Last Updated on Samuel Franklinby
BEAR or USEC – Escape From Tarkov Change Faction
What exactly does BEAR or USEC offer in Escape From Tarkov and can you change faction? Learn more about the Tarkov factions, their lore and ultimately which one should you choose for your playthrough. Selecting your faction is the first of many Tarkov decisions that you’ll make and one that can be confusing to new players.
While not all the faction mechanics are currently implemented in Escape From Tarkov we’ll discuss both the current and upcoming impacts of your choice of PMC faction.
Escape From Tarkov Change Faction
Before reading on it’s important to note that it is currently impossible to change faction in Tarkov without resetting your account which clears all of your progress. However, players can change their faction between Tarkov wipes which gives you the opportunity to play as the other side and experience the differences. For those that don’t mind losing progress on their account to change faction this is done through the Escape From Tarkov website.
BEAR vs USEC – Background and Lore
Both the BEAR and USEC factions have their place in the lore of Escape From Tarkov and if you find yourself being a roleplaying focused player this may guide your choice of starting faction. This is most evident in some of the Tarkov quests that require collection of specific USEC or BEAR dogtags. While there are no limits on the weapons you can use based on your faction choice a number of roleplaying content creators have forced this upon themselves by only using weapons linked to their PMC faction.
For BEAR (Battle Encounter Assault Regiment) this means playing as a private military force with the backing of the Russian government and contains ex-special forces operatives from across the Soviet countries as they attempt to breakdown the Terra Group activities.
For USEC (United Security) these represent forces hired by Terra Group and defend their illegal activities from prying eyes (such as BEAR) serving as the private military arm of the company.
BEAR vs USEC – PMC Character Customisation
Beyond lore the choice of BEAR or USEC impacts on your characters visual design although these are currently fairly basic they have received some attention from BattleState Games during 2020 and 2021. Currently each faction has the choice of 4 head models and 3 different voice line packs with all of these faces shown below.
The USEC faces are (shown left to right below): Foreman, Hudson, Taylor and Mullen with voices: Chris, Michael and Josh.
The BEAR faces are (shown left to right below): Volkov, Vasilyev, Kulikov and Gavrilov with voices: Mikhail, Aleksandr and Sergei.
Your choice of faction also impacts your spoken language for the voice lines with BEAR speaking Russian and USEC speaking English. In practice this rarely matters as communication with random players in Tarkov is highly unlikely so the advantage of being able to speak English in game is not significant.
BEAR vs USEC – Starting Items
Only recently implemented in Escape From Tarkov is different starting items based on your choice of USEC or BEAR. All of these are declared on the official Tarkov pre order page and depend on your selected Tarkov edition. These are mostly balanced with equivalent rigs and backpacks regardless of your choice but there are some differences worth noting (BEAR/USEC):
- Knife (6h5 Bayonet or ER Fulcrum Bayonet)
- Headsets (Gssh-01 or Walker’s Razor)
- Submachine guns (PP-19 or MP5)
- Pistols (MP-443 Grach or M9A3)
- Assault rifles (AK-74M or Colt M4A1)
- Grenades (F-1 or M67)
- Alcohol (Tarkovskaya vodka or Dan Jackiel Whiskey)
- Armours (6B13 Assault or Highcom Trooper)
- Helmets (Ratnik-BSh or UNTAR)
- Armoured rigs (ANA Tactical M1 or Crye Precision AVS)
Depending on your weapon preferences most players prefer the USEC starting equipment as the M4A1 is a high meta weapon that feels familiar to veteran players. That being said though early gear quickly slips through all players hands so this is not a significant advantage.
BEAR vs USEC – Clothing
Ragman offers players dozens of clothing customisation during the mid to late game for Roubles or completion of Tarkov quests. These are different for USEC and BEAR so the fashion minded player might have a faction preference for this reason. The fantastic Tarkov wiki stays regularly updated on the faction tactical clothing options if you want to see the options before choosing your Tarkov faction.
BEAR vs USEC – Skills
Escape From Tarkov intends to give BEAR and USEC unique skills to help inform their playstyle but are not currently implemented. While these skills are not currently implemented the skill names give some insight for the plans of BattleState Games with USEC having a tactical focus while BEAR specialises in the AK platform and raw power.
The planned BEAR skills are:
- AK Systems
- Assault Operations
- Heavy Caliber
- Raw Power
The planned USEC skills are:
- AR Systems
- Deep Weapon Modding
- Long Range Optics
BEAR vs USEC – Factions
The eventual vision for Escape From Tarkov includes a number of other game factions which will react to players differently if encountered in a raid based on their choice of USEC or BEAR on account creation. With the introduction of Lighthouse in patch 12.12 the Rogue faction on that map will not engage USEC players as fast or as far away as BEAR players which does give you some additional map freedom. While this sounds hardly game breaking with Rogues being deadly at hundreds of metres away and using mounted weapons it can definitely allow a USEC player to pay less attention to their positioning as they move around the edges of Rogue controlled area.
BEAR vs USEC – Conclusion
Given all the above most players in the Tarkov community are opting to play as USEC given the benefit provided on the Lighthouse map although prior to this there was no clear choice on the USEC vs BEAR debate as it previously provided little impact on your Tarkov gameplay experience. While you can’t change faction in Escape From Tarkov even factoring in the Lighthouse advantage players need not stress about the impact on their gameplay at this stage.