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3 Best PMC Escape From Tarkov Maps For Beginners (2021) – Tarkov Guide
Learn the 3 best Escape From Tarkov maps for beginners and new players to set you up for success in the deadly multiplayer world of Tarkov. With over 500 hours of Tarkov (see my Tarkov survivor stats at the end of this page) I’m here to share my new player suggestions on what is the best map to start on Tarkov and specialise in if I was to start from scratch. These suggestions can also be useful after a Tarkov wipe when you are looking to regain your stash value while answering the question of the best Tarkov map for beginners.
Escape From Tarkov can be a brutal experience for new players with a steep learning curve made even tougher by the no mercy playstyles of long-standing players and the gear you’ll lose in the process. Your best defence as a new player is to carefully pick a map where you can start to play on your own terms and avoid significant PvP action. Be it acquiring loot to build a healthy stash, farm Scavs for combat practice or take advantageous PvP fights when they present themselves these 3 maps will see you through your early noob levels of Tarkov as a PMC. Once you master these I’d recommend moving onto Tarkov maps for loot and Scav runs.
If you’ve recently been asking yourself what map should beginners start with on Tarkov then I recommend Customs, Interchange and Shoreline (read on to find out why, key locations and unique tips for each map). I suggest you also consult the vast map information on the Escape from Tarkov wiki while reading the below as the maps from the community will prove invaluable in addition to the basic ones here. By layering this with careful choosing the time of your raid (transitions to day and night time are often most quiet) you can load into quiet Tarkov servers and reduce PvP further.
3 – Customs
Ranked number three on my recommendation for Tarkov beginner maps is Customs, an industrial themed map with difficult choke points for new players. While one of the more dangerous maps for combat given the large number of early quests that are based here beginners will not want to entirely ignore Customs given how vital quests are to your PMC character level and thus unlocking flea market and trader access alongside a sense of accomplishment.
Accordingly you’ll want to sprinkle in some Customs raids in between my second and first suggestions to slowly build map familiarity and make progress towards your core quests. The map layout is also one of the easier ones to learn due to its basic design and size compared to other game maps (except for Factory). In terms of loot Customs is squarely in the middle offering neither the best or worst loot of the Escape From Tarkov map pool meaning there is enough to offset your deaths in the long run but won’t be making you rich in Roubles.
Key Customs Locations (Marked Above)
- Big Red: A hot spot for combat during the early to mid stages of a Tarkov wipe and in the first 5 minutes of a raid in particular due to the focus on quests and spawn points in this area. As a beginner you’ll want to avoid this area entirely (unless trying to complete the quests located there) as the multiple entry points and low concentration of loot means there is little purpose to fighting here. If you do find yourself spawning here as a PMC your best bet is to move across to RUAF roadblock quickly.
- RUAF Roadblock: Serving as a sometimes open extract this high point of the map can be deadly to those crossing the river below. It’s proximity to two hidden stashes/caches makes it an attractive option to loot on your way but should be carefully cleared of Scavs first with as many as 5 spawning here while also being generally low on PMC as traffic as they tend to take the Northern routes.
- Construction: A common through area that is also home to two deadly sniper Scavs on that map and several Scav spawns in general. With lots of entry and exit points it can be deadly so new players will be based placed to hug the back wall while moving through this location with relative pace.
- Dorms: The focus point of the entire Customs map due to the abundance of loot, the Scav boss spawn (Reshala) and the multitude of quests stacked on top of each other. As a new player this location is best avoided entirely and if you have to venture here for a quest you should run down the raid timer and aim to complete your quest when there are only 10-15 minutes left in the raid which will still allow you to extract.
- New Gas Station: Another deadly spot for beginners and should be avoided where possible by going North through the wooded areas. Loot here is fairly low but it does serve as a secondary Scav boss spawn that can attract players to compound the threat to new players.
- Factory: An often overlooked location that hides a reasonable amount of loot and particularly 3 hidden stashes/caches in a small area for some quick and easy loot. Playing slow through this area is still recommended though as it has one of the always open PMC extracts (ZB-1011) and has several Scav spawns that can catch you without cover.
