Escape From Tarkov can be intimidating. Not only because of the high-stakes gameplay, but also the way it’s all set up. There’s no real tutorial, so you’re never taught how to interact with the game’s systems, how to be successful in raids, or even how to execute basic controls.
Luckily (although it’s hardly an excuse for the developers), the community has stepped in to provide all sorts of tutorials, tips, and tricks for newcomers. But before you start worrying about hotkeys, or how to prioritize loot, or how to familiarize yourself with Tarkov’s various maps, it’s worth it to pop the hood and make sure you have the optimal settings for competitive play.
Optimized for Gameplay
Before we jump in, note that this article is geared toward improving performance and giving you an edge over your opponents. Making Tarkov as pretty as can be maybe a worthwhile goal, but that’s something you’ll have to investigate on your own time. That doesn’t mean you should turn all your graphics settings to the lowest they can go, necessarily. The goal here is to optimize performance and gameplay first and foremost, then to allow considerations for aesthetics.
Sound like a plan? Without further ado, let’s take a look at some graphics settings.
Turn this on in-game, and if you have an NVidia graphics card, turn off VSync on the Control Panel, allowing you to uncap your framerate for a much smoother experience.
Texture Quality: High
Keep this high, provided your computer isn’t ancient. It has a negligible impact on performance and will give a good deal of visual clarity.
Shadow Quality: High
This can drop FPS on specific maps and areas. Most of the time, high quality isn’t a problem, but it’s worth noting that there are exceptions. If these exceptions are a concern for you, drop Shadow Quality to Low.
Object LOD: 2.5
Huge for performance issues. Balance it with the quality in terms of spotting enemies, but if you’ve got significant framerate issues, this is likely the culprit. Setting it to 2.5 marks a good balance between spotting capability and framerate, while 2 is best for framerate.
Overall Visibility: 2,000
Despite its name, overall visibility tends to affect unimportant aspect of the environment, and isn’t very helpful for spotting enemies in most cases, which would be the major gameplay implication. However, certain maps will benefit from turning this up to 2,000. Weigh the importance of these factors, and either go for 2,000, or turn it down as much as possible.
Shadow Visibility: Low
Turning this up will darken certain areas considerably, making it harder to spot enemies. Turn it to the lowest possible setting.
Unlike many other games, antialiasing doesn’t affect framerate much, and it improves the visuals significantly without a major penalty. FXAA and TAA both come recommended by guides, so tailor it to your rig.
Resampling: 1x Off
it’s much prettier playing with this, but it also makes everything darker, harder to spot enemies. Not suitable for competitive play.
It doesn’t improve visuals hugely and is a big hit to framerate. Destroy it!
Anisotropic Filtering: Off
It’s a subtle effect, difficult to notice, not worth keeping on.
Adjust this to your tastes, but note that 1.1 and 2.2 both come recommended.
Lobby and Game FPS limit: Maximum
Set these to maximum (if you’re using the NVidia Control Panel trick, these will be removed anyway).
Other Settings: Custom
Z-Blur, Chromatic Aberrations, Noise, and Grass Shadows are all visual effects, none of which impact gameplay significantly. Turn them on if they fit your preferred aesthetic; otherwise, keep them off.
Those are the most important settings to consider, as they have the most significant impact on your performance in-game. However, there are a few odds and ends you might consider. For one, it may be worth it to set your screen mode to Borderless, if you expect to be Alt-Tabbing between the game and, say, a map of the area you’re raiding. This is also an issue that a second monitor or a nearby tablet could solve.
And if you’re having trouble hearing footsteps, one trick is to turn your interface volume as low as possible. The sound of magazines clicking into place, of packs rustling, of items being used, will all be reduced significantly, freeing you from distractions and allowing you to stay attuned to your surroundings.
Of course, each of these settings can be tweaked and messed with, depending on the power of your machine. Experiment in-game, determine your visual preferences, and find the combination of settings best suited to your PC build and personal preferences. And remember, whether you’re chugging through Tarkov on a cobbled-together, sparking scrap job, or you’re basking in the harsh beauty of Russia on a technological powerhouse, you’re probably still going to get your head blown off by some random Scav. Have fun out there!
