So, we covered the basics in the first part of our Escape From Tarkov guide; next on the list are the maps. Knowledge of which aside from not only being integral to the game and actually getting the misison themselves, will often make-or-break your entire raid and whether you’re likely to survive an engagement or not. So, Let’s find out about them!
There are currently 6 maps in the game, with more incoming. These maps are constantly being updated/changed and expanded; often without ‘us’ being told. The second most important thing you can do in this game (after picking your engagements) is to learn the maps. I’m serious here. Everyone else playing knows them back-to-front and this knowledge WILL be the difference between surviving a raid and not.
That said, don’t stress too much. Play with a map open on another screen (or on your phone if you don’t have a second screen) until you learn the basics and feel more comfortable. I’ve been playing this game for years and I still consult the maps occasionally for mission-related info.
I’ll go into a bit of details on each of the maps below and give you some basic hints and tips for each one to help you navigate and find your way across, along with links for the maps themselves. Obviously I could devote entire posts to each map, and I’ll maybe revisit the maps in specific posts, or maybe even Video’s in the future if you’re lucky. The aim here though is to give you enough to go on and to provide you a few tips and hints that work for each specific map.
I love-hate this map. It’s one of the most-open and manages to encompass a beach, woods, a few large hills, a multi-floor Resort complex and a village. There are a lot of quests (missions) on this level and it is jammed full of hidden-secure stashes (loot boxes essentially). You can make a lot of coin just farming these stashes.
Treat the beach as North. Resort as south. There is an aqueduct that runs through the center of the map that only has limited crossing points and effectively cuts the map in half. Areas along this aqueduct (gas station/harbor offices, Power Plant, Resort) tend to have high-level loot, regular Scav Spawns and therefore, lots of other players. Treat as danger-close.
On the outskirts of the map there is relatively little except for a village (half of which is in a swamp), a radar tower and a mini island off the coast. There tend to be a lot of Bush-Wookies (people who sit in bushes with a sniper rifle close to an open area waiting for players) so be careful. Just because you can’t see someone, doesn’t mean they’re not there.
Safest route round the map is the far-exterior wall (though come in 5-10 metres from it), but be aware you may run head-first into other players with the same idea.
If you’re after Scav kills (and you will be for a number of missions) you’ll want to patrol the Scav checkpoint, construction site, beach and Scav island, nipping into harbor offices depending on your threat assessment at the time (basically the whole top edge of the map). There’s also 8 easy stashes you can hit on that path to top up your loot.
Svetliy (a village to the far east of the map) has lots of coats on coat hooks. Coat hooks = keys. Some keys are worth in excess of 6 million. Find the keys. Get the moneys. Buys the Vodkas.
Best bet would be a semi-auto rifle, so an SKS, AKM or if you’re a good shot; a Mosin. You’ll want at least a 4x scope and ideally an option for close range too if you’re planning to go into Svetliy or Harbor. Pistols or SMG’s work well here. Even when I’m max-level and money is no longer an object for me, I’ll still resort to an SKS for this level; unless I’m hitting Resort, in which case I’ll take an AR with fire select and variable scope.
My joint-favourite map. It routinely see’s the highest player counts and is crammed full of Scavs. The loot isn’t as good as other maps (Dorms, and the red-rebel spawns aside), but you’ll get lots of kills and it’s just a great, fun map.
This map is basically a long corridor, albeit with 3 main routes. You’ll usually start at either Big Red (the literal big red ‘Customs’ warehouse in Customs) or by ZB-011 and the fuel storage silos. Your extract will then be the one you didn’t spawn at (Scav spawns and extracts may vary).
Main landmarks will be the river nearer Big Red, which has 3 main crossings- the bridge, the junk bridge by it, or the land bridge further south. The bridge is by FAR the safest, somewhat counter-intuitively.
Past that, you’ve got the woods or the ‘construction site. Dorms are in the wooded area and it’s also your access to the back of customs- and probably the safest area in the map if you’re wounded or low on ammo.
