Escape from Tarkov, the hardcore survival shooter from the team at Battlestate Games, is a hit. But some fans think the sudden popularity of the game, which spiked over the New Year holiday, has upset its delicate balance. Many are calling for a reset — a global wipe of every player’s progress to date. According to developers, that reset is already on the calendar. Just don’t expect it to be anytime soon.
Tarkov is an unusual game in that it blends tactical first-person shooter action with light role-playing game elements. Characters improve over time, and players can even select perks once they reach higher levels in a given skill. But, the primary marker of player progress is the quality of gear they drop into a session with. Even with low-level skills, someone with a great set of optics and a suppressed weapon will have an advantage against other players on the map.
The other bit that makes Tarkov so unusual is its high-stakes, session-based structure. Players can loot any of the weapons and equipment they find during a session. They just have to make it to and through an exit in order to add that loot to their collection. As such, so-called “exit camping” has always been a problem. Battling through those ambushes contributes to the adrenaline-soaked allure of the game, but things are starting to get out of hand.
In on popular video clip on Reddit, you can see one player trying to leave the map, only to find not one, not two, but three heavily armed and armored players lying in wait. Luckily, they were able to flush them out with a grenade, and then convince them to line up to be executed. What follows can only be described as comedy gold. But the fact of the matter is that more and more people are stumbling into situations like this, where players who have effectively maxed themselves out on equipment are going all-in to stop anyone else from making it through the map alive. As a result, an already difficult game is being made even harder for new players.
The solution may be a global reset of the game. Tarkov is technically still in early access beta testing, and several resets have happened in the past. In fact, among the hardcore community, they tend to be an exciting event. For a week or more before a reset, developers usually drop the price of everything in the game’s marketplace. That makes it a great time to spend some cash on frivolous items and have some fun.
Unfortunately, the next server wipe won’t be for some time.
“Wipe will not be in the next couple of months,” wrote a member of the Battlestate Games team on the game’s official message board. In fact, the next major update isn’t scheduled for at least five months. That means a server wipe likely won’t happen until the summer.
At least one professional Tarkov streamer Polygon talked to thinks that might be a bit too far out.
“I currently have over 50 million Rubles,” said Chris “Sacriel” Ball, who has been streaming the game continuously to his community for weeks now. “I can run any amount of gear my heart desires all day. For many hardcore Tarkov players this ironically creates an odd sense of boredom because you don’t really care about ‘losing your favourite M-4’ the same you would if you didn’t have enough money to replace it.
“For me personally I’d love to see a wipe in the near future,” Ball continued during our email interview. “Part of the thrill of Tarkov is sneaking around in the bushes and shadows and trying to get the upper hand on somebody. In the near future everybody in the game will be looking at each other through thermal scopes and shooting any distant heat signatures they see, which I think is a far cry from the brutal cat and mouse gritty survival gameplay where the game truly shines.”
Of course, individual players looking for a challenge can also hit a button and reset themselves. That will return your inventory to how it looked the day you bought the game, and lower your stats as well.
If you’re invested in the state of Escape from Tarkov, know that the developers tend to put their information out fairly scattershot across social media. The official Twitch stream has also been returned to that platform, after being suspended for violating community guidelines. Be sure to keep tabs on the subreddit for early details, with roundups posted on the forums later on.