will always be something new to discover.

Gather info on all the locations, and focus on more than just one. Some of the things you learn in other areas might apply to others. You don’t have to keep playing a single map repeatedly.

The Most Important Tip

Everything comes together when you can enjoy the game. It gives you the motivation to keep learning and improving your gameplay. Whether you die in a raid (everybody does in EFT) or successfully extract, have fun playing!

There are other ways to improve your performance, but map knowledge is one of the more overlooked ones. Most improvement guides would be about gear or how to practice aiming. However, this is essential knowledge because if you don’t know where to go, how can you complete your Tarkov quest? You’ll waste time wandering around, hoping to get lucky, and stumble upon your task. If you do, how will you get to an extraction point if you don’t know where it is?

Take the time to study the maps, and you’ll get better at the game in no time.

Author

Ruby has been a writer and author for a while, and her content appears all across the tech world, from within ReadWrite, BusinessMagazine, ThriveGlobal, etc.

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