Between Construction and the wooded area is Gas Station- which the map kind of funnels you through and it’s a natural choke-point. The Scav boss Reshala (and his bodyguards) will either spawn here, or at Dorms. Gas Station gets significantly more ‘lively’ if he’s present.
After that you’ve got the Scav checkpoint and the silo’s, ZB11 extract and the far wall.
Cuustoms is getting another huge expansion to it in the coming weeks with the next patch. Ill probably do a specific post on that, but be aware that there will be differences to what we’ve detailed here.
This is a great level to learn as you start playing the game. Get through Prapor’s quests early on (which will see you spending a lot of raids on shoreline first) and then come to Customs to learn the AKS-47U which in my opinion is one of the best early-game guns. Spend time exploring the buildings near the silo’s- one has two weapons crates inside (on the top of gantry’s) which have a chance of spawning high-end loot. There’s also a blue van with two computers in the back that have a reasonably high chance of spawning a flash drive; you’ll need those for a mission.
We also have Old gas station (not to be confused with the Gas station we mentioned earlier). It is in a dead-end portion of the map and can spawn rare items on the table inside. There’s also a hidden med-bag out back and directly next to that is the ‘giving tree’. Take a guess as to why it’s called that.
There’s plenty of cover on this map, so you can afford to be less cautious when moving- but beware the choke points; they’re great places for an ambush and REALLY bad places to be ‘caught’ at.
Best bet for this map will be one with a decent fire select- so semi and full auto. There are enough ‘longer’ areas to make taking that accurate shot important- but more often than not your engagements will be under 100 metres, so anything from an SMG (MP5, MPX, MP7A-1) or early AR’s (AKS-74U) will see you well here. No point having any scope above 4x. 2x or standard optic will see you just fine.
This is where people come to learn how to fight. It’s almost all close-range, blind corners, and enclosed spaces. It’s a real meat-grinder and a well geared team can hold the top floor of the office building and dominate the entire map. It’s ridiculous fun trying to displace teams who have just done this.
You have two options, go in light and disposable (pistol, low-level body armour to account for lucky Scav shots, and painkillers), or FULL CHAD (and by that we mean fully geared with head-to-toe best armour you can afford). Anything in between is a waste. Warning, night raids in this level are pitch black, and I MEAN pitch black. You can get away without NVG’s/Lights on other maps, not this one.
Map’s aren’t really going to help you with this one given how complicated they are: I’ve yet to see a map that really lays it out well (though the one above is probably the best i’ve seen). It IS only a small map though, so I’d do a lot of offline runs with Scavs set to low AI and walk around it repeatedly until you get the gist.
Gate 3, which will be one of the few extracts open to you early-doors is towards the top of the map, far right, past office, under the bridge. Learn to tell the two sides of the map apart as they can initially feel quite similar and result in you heading the wrong way. I’d avoid the tunnels until you’re more comfortable with CQC (close quarters combat).
Grenades. Grenades. Grenades. Due to the enclosed spaces, grenades are ridiculously useful; especially if you need to clear the office. Face shields also, if available, should be worn as it’s likely to be your head that’s sticking out most the time.
Other than that, learn the map, learn the sounds (metal walkways and the sound of crunching tiles’ warns you of flanking enemies). And just get stuck in- you’ll die, a lot, but it’s a great crucible to learn how to fight.
If your’e there for a mission, don’t bother with meds, besides a bandage and painkiller. The Map’s so small you’re never far from extract and to be honest, you’ll either be able to walk out or you’ll have died in the battle anyway. If you’re there for kills, the opposite applies- you’re gonna want plenty.
Dealers choice. SMG’s work really well here, as do PDW’s (P90 etc). Shotguns too, come into their own, don’t dismiss them. A pistol will also get you pretty far if you’re bold enough. Main thing though is ammo choice- you need armour piercing as PMC’s will either be doing hatchling/pistol runs (no armour) in which case any bullet will do, or fully geared, in which case you’ll REALLY need armour piercing.
This is probably the most open map due to some of the very large spaces. It still has a number of features in it that will narrow your focus down and the ever-present foliage will restrict your view in places, but it really is a sniper’s paradise. Bush-Wookies are born here, shaped here, thrive here.
