Escape From Tarkov took the world by storm upon its release, capturing the imagination and competitive spirit of players, creating its own unique fanbase that’s still going strong.
Saying that Escape From Tarkov is just another shooter would be doing it a disservice, so you must take that into consideration when getting started with this game. The main goal of each map is to reach the extraction point, as the name suggests, and deciding to loot or shoot your way through is entirely up to you.
Let’s talk about the maps available. Since Customs is widely accepted as the most beginner-friendly map out there, let’s discuss it first.
This map is relatively straight-forward and has a 25-minute time limit which is the shortest of all available maps. However, due to being so easy to navigate, the time limit doesn’t play a large role.
The important landmarks to help you navigate your way around are the Customs (often referred to as a ‘Big Red Building’), Substation, Factory, and Dorms. Another important feature of the map is the river, but a key crossing point is Train Bridge. It provides the quickest route from east to west, but can often be a chokepoint so be warned.
On the map below, you can see the extraction points, but beware that there are some limitations as some won’t be always available.
The biggest danger points of this map are the River, the Gas Station, and the Dorms and its surrounding wooded area. Reshalla, the SCAV boss usually spawns at the last two locations, but can also sometimes be found east of the Gas Station.
The Dorms area and the forest around it are especially dangerous because they contain the best loot and quest items and as such, players will clamor there. Even if you survive the Dorms, you’re very vulnerable when you try to leave through the woods ,as other players who have heard the gunfire will be drawn to your location and have a perfect cover spot.
The River and the Bridge are especially tough as they provide a lot of open space, but the Bridge might be a better bet because if you get shot at, at least you’ll be on the same level as your attacker and will be able to properly defend yourself.
Unlike Customs, The Lab is one of the harder maps in Escape From Tarkov. If you’re a newcomer and tried Customs first, you’ll feel confined and disoriented in The Lab, because there are no outdoors nor big landmarks to navigate from. Furthermore, there are three levels that aren’t all that different.
In order to access this map, you will need a special key. Before entering though, beware that if you die here, you won’t be able to recover any of the equipment you previously got unless a friend brings it out with them.
The difficulty spike is highlighted with poor lighting and spawn points that still aren’t balanced properly. There are no SCAVs here, only human players and Raiders and that makes it even harder. The trickiest parts of this map are extraction points. Any time you activate one, the entire facility will be alerted of your presence and you will have to defend yourself.
The good part about the Lab is that there are literal maps of the entire section littered around it so you can use that to get around.
This might be the polar opposite of The Lab with just how much open space it has, which is logical given the size of the map and its lengthy raid time.
There is only one big landmark that’s easy to find, and that’s the Resort which is located smack dab in the middle of the map. As expected, this 3-story building has a large amount of loot inside and is thus a very popular and dangerous spot. Due to its size and position, there are multiple entry points that can pose danger to new players.
Other points of interest include an abandoned village, ripe with loot, a pier, a gas station, and a ‘loot’ island with the latter three being common SCAV spawn points. The map’s boss, Sanitar, can be found either on the pier, on a construction site near the village, or at the Resort.
There is a canal that leads runs through the middle of the map and underneath the Resort, and it can be really useful if you get disoriented. Other good waypoints if you get lost are the electrical line that runs around most of the map and a coastal road. This road is an especially good navigational tool as at each end of it, there is an extraction point.
As always, you need to pay attention to tall structures such as radio towers or hill bunkers, as those are common sniper spots. On this map, in particular, the most common sniper spot is the rock bunker close to the resort, but you should pay attention to the weather station and radio tower as well.
This is another wide-open map with little to no indoor hiding spots. As the name suggests, the majority of the area is covered in tall trees, but luckily there aren’t a lot of places where they can disorient you.
The biggest landmark of this map is probably the lake on the north side. Directly below it is a logging camp that you will have to cross to get to your extraction point. This camp is also the only spawn point of this map’s boss Shturman (AKA Kojaniy) so be prepared for running into him as well.