- Old Gas Station: A nice tucked away area that can be good to visit early to mid raid as you’ll often find 2 to 3 Scavs spawned here along with important food, weapon and medical items that are important to a new PMC. Just be sure not to spend a significant amount of time here as it only has a single entry/exit point and is sometimes a PMC extract that entices players towards it in the mid to late raid time.
General Customs Tips
- Beware of Sniper Scavs: It’s not uncommon to have 3 deadly sniper Scavs spawn in on Customs and in Escape From Tarkov they can quickly end your raid. To make matters worse they have fantastic sight lines over locations such as Construction, New Gas Station and the nearby Shipyard next to Old Gas Station. These spawns should always be checked by beginner and veteran players before moving into their line of sight and makes a mid range capable weapon important on any Customs raid to shoot them before they see you.
- Careful For Map Hot Spots: At some point on Customs you’ll unfortunately have to head into some hot spots noted above for questing. When this time comes your best bet is either night time raids or waiting out til the later raid stages (10 or 15 minutes left) before moving in and securing your objective.
- Start Slow: Customs has some of the ugliest PMC spawn locations of all Escape From Tarkov maps with several right on top of each other that veteran Tarkov players have memorised. Your best bet in most situations is to bunker down in a defensible position for the first 5-10 minutes as you let the chaos happen around you while also putting you in a strong spot to defend any spawn rushers. The only exception to this would be the previously mentioned Big Red spawns as you are generally better off moving out of the area while you can as it is difficult to find a secure location.
2 – Interchange
Offering a larger map and significantly more loot Interchange can be a profitable map for both PMC and Scav runs once mastered. The size and detail of the map does add in significant complexity for new players but by focusing on key areas on the lower side of PMC traffic you can still have a successful and profitable raid making it a Tarkov best map for beginners. There are only a few early quests based on Interchange though so Interchange will predominately be about funding your adventures on other maps.
Key Interchange Locations (Marked Above)
- IDEA: One of the main store locations on the side of Interchange and near the Power Station IDEA has a large concentration of cash registers (Key to IDEA cash register required) to give you raw Roubles that can easily be placed into a secure container allowing you to turn some profit even if you die in the process. IDEA also generally has the lowest traffic of all the main store areas allowing you to sweep through and pickup the random loot and hardware items that are littered throughout.
- OLI: Quite possibly the most popular of the large stores OLI is famous for a range of vital quest and hideout items along with a healthy amount of computer spawns. It’s rare that you’ll be able to visit OLI uncontested unless it is late into a wipe and shouldn’t be lingered in for long or out right avoided in most cases. With locations for popular smaller stores just outside of OLI such as Texho, Rasmussen, TechLight and Ultra Medical it’s also a regular transition zone for other PMCs. Of all the larger stores OLI generally seems to have the greater chance of Scav spawns although these are small in number.
- GOSHAN: With a massive 27 cash registers GOSHAN provides plenty of Roubles for those that want to take the time and risk to loot them all (Key to Goshan cash register required). GOSHAN is not shy on loose loot either and even has several crates worth looting along with a convenient back entrance to get you into the parking garage underneath and out through the Hole in Fence extract although this requires no backpack.
- Power Station/Plant: A fantastic location to grab computer, hardware and jacket loot the Power Station is a common stop for a lot of PMCs and worth looting if you spawn close to it and carefully listen out for incoming PMCs. Leveraging the roof and elevated platform inside can be a good way to control this corner of the map with the reasonable long sight lines as well. If looting this area turning the power via a switch inside can often be an advantage as in most cases it will encourage PMCs to venture inside Interchange to access special power on only areas which are more lucrative than chasing the PMC that just turned the power on. This is also a potential spawn location of Scavs who can often appear in deadly groups of 4 in this area.
- Central Escalators: The location of Interchange’s Scav boss known as Killa and several high value stores this area should be outright avoided by new players including the second floor above it. These areas in the centre of the map also have high concentrations of regular Scavs (both player and AI).
