We played Tarkov Arena: All about Gameplay, Progression & More

Published: Aug. 26, 2023
Updated: May. 19, 2024

German English

Hey there! At Gamescom 2023, Guided author Kevin Willing had the opportunity to get hands-on with Tarkov Arena. Together with Rinat from the developer team, they dived into the game, battling it out in two game modes, and learned a lot about the class system, cross-progression, maps, and the overall gameplay.

What's it About? Tarkov Arena is a spin-off of Escape From Tarkov releasing in 2024, sharing the world and gameplay. However, it's not about the hardcore survival quest for valuable items. In Arena, you'll fight with your team or solo against other players on smaller maps. Based on our hands-on experience with Tarkov Arena, it can be best described as "COD Meets Tarkov." Discover everything we know and our impressions in the following article.

First Hands-On Report: What Can You Expect from Tarkov Arena Gameplay?

Before we dive into the details, let's get an overview. In this article, we'll tell you what to expect in Tarkov Arena. We've tried a lot, so let's get started.

  • Game Modes & Classes
  • Arena Maps
  • Equipment and Weapons
  • All About Cross-Progression with EFT
  • Ranked Mode & Matchmaking
  • Initial Impressions After Playing Tarkov Arena - Who Is It For?

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Game Modes & Classes Explained in Tarkov Arena

Tarkov Arena offers various game modes that present exciting challenges. You can jump into the following game modes:

  • Shootout: In this game mode, six teams of 1 to 3 players face off. Round after round, they battle for the most victories. After five rounds, two teams make it to the finals. Here, the team with the most wins out of three battles (Best of 3) ultimately wins.
  • Teamfight: Equivalent to Team Deathmatch, two teams of 5 players each face off. There are a total of 7 rounds, which are won either by wiping out the opposing team or capturing flags.
  • Overrun: A PvE mode for 5 players. Here, you battle against waves of AI soldiers and Scavs, complete missions, and exfiltrate at the end of the match.
  • Last Hero: Deathmatch, where everyone plays against everyone. Whoever has the most kills at the end wins the match.
  • Duel: This mode is a 1-on-1 mode. The exact description is currently missing.

Before the action begins, you choose an Operator. These Operators are divided into four classes:

  • Assault: A balanced class, equipped with assault rifles and medium armor.
  • CQB: Perfect for rushing the enemy team on tight maps. Equipped with submachine guns and shotguns.
  • Scout: Here you'll find DMRs and semi-automatic weapons. Perfect for ambush combat.
  • Marksman: The Marksman takes on the role of the sniper. A hit is usually deadly, but with light armor and a low fire rate, the battle is on equal terms.

Which class is the best? We're not ready to definitively say which Operator or class is objectively the best. In a conversation with one of the developers, we asked for their favorite, and they chose an Operator from the CQB category (Close Quarters). Equipped with an MP-5, heavy vest, and helmet, the Operator was well-suited for the Teamfight game mode.


At the start of a match, you choose your Operator.

All Tarkov Arena Maps at Launch

At the start, Tarkov Arena offers 5 maps, of which we've only been able to try Air Pit so far. You probably already know this map from the first promotional material for Tarkov Arena:

  • Equator: Shopping Mall
  • Sawmill: A smaller section of the Tarkov map Woods.
  • Bay 5: A classic container map.
  • Air Pit: This map is familiar from various trailers. There's an airplane wreck in the middle.
  • Resort: Coming later
  • The Bowl: Coming later
  • The Box: Coming later

Equipment and Weapons in the Arena: What Can You Customize?

Equipment and weapons in Tarkov Arena are somewhat different from Escape From Tarkov. Here, you buy your Operators with the money you earn in the Arena. However, Operators are not customizable, and you can't replace parts of your weapons. This disappointed some players in our hands-on session since they will miss the hours spent fine-tuning weapons from Escape From Tarkov.

How Cross-Progression Between Escape From Tarkov & Arena Works

An excellent feature is cross-progression between Tarkov and Arena. When you level up your character in Escape From Tarkov, it also levels up your character in Arena, and vice versa. This is great for those who don't want to waste valuable time in Tarkov's hectic wipe cycles when playing Arena. Now, even those who don't want to do quests can unlock the flea market in Escape From Tarkov.

Ranking and Matchmaking in Tarkov Arena

Tarkov Arena will have its own matchmaking system. This ensures that players with similar skills meet each other, promising exciting and fair matches. Although there is no detailed information yet, this feature promises a balanced gaming experience.


Conclusion on Tarkov Arena: How Good Is the Shooter?

In about an hour, we, along with 12 other players, were able to try out the two game modes Teamfight and Shootout, as well as the two maps Equator and Air Pit. One thing is clear; Tarkov veterans will feel right at home here. When it comes to gameplay, there are no compromises. The controls haven't been simplified, recoil hasn't been reduced, and the overall difficulty level hasn't been softened.

Yes, it's faster, and a death doesn't mean the end right away. But that's precisely what Escape From Tarkov was missing. For us, Arena is the perfect way to dive into the world of Escape From Tarkov. If you're looking for PvP action without long wait times or sweaty palms, Tarkov Arena is the perfect choice.


The interest in digging deep into the gaming industry stems from the DayZ Mod for Arma 2 in 2012. Kevin started working in the gaming industry in 2016. First as a trainee at Survivethis, the biggest German Survival-Games-Site at that time. Only half a year later, he got accepted at Gamestar and later MeinMMO. Now, on Guided.news he implements all his Knowledge to deliver comprehensive news, guides, interviews and more unique topics.
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