First Person Looter

Posted 2020-02-10

My entire weekend was eaten up by Escape From Tarkov, a game recommended to me by a friend which recently saw a big surge in popularity thanks to a healthy dose of viral marketing on Twitch by assorted big-name streamers. I want to add a bit of context for the layman without sounding too much like a wikipedia article, but to cut it short, Tarkov is about looting in a large map set in an abandoned Russian city populated by hostile NPCs and other players looking to scavenge your corpse for their own benefit. The objective is to leve the map once you are done your looting in a se ttime limit by reaching a checkpoint assigned to you at spawn that is usually across the length of the map. When you die, you lose what gear you came equipped with, as well as whatever gear you found over the course of a match.

The game is an emotional rollercoaster for me. Nothing gets me as stressed out as Tarkov, but nothing has made me feel as euphoric, either, and my blood is pumping a bit fast just writing about it now. Since each run costs in-game roubles to gear up, dying during the course of a match has a cost you can feel in your stomach, while surviving a match with a lot of new loot feels like winning the lottery. I feel fortunate to have avoided games like EVE Online or World of Warcraft growing up, worried that I might get hooked to them and become a shut-in, but now I'm conerned that Tarkov will do just that. I think I have a gambling problem waiting to jump me if I ever go to a casino.

I feel that the game has a focus on some mechanics that borders on the annoying. Buying and selling goods is most efficient when done through the "flea market", a player-to-player trading post which is hard for new players to navigate. Finding the appropriate parts to modify weaponry is still quite nebulous if you don't know what exactly you're looking for. You need to consult a spreadsheet to determine the most efficient ammo type or armor you should buy to improve your survival rate, but even at entry the "approved kit" can run you upwards of 100k roubles, a third of the amount of money you start with as a new player. All these in-game complaints pale to the server uptime, which was landed a heavy blow by its surprising explosion in player numbers. Few things are as frustrating as a successful run spoiled by a server disconnection. All that being said, I think the game is excellent and faithfully hearkens back to the STALKER game franchise.

On to meta news. I don't know if the "daily" tag makes much sense given that I haven't managed to make myself write every day. On top of that, I don't think my opinion on the things I'm consuming makes for interesting reading. I'd rather limit my blog to cataloguing interesting events and archiving any creative or productive work I happen to undertake.

Tagged: tarkov stalker games