Top 5 EFT Streamers and their settings:
Discover what settings that Escape from Tarkov pros are using.
Streaming from 2012 onwards, Jaryd “Summit1G” Lazar has garnered the reputation as a humorous and down-to-earth streamer. Humbly originating in the world of CS:GO, Summit1G has since expanded beyond his wildest dreams, and right into the spot as the #1 most watch Escape From Tarkov channel on Twitch.
Summit1G’s setup is something else, what with his two GTX 1080 Ti cards, 64gb of RAM, and his i9-9990XE CPU. This has allowed for the streamer to play long term his texture quality set to high + texture streaming, and still pulling some resourses for anisotropic filtering on a per texture basis. Though he could rather easily keep pushing the settings, he’s elected to stick within the settings we’ve described, which has made it easy for him to perform at the top of his abilities.
Starting ou making videos purely for the sake of it, Chris “Sacriel” Ball has since grown from nothing to now streaming 6 days a week in front of thousands of regular viewers. Growing and devloping the community he calls “The 42nd”, Sacriel has traversed the realms of WoW, PUBG, DayZ, and has now landed himself in Escape From Tarkov.
Though not without the means of Summit1G, Sacriel has elected to stay more along the reccomended lines and has only made some slight changes to deviate. With his GeForce 2080 Ti FE and 16gb of RAM, it’s likely that Sacriel could push his settings a bit more, but realitistically his only requirement of the game is to run it without any lag or delay. This means playing it safe, maybe with the exception of pushing his visibility a little higher than Summit1G had. However, one should keep in mind that Sacriel uses only one PC to both stream and game with.
Often considered a part of your friend group before being a paid entertainer, DrLupo is someone that many Twitch-goers tune into for the conversations more than the gameplay. Though it would be a misjudgment of character to say that DrLupo is without the skills necessary to dominate. How else would the Omaha streamer both befriend Ninja, and rise in the streaming world?
With his setup, DrLupo can afford to push tehe graphical qualities up quite a bit while also keepin ghis visibility higher as well. Though for his purposes, he’s elected to keep his Antialiasing at TAA, which helps him identify targets a bit easier. The only extreme oddity is DrLupo pushing his shadow visibility to the max. This arguably would allow for DrLupo to identify movement much easier, and recognize differetiations between shadows, but it’s not a necessity for success at EFT. DrLupo also utilizes a second computer that solely handles his streaming needs.
Herschel “Guy” Beahm IV, otherwise known as Dr Disrespect, is a stark counter culture character known for pushing hte boundaries of acceptance when streaming. Most know him for his character, and follows becasue of his gameplay. Showcasing a capability on many platforms, Dr Disrespect has gone from the days of H1Z1, to Fortnite, to now EFT.
Much like Summit1G, Dr Disrespect has the promise that utilizing two GeForce GTX 1080 cards can bring. Pushing his graphical qualities up to high for both texture and shadows ensures that his journey to Tarkov is nothing short of beautiful. Keeping at the lower antialiasing option of FXAA means that he’ll see more edges than the previous three but he’s traded edges for shadows. Setting his HBAO to high means that any changes in shadow position will be that much easier to spot.
Only fully committing to streaming in 2018, Paul “Pestily” has been through everything taht Escape From Tarkov has had to offer over the years. Being the most consistently with EFT, Pestily has essentially single-handedly created the loving and impassioned community that exists today. Pestily is also well known for his educating videos for getting starting in EFT.
If there’s anyone who knows the most of the computational workings of EFT, it’s Pestily. Being with the game since almost the beginning, Pestily has determined that for his rig of 64gb of RAM, a i9-9900K CPU, and a z390 Xtreme, he needs some high quality textures. Though not using a secondary PC for his streams, Pestily has opted for higher quality shadows and shadow visibility over intensive Ambient Occlusion and Antialiasing.
Other EFT streamers to look out for when it comes to well-informed settings.
Video: Escape From Tarkov Settings
More of a visual learner? Check out this excellent video detailing the best Tarkov settings: