Escape from Tarkov is a first-person shooter game with elements of an MMORPG. It is developed by BattleState Games.
"Hey, that sounds exactly like the description of a dozen of other games that I played this year!" I hear you say. But while other games are forgiving, Escape from Tarkov is brutally realistic. We’re talking about scarce ammo, limited resources and realistic damage where one shot can kill you. And oh, putting a bandage on your arm when you're shot in the head doesn’t help here.
Each map in Escape from Tarkov is tailor-made to replicate real-world combat situations. Players are immersed in the many-sided conflict in Tarkov, which is located in a fictional region of Russia. The game plays like a mix of Battlefield and GTA 5 – you clash with local gangs and private militaries in a struggle to survive.
There are currently 8 maps available for the game – some sources state that there are four more that are yet to be released, but for this article, we're going to focus on the ones that have been officially released.
This map is the first that was added to the game, and as such, it’s associated with a lot of Escape from Tarkov lore. This map consists of the facilities of Chemical Factory #16 and the industrial estate that it occupies. The factory was rented out illegally to TerraGroup before the Contract Wars and was later the site of multiple firefights between USEC and BEAR operatives for control of Tarkov’s industrial district. Later on, it was converted into a shelter for civilians, Scavs, and occasional military operatives.
This map is pretty small compared to others, but the factory has multiple storeys, overhead walkways, and even tunnels to make combat inside it interesting.
The Shoreline map is the second-largest map in the game and is located on the outskirts of Tarkov, near the city’s port. The terrain varies wildly – the map includes a long stretch of beach, open fields, woodland, cliffs, and even a swamp. The map also includes multiple manmade points, the largest and most prominent of which is the Azure Coast Health Resort, a luxury compound that served as accommodation for members of TerraGroup as they evacuated Tarkov Port. In the Shoreline map, you can take a tour to the abandoned village, a residential development, a boating facility, a gas station, a hydroelectric plant, a weather station, and a communications tower.
The Shoreline map is notorious for snipers. Huge open areas with multiple vantage points make it an ideal "happy place" for snipers in the early game. However, if that's not your style, you'll have a tough time navigating through the map under constant sniper fire.
Fun fact: the Azure Coast Health Resort is based on an abandoned sanatorium called Strelna that is located near St. Petersburg in Russia.
This map was expanded in Update 12.7. It’s situated close to the Factory in Tarkov and is essentially just a big chunk of industrial parkland. The map has four main buildings. The Dorms are a pair of buildings in the north portion of the map that are both multi-storey with fire escapes running up the outside. These buildings contain multiple Quests and unlockable rooms. Construction is a two-storey building with a good view of the river crossing and the bridge, making it an excellent spot for snipers. New Gas Station is located on the map’s east side, close to the main road. It has two unlockable rooms inside and a view of the shortcut. The Military Checkpoint is located at the end of the road past the Gas Station; it’s the only location where you can easily get through the wall to the extraction zones, but it is also populated with a lot of Scavs.
This map is exactly what it sounds like; a stretch of woods contained in the Priozersk Natural Reserve. The main features of this map are a logging camp and bunkers ZB-014 and ZB-016. This map is one of the most straightforward in the game and would be great for beginners.
The Interchange is a map that is centred around a massive ULTRA shopping mall. It is also a strategically valuable area that connects the port and harbour with the industrial areas of Tarkov. The mall was the base of operations during the EMERCOM evacuation. It has a fully functioning illumination grid that you can turn on at the power station. There are three larger stores: IDEA, the furniture store, OLI, the hardware store, and Goshen, the grocery store. There are also multiple smaller shops selling a range of items from clothing to electronics. Some of these stores are equipped with alarms that must be turned off at designated terminals. Outside the mall, there are a lot of roads and parking lots, as well as a few small, wooded areas and even a go-kart track. Fun fact: this location’s layout is modelled on MEGA malls that are found all over Russia.
Compared to a few other maps listed out here, Interchange is one of the tougher ones since it's closed off. There's nowhere to run if you're caught in the crossfire.
The Lab is an underground laboratory complex, owned by TerraGroup, that is located directly underneath the centre of Tarkov. Officially, it does not exist and appears to have been linked with various projects related to chemistry, biology, physics, and technology. This map includes two unique gameplay features: the first is that whenever an important event occurs inside The Lab, it will trigger an announcement. This includes all extractions excluding the Ventilation Shaft and Sewage Conduit. You can also disable the Parking extraction announcement using the Yellow keycard.
The second unique gameplay feature is that if you lose any items in this map, they cannot be recovered. Insurance that you purchase from traders will fail, and you will receive mail from the dealer that they sent men to recover the items and that they either would not go or that they never returned. Be careful going into The Lab with any valuable objects.
This map is a secret base for the Federal State Reserve Agency. According to rumours circulating around Tarkov, the base contains enough supplies to survive a nuclear holocaust for years. This map’s unique feature is mounted weapons – there’s an AGS grenade launcher and NSV machine gun inside.
Streets of Tarkov
Streets of Tarkov is the next map that is scheduled to be released for Escape from Tarkov. The map was originally planned to drop before the end of 2020, but now we’re due to have it sometime in 2021, thanks to the lockdown in 2020. It’s much more urban than the other available maps, and Nikita Buyanov, BattleState’s studio head, has stated that it’s the largest and most detailed map yet. According to the Escape from Tarkov Wiki, Streets of Tarkov encompasses downtown Tarkov, which was equipped with amenities like banks, malls, hotels, and all sorts of other urban things. Combat will likely include both long- and close-range scenarios.
What’s The Best Map for Beginners in Escape from Tarkov?
The Customs map is the most well-regarded beginner-friendly map in Escape from Tarkov. The huge open spaces paired with compact indoor arenas allow new players to get a taste of the game’s brutality before jumping down the harder maps.