Tarkov’s Newest Wipe is… A Little Disappointing

Smash early-access success Escape From Tarkov wiped for the first time since December on June 29th and the additions to the wipe were fairly minimal by Tarkov standards. The update that came with the wipe added 6 new guns, a new grenade launcher, an expansion to the  Lighthouse map, reworked the airdrop mechanics, a new group of Rogue Bosses, and a slew of quality of life increases/decreases. While this seems like a sizable amount of content, it’s important to remember that there have been effectively no content updates to the game in the past 6 months and none of these changes have affected how the game plays. Perhaps the most noticeable of these changes for returning players is the modifications to the lean system which is now affected by inertia and changes to the sound system which has new sound effects for walking on wood and metal or dropping guns.

Thankfully, the new bosses are a breath of fresh air: the trio of Rogue USECs can appear on most maps and will attempt to engage players in a more tactical manner compared to previous AI encounters. These bosses drop the new grenade launcher, high tier weapons, and other Rogue-type loot. Unfortunately, these new bosses are entirely unpredictable and it’s nearly impossible to go into a raid planning on finding them. Similarly, it seems that all boss spawn rates have been reduced, greatly increasing the difficulty of quests tied to these bosses. This also tends to slow down mid-game progression as Reshala, Shturman, and Sanitar often served as semi-reliable ways to find mid-tier weapons, armor, and other loot used to snowball towards the later game.

The expansion to the Lighthouse map also adds some new dynamics to the map, but nothing significant. The roofs of the buildings in the Rogues’ water treatment plant are now accessible, making the process of clearing out the encampment far more lucrative as almost twice as many Rogues are now lootable. The addition of access to the Lighthouse’s Island is interesting as it adds a considerable amount of low-tier loot to a map that was plagued with issues of high-tier loot balancing, however access to the island is hampered by the pre-rework Customs issue of a network of choke points and difficulty accessing extractions.

Most of the new weapons are likely to see little use, with the primary exception of the AXMC sniper rifle, which is now the most powerful bolt-action rifle in the game due to its use of the .338 cartridge. This round remains one of the few in the game that is capable of fully killing a player with a single shot to the chest. Unfortunately, this rifle is locked behind a questline requiring players to kill the aforementioned reduced spawn rate bosses and is also limited to a single rifle purchased per trader reset, making it punishing to die with the rifle as you’ll be unlikely to replace it for a few raids. The new RD-704 is a 7.62x39mm AK platform designed to have lower recoil than its other 7.62 AK counterparts, however the rifle is unlikely to see late-game use as it is effectively a lower fire-rate version of the MK47 Mutant rifle that dominated much of the meta last wipe. Finally, the new HK G36 rifle is in need of some serious love. Despite firing a smaller cartridge, the G36 has a higher recoil than the new RD-704, less modifications options, and terrible ergonomics.

While these changes are likely to be enough to sate returning players, none of them seem exciting enough to encourage new players to pick up the game. Furthermore, the continued leaning into of the inertia system has also continued to turn off newer players transferring from other shooter games. Battlestate Games’ inconsistent commitment to realism seems to be their biggest issue in the design space. The addition of the inertia system drastically improved the level of realism to the games physics engine, however this suspension of disbelief is shattered by the inability of the Mosin Nagant rifle to kill a player with a shot to the chest with most ammo types, the easily abusable nature of enemy AI, and the incredible durability of body armor. If you’re a fan of other milsim games, such as Arma, Squad, and Hell Let Loose, Tarkov may be the game for you, but if you’re coming from more classic shooters such as Counter-Strike, Valorant, or Call of Duty, be prepared for a steep learning curve.


Words by Nathan Burke

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