There’s enough ‘green’ cover to make traversing all but a few sections of the map relatively safe, but the central sawmill is where the best loot is and it’s also where the utterly lethal Sniper-Scav Boss Shturman tends to reside. As such you will tend to see a LOT of action in this area. The Sawmill also has plenty of raised areas overlooking it which only makes it more dangerous.
The spawns on this map are slightly more distributed than on other levels, so you’ll need to be able to identify your position quicker. There are a number of landmarks you can use to aid orienting yourself though.
If you see water, then you’re on the top edge of the map. If there’s a hill that slopes down to the right just past some cliffs (if you’re looking at the water) then you’re at the top left of the map. If you see a wall to your right and lots of trees, you’re on the top right of the map.
You can often spawn on the left edge, just away from the road that runs down this left side of the map. This is one of the more dangerous spawns- DON’T run straight across due to the previously mentioned bush-wookies. I’ve died here more than anywhere on the map (including Sawmill itself) so treat that whole expanse in the middle as a murder-field. instead go back across the road to the wall and follow it left. You can then follow the wall all around the map until you start to see the sniper mountain, road to sawmill and the back of Sawmill itself. There are plenty of Scav spawns on that route too to keep you occupied.
The other main place you can spawn is near the East gate, but by the wall there. You’ll recognise this as you’ll see a big rock in front of you, along with a bigger rock further away. Checkpoint is directly to your left (if the wall is on your right), and can have Scavs there.
Rarely you can also spawn down the bottom right of the map, but it’s relatively safe so long as you don’t blunder into Scav House.
Main points of reference therefore are going to be the wall, the water, the Sawmil and Scav house. Oh that and Scav sniper; you’ll know him when you see him. Once you can pin those down you should know where you are at all times.
Bring a ranged weapon. Again the good old SKS will serve you well here. Scoped Mosins are also positively lethal in woods. Silencers are recommended here though, not giving your position away is more inmportant given the lack of hard cover and the fact you’re probably just crouched in a bush... Don’t run at night unless you’re sporting thermals, which you won’t have, so just don’t.
The Scavs are usually in a number of set areas with pretty predefined patrol zones. Once you’ve learnt these it’s then only the players you really need to worry about.
That said, when around sawmill don’t stay still. Shturman is a ridiculously good shot so if you try and get a sniping position, make sure you’re concealed otherwise you’ll get your head blown off. He also has 2-3 raider bodyguards who have pretty effective mid-range AR’s. Unless you’re specifically going there for a fight, I’d avoid the area, at least until missions force you there.
OP-SKS with 4x and silencer. Scoped Mosin. AR’s at a push, especially if you’re going Shturman hunting, but otherwise Semi-Auto is the way to go on this map.
This is a big-old shopping mall. It has three levels, an underground parking lot, a huge outdoor area, a power station AND a mini construction site. There’s so much going on that it’s relatively easy to just charge into Interchange proper and not explore the grounds. There are loads of stashes hidden about, the Scav checkpoint usually has Scavs to kill and the Power Plant has a ton of loot and keys.
It’s currently my favourite map. Hands down. Oh, and Killa, the toughest Scav Boss who will actively hunt you down should he see you, buys his underwear here too.
The maps are a big help here. You’ll usually spawn within sight of interchange which will immediately tell you where you are in relation to the map. The main extracts are in the top left and bottom right of the map respectively and are very easy to find- be warned though, people tend to camp the Emercon extract (bottom right) looking for easy kills.
The two main supermarkets are colour coded for ease- OLI at the bottom (or far right of Interchange) is green and IDEA at the top (or far left or interchange). They’ll be the best places to ‘aim’ for when you’re trying to leave as it’ll put you relatively close to the relevant extract.
Inside each floor is basically a loop with central corridors, so you should be able to orientate yourself pretty quickly.
You’re going to want a BIG backpack as Interchange is positively crammed with loot. As usual there are a number of Scav spawns that can churn out a high number of enemies so whether farming the Scavs themselves or picking the shelves, you’re likely to come out with a tidy profit. IF you make it out.