The safest route (and we’re using that term liberally here) is to follow the lake’s coastline. However, there are two significant sniper spots along this path and not a lot of great cover room. You can see spawn and extraction points on the map below.
Other big landmarks are the factory, located in the north-west part of the map, and the airplane crash site, found in the south-west. The latter is really good if you get lost because its surrounding area is mostly wooded and there are no visible landmarks to point the way. It also usually contains some decent loot.
This is a highly unique map in that it is very rich with loot. But with that also comes great competitiveness, making this a ‘high-risk, high-reward’ type of map. Like in other maps, there are multiple extractions points scattered around, but there are some prerequisites, which is why we suggest avoiding those exits.
Your best bet is using either hole in the fence, CP fence, heating pipe, or bunker depot.
Reserve is especially interesting because it has two levels - one above ground and one below. As you might’ve guessed, the best loot is found underground but it’s also the hardest part of the map. The halls are tight and poorly lit and players and SCAVs alike are all over the place.
Above ground it’s important to pay attention in and around the train depot as that is the most often boss spawn point. He’s heavily guarded so engaging him and his party one-on-one is very tricky. The route to get below ground is also inside the train depot at the bunker garage, so know that venturing there might leave your back exposed.
Visible from almost anywhere on the map is the Radar Station and if you have a line of sight to it, it’s best to keep cover as that is a very popular sniper spot.
Another important point of interest is the Barracks. Located adjacent to the train depot, it is also a boss spawn point. The reason why you’d want to go here is that it has really nice loot, and also a passage underground. But, as expected, it can get really hard to survive here due to competition from other players.
The central event of this map is the arrival of the train some 25-35 minutes in. It can be used as an extraction, but beware that its appearance spawns SCAV Raiders. The train will signal twice on arrival, once when it’s a minute from leaving, and twice again when it closes the door.
Despite its name, this map doesn’t take place on a highway interchange, but rather in a mall and its surroundings. The spawn points are outside the mall which will be visible from almost any location on the map.
The extraction points here are relatively easy as they’re all positioned alongside the edge of the map, which is easy to navigate. There is point that’s located in the parking garage, but it’s single-use so you might want to avoid it if you’re a beginner.
One “bonus” of this map is that it doesn’t have many sniper spots, bar the two large signs on the opposite sides of the map and even those aren’t that active. These aren’t AI snipers so you’ll most likely pass through unscathed.
The main landmark here is the aforementioned mall and inside you’ll find the most loot and the majority of the action. It’s split into three larger stores, each with their own storage, and something of a central area with smaller, commercial shops. It is in this central area that you’ll find Killa, the map’s boss.
Engaging him is a little tricky and you can easily be drawn into it because he doesn’t spawn anywhere else, has no followers, and has awesome armor. However, he is very overpowered and you shouldn’t go at him alone if you’re a newbie.
The parking garage has the best weapons loot, but it’s very dark and hard to navigate, so pay close attention when venturing there. In it are also two SCAV spawn points, on opposite sides, so you’ll never be too far away from them, regardless of your position.
The first map added to Escape From Tarkov, Factory is perfect for close-quarters combat. In fact, there are very limited opportunities for sniping and you only need to be careful in the Glass Hall area leading to the Forklifts.
This map is extremely fast-paced and you have to be prepared for action from the moment you spawn. As the routes are simple and predictive, other players will know where the spawn points are and will look to do some spawn camping.
The extraction points here aren’t that difficult to find, the harder part is getting to them in one piece. At the start, players will usually rush either the Office area or the Forklifts area with the latter being the prime PvP zone.
Since the map is relatively small and completely indoors, you will do well if you focus your hearing to identify where enemies are coming from. This essential skill can make or break your raid as the lighting makes players especially difficult to see, but it’s harder to mask the sound.
The coveted Office area is rife with loot, but nothing too extreme. After all, this is a mostly PvP map and it should be treated as such.