General Interchange Tips
- Beware of Scavs & Killa: With the complexity of Interchange Scav spawns and movement can be quite sporadic unlike other maps where they are more consistent which makes Scavs a deadlier threat. In addition Killa is a deadly foe on Interchange and given his relentless charging and high armour is often a death sentence to new players that catch his sight.
- Carefully Extract: One of Interchange’s greatest weaknesses is the available extracts which are severely limited in comparison to other maps. This means the chances of finding someone moving to the same extract as you or in the worst case camping the extract is significantly higher. When moving to the Emercom and Railway extracts players should carefully hug the walls and scout the area for lurking PMCs.
- Hidden Stashes/Caches: Interchange has a high concentration of hidden stashes/caches which make them a viable alternative to entering the larger complex during a raid. Learning a few of these near both sides of the map can quickly turn a profit due to the low risk and rare loot that these can contain and allow you to extract before anyone else.
1 – Shoreline
Despite the quests of Customs and the loot of Interchange I find Shoreline to be the best Tarkov map for beginners looking to learn the game on their PMC character. So why Shoreline? Most importantly you’ll find clearly defined points of interest that make learning the map and Scav spawns easier. In addition the Resort in the centre pulls the vast majority of PMCs towards it ensuring you can have free reign of the other locations and the associated loot. These locations are not short on loot either which are bolstered further by the insane amount of hidden stashes/caches across the map which will pay dividends to memorise and can spawn the majority of important and lucrative items that Tarkov has to offer making it the best map to start on Tarkov newcomers.
Key Shoreline Locations (Marked Above)
- Resort: The hottest location in all of Shoreline due to the high tier loot hidden behind the locked doors. With the right keys this can be a gold mine of loot as either a pistol running or highly geared PMC. This attraction to the resort is what makes the rest of Shoreline such an open field for beginners and thus the Resort should be avoided by new players entirely. While Shoreline itself is a great map for beginners this location in particular should be avoided.
- Power Station: Another central point of the map the Power Station is a regular spawn for 3 or 4 Scavs and a sniper Scav that looks in all directions. Combined with the hardware and jackets here this is a reasonable spot to visit but should be seldom sat at for long as its a common crossing point between the sides of the Shoreline map.
- Gas Station & Pier: Closer to the shore is the Gas Station and Pier which are similar to Power Station in terms of loot quality, Scav spawns and PMC traffic. The overlooking hills make this a great place to pick off Scavs at a distance but does mean this location is on the higher risk side once you move into either of these locations yourself so move carefully.
- Weather Station: A fantastic over looked location of Shoreline that hides medical loot, crates, and technical spawns. You are highly likely to find 1 or 2 Scavs here as well for some Scav shooting and this should be a priority point of interest for most new players.
- Crane: Lacks significant loot outside of several hidden stashes/caches in the vicinity (that should be learned) which means you will rarely find another PMC near here. As an added bonus this area has 2 or 3 regular Scav spawns for additional combat practice and experience making it a great stop on the way to Road to Customs extract.
- Village: Has a high density of duffel bags and jackets that makes it a fantastic opportunity to farm keys and general loot with limited chance of Scavs and PMCs (except in the early wipe phase). If you’re looking for relatively low risk money making method this is a must stop location in your Shoreline loot runs as keys can often sell for hundreds of thousands if not millions on the flea market.
General Shoreline Tips
- Learn The Hidden Stashes/Caches: With nearly 40 hidden stashes/caches located around Shoreline there is always an opportunity to loot some of these near your spawn point or on the way to the extract. Like Interchange these can be a powerful source of consistent loot without significant risk and can quickly fill up a backpack with goodies for a beginner.
- Bring A Rifle: With a number of hills overlooking key Scav locations (noted above) the longer range rifles are a must for clean Scav kills on Shoreline. Weapons like the AKM (also needed for Punisher Quest on Shoreline), Hunter, Mosin and SKS will serve you well against Scavs here.
While it might seem daunting to start your Escape From Tarkov journey by sticking to these best Tarkov maps for beginners and taking it slow you’ll be set to learn Scav mechanics, complete starter PMC quests and make some early Roubles in the process. Be sure to share your thoughts and ideas on the best Tarkov beginner and starter map or your own strategies in the comments below.