I suggest trying to orientate yourself with the main central corridor (that has the escalators for each level) and then either OLI or IDEA, you’ll then have a good frame of reference for moving around. Make sure you check the shelves and mannequins in the stores as loot can spawn in the most random of places.
Oh, and if you spawn by power station- even if you’re not planning to loot it, run in and flip the power switch (it opens an internal extract), it’s considered good manners on the map. And as a Scav I’ve actually been ‘spared’ by a geared Squad for doing just that, they waved and then went on their own way.
Anything you want. The long corridors and close range shops allow you to pick the type of engagement you want and play to your strengths. People even get up into the rafters on the top floor and use sniper rifles.
I favour the SMG’s here, so either an MP5/X or my perennial favourite, the MP7-A1, but shotguns aside you really can’t go wrong here with pretty much any setup- as I said though, bring a big backpack.
This is one of the more advanced maps, and while I’d encourage you to play around with it as a Scav, though you’ll notice longer loading times, there’s a ridiculous amount of high-end loot here. Scavs have plenty of extracts, so the potential returns on this map are huge.
Given the high-end loot as well, you’ll see lots of high-level players here. And that’s before we even mention the Scav-boss Gluhar, his retinue of up to 6 bodyguards and the fact that Raiders (super tough, high-end geared Scavs) can spawn on the map as well.
It epitomises high risk high reward, with the added complication of difficult extracts, though personally I love fighting my way to, and through the train.
Radar dome dominates the map and will be pretty much visible wherever you spawn. That is north. Far right/east of the map you have the train station and the tank bunkers (where the hermetic door is). Far left/west you have a slightly open area and the larger barracks/dorms, alongside a massive Helocopter.
Radar has some buildings, an underground missile silo that’s incredibly good fun to explore (yes really) and also has pretty much unobstructed views of the entire map. You can, and will be killed by snipers from here, anywhere on the map; managing your sight-lines against this ever present threat should become second nature on this level.
There’s also a huge underground bunker network that was only just added and is almost as big as the overground side of the map. This is an incredible map, but I’d only recommend playing it as a PMC when you’re more comfortable with the game and ideally as a squad.
While this place is a gold mine for Scavs, as a PMC though it’s less clear cut as the extracts are a bit more involved than what you may be used to:
-Sewer extract you can’t get through with a backpack
-For Radar extract you need a red Pickaxe (Red Rebel) and a Paracord and you cant extract with body armour.
-There’s the train which appears once, usually when there’s 5-15 mins left in the raid and you have to be on it (and alive at when it leaves) to extract. This can get…. Crowded shall we say. I love it and it’s my preferred extract when I’m not carrying anything too valuable.
-There’s hermetic door, which requires you flipping a switch near the top of the map, and then running across the map to get to a door with very loud alarms blaring all over the map, telling people exactly where you’re going…..
There’s also a few other extracts that require cooperation with Scavs/players that I wouldn’t even think about. Not least because i’ve never got one to work.
Depends what you’re planning to do. The Sniper way of life is very viable here, so you can go full scoped, find an elevate position and have a relaxing raid. Or, you can patrol the buildings and open areas, in which case an AR with good ammo will work. If, like me though you like to live like a womble, then a PDW or fully modded SMG will serve you well. As with factory though, pay special attention to your ammo, it’ll matter here as everyone (even a lot of the Scavs) will be wearing at least level 4 armour.
We don’t go to labs.
You need a keycard just to enter it, it has the most complicated extracts of any map, has very tough raiders patrolling at all times and is the playground of the high-level super-rich players.
It’s not possible to offline run or enter as a Scav either, and insurance doesn’t work on the map.
We don’t go to labs. I’d leave it.
aaaaand that’s it. Great! Next is Part 3 where we cover the economy, traders and missions; make sure not to miss it!
Remember, if you want to see me play Tarkov, or have questions you want to ask come drop by when I stream at Twitch.Tv/Spats1e