Escape from Tarkov – Beginner's Guide: Tips for the First Raid on Customs

Published: Oct. 19, 2017
Updated: Dec. 10, 2023


The Survival-FPS Escape from Tarkov is, especially for beginners, a great challenge. High demands are placed not only on observation and aiming skills, but also on the movement control as it’s unusual for many. Since the beginning of the beta phase, EFT has been accessible to all buyers - this novice guide is designed to help newcomers with the first steps in Tarkov.

EFT- Beginner guide: Learning by dying

You are a member of a mercenary group located in the Russian industrial city of Tarkov. Your task is to collect as much valuable equipment as possible in one of the ten map sections, and finally leave the contested location alive while using one of the provided exits.

At the same time there are other players roaming around who want to get a full backpack as well - as yours will be a good option for them to snatch. Also the other enemy, AI opponents called 'Scavs', are on the map trying to stop you, and you shouldn’t underestimate them either. One tip in advance: in the beginning you will most likely die frequently, but don’t worry. Learning by dying is the key – welcome to Tarkov!

Escape from Tarkov Beginners Guide

This could have been you.

Before the full release, developer Battlestate Games also wants to integrate story elements to combine the different scenarios.  Which is already in development as quests got added a few patches ago.  If you want to get started with the beginner's guide, simply read on.

Beginners Tips: The basics

Escape from Tarkov is a realism-orientated hardcore shooter, which means you barely have any visual support to percieve your surroundings in the game. You attentively have to look for ammunition, health packs or map displays.  You are able to see important information, such as how many shots remain in the magazine by pressing the corresponding hotkey.  The game character then executes a suitable animation - in this example: the magazine will get pulled out and the bullets will be counted. Alternatively you can switch to the inventory and read the ammunition of your equipped weapons there, but this will distract you from the game, and this might be dangerous. The best immersion comes when you fully make use ofthe existing functions. And yes, the counting of fired bullets is quite effective to keep the overview and be ready to fight.

Escape from Tarkov Anfänger Guide

The immersion gives you the feeling of being in the middle of the action.

The movement and altitude control also requires rethinking by casual players: the physical performance as well as the running speed can be regulated in several grades in Escape from Tarkov. To be able to move quietly, you must go slowly. And in order to effectively utilize different coverings, but at the same time maintain visual contact with possible targets, you need more than the three familiar altitudes of standing, squatting and lying down. In Escape from Tarkov, Battlestate Games have installed a total of five intermediate stages between the crouch and the upright stand. Also with the aid of leaning and sidestep functions, a skilful Tarkovian makes it possible to bare only the most necessary part of his hitbox in order to be able to take opponents under fire.

Escape from Tarkov Anfänger Guide

The basic understanding of the movement and body features is essential for survival in Tarkov.

The first raid in Tarkov: The equipment

Before you go on a raid you first have to choose your equipment and get everything ready. Three items are necessary to pack in the safe container: A medpack for general health, a splint for bone fractures and a bandage to stop bleeding wounds. Depending on which edition you purchased of Escape from Tarkov as well as the choice of the mercenary group, you will have different equipment at your disposal. An example of equipment is as follow: Choose a gun and drag it into the character slot. A vest is useful for stowing ammunition as well as a backpack so you can store your loot. In the beginning the ammunition is still on a pile, meaning you have to sort it into the appropriate magazines. After sorting the ammunition, the magazines will need to get placed in the respective weapons. During the raid you are, of course, able to reload your weapon with the hotkeys. By now you notice that Escape from Tarkov has a realism concept that is consistent with the smallest of details.

Escape from Tarkov Starter Guide

Before the raid you choose your equipment. You wont risk anything if you play offline.

Once more, because it’s so important: Familiarize yourself with the controls before starting the game. When you feel ready, start with an offline raid on the Customs map and choose if you want to play with or without Al opponents. The latter we recommend for novice players, who want to become familiar with the controls at first. Though this is also possible in the starting area of Customs, as there won’t be enemies to target you.

The advantage of the offline mode is that you won’t lose your equipment the moment you die. However, after a round all the collected loot falls to the floor. Which is why a Raid in this mode is currently only useful for testing and practicing.

Escape from Tarkov Beginners Guide

At the left the big warehouse and at the right a small shed with the first loot crates.

Eyes peeled: Noticing loot

Here we go! Start your first raid by entering the blue cabin behind the spawn point. In the cabin you will find various loot piles, which you should search. Activate your tactical torch with the T key, so you can see better in the dark. In a later stage, if you have upgraded your weapon, you can also use this hotkey. T stands for tactical.  We emphasize for that at this point, because in each successful round of Escape from Tarkov tactics play a decisive role. A flashlight doesn’t only enlightens the environment, but also blinds your enemies close at range. On the other hand when you use your flashlight, you are easier to spot by the enemies.

