Content of the article: "A Rat’s Introduction"
Greetings youngling, and welcome to Tarkov. You will find this city to be a place of adventure, of riches to be had and glory to be won. It is also a place brimming with dangers and one in which we are all destined to die.
As you enter this world, you will have to choose a Way. Perhaps glory will be your driving force, and the furious abandon of the Chad will be your Way. Maybe a trusted rifle and a comfortable vantage point suits you better. Or maybe you want riches, maybe you want to grow fat on the spoils of war–if that is the case, I hope you will seek the knowledge found in The Way of the Rat and not find yourself led astray by false forms of Ratting.
However, before you can fully understand the Way, you must begin your journey. Therefore, in order to help you take these first most crucial steps, allow me to offer you some gentle guidance on a few key topics.
In your earliest days, armor will be scarce. This will mean that you will be fast and quiet, able to run and hide, but this also means that you will be vulnerable to effectively any gunfire. With this in mind, be willing to buy armor as it is available, but do not waste too much money on it early.
At level 2 Peacekeeper you will be able to buy a Level 3 UNTAR, which is brightly colored but reasonably durable against most scav attacks. This armor will need a rig to go with it.
At level 1 Ragman, you can buy a PACA. This armor will slow hits from buckshot and pistols, but not much else. It is better than nothing, but if money is tight forgoing this for an unarmored run is not especially risky compared to wearing it. This too needs a rig to go with it.
Level 2 Ragman provides you access to the 6B3TM-01M which is the ideal Rat Run Rig. This is an armored rig, so it provides you with storage slots as well as armor. It is level 4 protection, so it can stop hits up to mid tier ammo, and it repairs well so when it takes damage you can fix it and reuse it multiple times. Being able to purchase this for less than 50K makes it a strong return on a low investment.
As for repairing armor, keep in mind the cost of the repair compared to the cost of new: if you can buy a brand new armor for 100K and the cost to repair yours is 80K, is it really worth it? This depends on the final durability after the repair, and is something you must not forget if you wish to maximize your profit.
On that note, I would also suggest that even once you have the flea open, you not buy armors that are at lower than 90% durability, and not run armors that are less than 80%. At that point you are spending money to keep an armor alive that is no longer helping to keep you alive, which is a waste. Sell it off as a refund and buy new.
A good helmet can save your life. Most of the time, it will not. When found, these items can certainly be used, but just as well may be sold. When you have an abundance of cash, these items can be bought and used. When money is tight, or maximum profit desired, do not spend money on helmets: they are an expensive investment that has a low return rate.
Whenever possible, make sure to wear a balaclava of some kind. The skin tones of our PMCs can be quite visible even when hiding, so darkening up with a ski mask can offer you a good deal of protection from spying eyes.
Headsets/comtacs are extremely useful. If you are wearing a helmet, these are an absolute must. However, if you have no helmet, you can get by without them. If you are wearing a helmet that cannot have comtacs under it, then unless you are part of a team where others are doing your listening for you I would suggest removing that helmet.
There are several headsets in the game. The GSSH is effectively garbage and never worth wearing. The rest are usable, and which is "best" is a matter of preference. I tend to stick with the Sordins: these have good sound quality and fit under most of the helmets that allow headsets. Coming in around 27K they are not too expensive, and the return on investment is generally always good.
One warning: wearing glasses may make you look sexy, but they are often visible at long range, even through fog or light cover. Be warned, dear Rat, that Peacocks make fantastic targets.
In many cases, especially early in the game, removing your melee weapon can be a good idea. Any melee weapon found can then be saved even through death and when trying to make money early you can save the brown handled knives to trade (8) for an MP5, effectively allowing you to collect a free SMG periodically which keeps you in the game with less investment needed.
Pistols are an accessory for wealthy players, replacing the melee weapon as an emergency tool. Some Rats may choose to run just a pistol, allowing them to combat scavs and throw Hail Mary's at players, and this is viable but risky, especially given that you must survive to sell on the flea market which is where the biggest money is.
Red dots make aiming much, much easier. At level 1 Prapor the dovetailed cobra or the PSO scope, both of which are dovetail mounted and quite effective for a reasonable cost. At level 2 Prapor the non-dove tailed cobra is available. These sights help quite a bit.
Skier level 1 sells the NcStar blue laser, which is an easy to use and cheap laser sight, which can help with aim quite a lot, and at level 2 he sells you the bastion dust cover for AK's allowing more sights to be installed.
These early options for modding guns taken from raid or purchased can help maximize your potential when you do have to fight.
More important than what gun you are using is what ammo you are using. Ammo determines damage, ammo determines armor penetration. Ammo wins fights. To help ensure that you know what ammo is best, use The ammo chart provided by NoFoodAfterMidnight and select an ammo that is available to you for the least amount of money with the most amount of utility.
For 5.45 I recommend BP, or PP when that is not available. BT is superior, but gives away your position. BS and Ignolik are expensive, and often overkill, so should be sold early for profit and run late for pleasure.
In the 7.62×39 range, BP is king, but PS is cheaper and reasonably effective. Other rounds are mostly not worth it.
For 9×19, PST GZH is the way to go when running budget, AP 6.3 otherwise.
9×18 is mostly flesh damage until you get to the expensive rounds, and even these are quite poor for penetration. If you find yourself using this caliber, aim for the face if its exposed or the legs otherwise.
7.62 x 54R 7N1 is arguably the most dangerous round, but LPS GZH is highly effective and available sooner.
7.62 x 51 M61 is the murder round, but M80 is very effective and much cheaper.
There are of course other calibers and many guns, but these are your core ammo types, so learn these first that you may always have a solid foundation to return to.
My friend, there is of course much, much more that could be discussed. Yet the point is to play the game, to make the journey for yourself. Above you will find the tools to begin that journey with a good idea of at least how to walk. If you begin to look into the Way, you will learn how to think while walking your path. Regardless, experience will teach you more about yourself than a simple letter ever could.
Yet I am inclined to offer one last thing, a brief taste of the thought process the Way may offer.
Earth advises us to be strong and fruitful, to understand that less may grow to be more as the acorn grows into the oak. While those seeking glory will risk it all for a single, valuable treasure a rat may safely collect many small returns to combine into a large pay day. Many small returns with few losses is profit, whereas many big losses with a single jackpot is likely breaking even at best.
Air teaches us how to move. When in hiding, be as still as the wind on a calm day. When in motion, blow and flow around, moving steadily but drifting to evade the aim of the enemy.
Water shows us to be prepared, to produce form through equipment and planning. Water alone will spread thin and evaporate, but water contained will always have use and purpose.
Fire is the essence of the kill, and teaches us to never stop burning until the last, and to consume all that stands before us. To wound a foe but not kill him is to invite death, to destroy him utterly will bring you wealth.
The Void must be thought deeply on, but for the novice it is sufficient to say always be aware of what you know. See with your eyes, hear with your ears, and know. When you do not know, you still know that you do not know, which means you ought to know what to do, or at least what you can do.
And there, my new friend, I shall leave you for now. If ever you which to speak more, you have but to write me and our correspondence shall continue. Else-wise I shall step aside and let you begin your own journey in Tarkov.
Good luck, New Jack, and God's Speed.
Your Humble Rat.
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