Escape from Tarkov

10 Lessons for Newbie Rats

I'm by no means an authority on ratting. Much less one on the topic of stomping the map like a chad to the sight and sound of lead and lasers, but I am a new player and, most importantly, a rat if there is one. I'm not here to reveal any mystery or secret. In fact, I'm not here to really speak as a teacher, despite calling my points "lessons". The reason I'm here is because, going from zero to slightly-above-zero, I've noticed there a few many things that can help out anyone who's trying to play Tarkov the stealthy way. Whether you do it out of cowardice, safe reliability, training for eventual chadhood or just fun, I believe the following tips should go a long way in helping you get in touch with your inner rat – the one we all have inside. This is mostly meant for solo players who play the Rat way, especially in a peaceful manner, but many of these tips are more universal in character.

ONE: The Rat is wise and clairvoyant

No rat, newbie or not, can be successful if their intent is to head in blind. Chads need the map, loot and weapon knowledge quite a lot, but the Rat deploys it in a different way. Where the Chad seeks to be on the assault, the Rat is in a constant state of stealth, and strikes out of strategy, not bloodthirst.

As a Rat, you must know the maps like the back of your four legs and tail. You must know exactly where the Chad, or fellow Rats, could be lurking in the corner you're just now turning. BSG has designed maps with great detail and depth, and it's up to you to know exactly what to expect from them: a Rat is never, ever disoriented. Learn the loot, as it will make you spend less time selecting it, and packing just what you need. Learn the technicalities of the engine's spatial sound, including headsets and silenced weapons, as you'll need it to remain as silent as you wish to be at all times.

TWO: The Rat is the beginning, the Rat is the end

Both Chads and Rats should engage in combat when it's fitting, though it's more likely to see a Chad wandering into a firefight than a Rat. However, the Rat can, too, open fire; if, and only if, they believe they can be both the beginning and the end of the fight. It doesn't matter if it's a one-tap or a 5-minute struggle. The Rat engages when they know it's already decided. Of course, you may wonder how any type of player can know that. None can, but some are more certain than others about the fights they pick. In your case, Rat, you must be the type that does everything to have as much control as possible. As such, you must observe closely, ensure the prey is alone, and make use of the right opportunities to strike. Have you got a way out? How safe is it? What if you were to miss? Do you have another bullet? Is there a high chance this would happen? Don't saturate your mind with questions, either. The Rat also follows their gut. In fact, the more you play, the more these questions will be less of a conscious thing, and more of an instinct.

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THREE: The Rat is ready to be caught

Obviously, as a Rat, you want to minimize the possibility of getting caught. Especially if you're a pacifist, as you may not be confident in or all around willing to engage. However, don't fall for the mistake of thinking getting caught is the end. As you move through the map, you should know which are your best ways to defend yourself specifically where you are, and how you can exit if you need to. You must be aware of your vulnerability not only to prevent it, but to survive it if you need to. The Rat is closer to Tarkov pacifism than the Chad, but do not neglect your duty as a scav/PMC, and plan ahead how to put a bullet in whoever tries to ruin your stealth.

FOUR: The Rat is a finder, the Rat is a keeper

You must be an expert at knowing where to look, what to look for and how to look for it. Don't forget to crouch when you loot, and, if you're out in the open or in a place where your legs won't stick out, prone. To prone while looting a crate, box, etc., press the interact button and immediately go prone while the loot tab opens. As said above, you must know what you're looking for, and whether you're doing a good job at finding it. Don't stick around too long, either. A Rat is a mobile looter, gone before anyone can hit the same spot and find them.

FIVE: The Rat isn't a turtle

Of course, you can crawl through the entirety of Customs. Should you, though? The sound indicator may tell you that you're being loud, but minimizing this can make you a far greater target than you think. I know this point –like many others here, actually– may sound redundant to experienced players, but do remember this is a post for aspiring Rats. I see too many of them, even among my friends, thinking slow means quiet, and quiet means forever unseen. Following your map knowledge, know when you can run, when you must walk or crouch and where you may not do any of these things. There's a time for every action, and a Rat, like a Chad, must know when to carry out the right move for the right moment.

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SIX: The Rat is patient, but opportunistic

Sure, you can be the absolute rat and go for a raid at Customs, sit in a bush until the 15-20 minute mark and have the place for yourself. However, you'll miss out on (most) scavs, a good portion of the (static) loot and so on. The knowledgeable Rat doesn't need to hide away until the baddies go, because they know their way around the baddies. Don't be afraid, on the other hand, to wait as part of this strategy. Like we said before, you must be observant, and know when the day is yours. Strike the balance between safety and risk, and tread that line. Tarkov is a high risk = high reward game, and that means the greatest opportunities will never be "safe" by nearly any standard.

SEVEN: The Rat is nimble and agile. Also naked.

Do not tank as a Rat, especially if you're a newbie. Only experienced, veteran Rats are capable of answering back in full force as if turned into a Chad. Most of the time, you won't be seeing much value in carrying high tier armor around if you intend to go the stealthy, peaceful way. Do have space for your loot, and carry at the very least basic protection against scavs, but if your playstyle is anything like a pacifist ghost, you will not want to be encumbered by armor plates and what's not. Additionally, because you may be used to the combat style described before or simply avoiding fights, it may not save your life as much as you think it could.

EIGHT: The Rat blends into the landscape

Know where you can hide and where you can't. No matter if it's to prepare a strike or to avoid combat, know which types of places offer you good cover. In this sense:

DO HIDE: in large bushes, prone in high areas that aren't exposed by other high areas, in tall grass, among VARIOUS dead bodies and in pitch-black shadows. However, if you choose to hide in bushes, crouch if they're tall enough, and prone if they're wide enough. Do not have your weapon drawn if you do, as it will occupy more space. In fact, if you do this while hiding among the dead, you will be identifiable as a live player. Don't rely on the shadows if they're minimal, and only make use of them if you're positive no one will be carrying night vision or better, and they can hide your movement or, at the very least, presence.

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DO NOT: commit any of the above mistakes, but, additionally, hide near trees (you are very visible to snipers), on the slope of hills, right under windows or just by their side, in one-way or two-way areas if avoidable, etc. The list is endless, as there are infinite places you should just not rat at.

NINE: The Rat smells other Rats

Don't just prepare for the Chad 5-man stampede. Be aware of other Rats using the same tactics you are, and develop a counter-strategy to whatever strategy you're using. If you know a route, know its weaknesses: not just to avoid them as you go, but to exploit them as the other does. In the end, while the community may claim Chads and Rats are absolute enemies, they hate and kill their own kind just as mercilessly.

TEN: The Rat and the Chad are the ends of the spectrum

As a newbie with a thing for tense, immersive stealth, Tarkov rat life may be your thing. However, don't forget to try the straight opposite, and play Chad with friends. This will not only help you learn to play that way, but also learn how the enemy does, thereby making your rat playstyle better. There is no disadvantage in trying new things in Tarkov, and all players, regardless of their strat, should be encouraged to mix and match and find their place in the Rat-Chad spectrum. And, even if you're at the very end of the Rat side, don't forget to learn first-hand, and, most importantly, to have tons of fun.


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