The next stop will be the large warehouse. At the left end of the entrance you will find a military box. Who would have thought to find a military box at this place? At a raid it’s useful to look for green boxes. Consider, that when you open crates and doors you will attract the attention of your enemies, as it will make some noise. This affects both human and AI opponents – so in an online raid, extreme caution is required.

Escape from Tarkov Einsteiger Guide

These greenboxes contain the precious military loot

The first enemy contact

After you familiarized yourself with the different controls leave the training grounds by going through the iron door of the second small cabin. Notice: some doors are easy to open, some open towards you, others can only be locked open with a key while again others can't be opened anyhow.

Escape from Tarkov Einsteiger Guide

You will get through this steel door without using violence.

For the next step keep to the right and approach the railway crossing. From here, if you have activated PVE, you can count on Al opponents. Carefully approach the remaining freight train using the environment to stay in cover. Avoid running, especially in dangerous environments as this will cause a lot of noise. Only use this when you need to escape because you get shot from an unknown direction. In addition, the sprint consumes stamina, which in turn affects your ability to aim steady. To reach your goal you should go slow.

Escape from Tarkov Einsteiger Guide

Make sure to use anything as cover in Escape from Tarkov and avoid open terrain.

If you have crossed the rail, you will find a bridge full of car wrecks and crumbling barricades. But this post-apocalyptic romance is deceptive: The Scavs, indigenous looters, are most likely patrolling further on the road.

Here you should have your first contact with the enemy, use your learned skills to kill the enemies without revealing too much. Since there are no HUD elements to aim at, only the realistic targeting via iron sights or installed target optics remain. This can sometimes be real work.

Escape from Tarkov Anfänger Guide

Ouch! Under visible pain, the player looks at his first killed opponent.

Finding loot and using the items

Now the fun begins:  Take the belongings of the dead enemy. For this, you have to search all the bags on the person. Oh, let’s not forget: Don’t get shot by the sniper, who could hide on the nearby factory roof, while looting. Hello… are you still there?

Well, fortunately! Treat possible injuries with the medication you brought along. If you ever lose blood or break a bone or two, use the bandage or the rail. To help you, open the tab 'health' in the inventory and hover over the injury to determine its nature. After that drag the appropriate treatment to the affected body part. Leave it there for a while and you are done!

To keep in mind: be careful when using items to treat yourself, keep your ears open so you can react when enemies approach.

Escape from Tarkov Starter Guide

On the left you can check your current state of health, including the injuries you have.

To the exit!

If you are still alive at this point, you might feel the urge to escape. And that’s what Escape from Tarkov is all about – get your bum out of there with a well filled backpack by using one of the exits. By doing this you will get to keep the (online) loot and valuable experience points along with survival multipliers.

From your current position on Customs you still need to walk some miles to get to the exit. So get on your way and follow the road until you reach another railway junction. Behind it you will find another gas station, where Scavs are often patrolling. Fight them, if possible from a superior position and with enough cover. Also, in some situations, its advised to avoid some enemies that are not directly on your path.

The brave ones can try to snatch a Snickers from the gas station.

At the gas station go to the left and follow the wall on the right side of the road till you see a hole in the wall. Be extremely careful as there is a small checkpoint at the end of the road, where Scavs, some of which are heavily armed, have settled down. In the meantime, if you already got your hand on a long-range weapon such as an AKS-74U, use it to kill the Scavs while staying behind cover. Not so lucky? Not a problem, move from cover to cover and sprint the last steps to the wall.

Almost there!

Now go past the wall and get through the wire mesh gate. Beware of the snipers located on the factory roof! In front of the hall, to your left, is a railway line. Follow this till it takes a right turn. Directly at the curve there is a bunker entrance hidden in the bushes on the left side.

Enter the bunker and stay at the door until you are automatically extracted from the game. Congratulations, you have survived your first raid in Escape from Tarkov! You should have been able to learn everything important about the gameplay of this hard-core shooter, according to the motto: 'learning by dying'. You should now be prepared to play your first online match.

Escape from Tarkov Guide

  • The First Raid on Customs
  • A Tactical Raid on Shoreline
Welcome to our Survivethis archive. Every post accessible under this account originated from our former survival-focused website,, and was written by various authors.
Notify of
Please read our Privacy Policy

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram