We here at ESTNN don't support rat behaviour in Escape from Tarkov, we actively encourage it. Why pick fights and die trying, if you can avoid fights and even save some money on ammunition?
Enter the Rat Mindset
The concept of the Rat was once defined by Tarkov scholar General Sam, when he tried to sort the creatures of Tarkov into one of two camps: The Chad and the Rat. A Chad is commonly identified to as a player that knows no fear and is looking for a fight. They are as aggressive but slightly more reasonable than Tagilla. But only slightly.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have the Rat. The Rat is a foul creature, willing to sink to the lowest of lows to procure rubbles. Not matter what it takes. And the Rat has no shame in admitting that it's a Rat. It actually has a sense of pride over its chosen path and will continuously try to corrupt others to their way of life.
It is speculated that the Chat and the Rat are completely different species or Tarkov players, but that's a common misconception. They exist on a spectrum, and more experienced players will flip between those two playstyles on a dime. But there is those certain specimen that value honor and reputation. Like idiots! If you don't feel an antsy itch to wait out for the rest of the raid at your extract for a potential kill. Then you're wrong here, buddy! But give me some time and let me corrupt you. Because being a Rat is not just about hiding in corners and playing safe. It's about exploiting the goodwill of others!
Ratting for Beginners
If you're just starting out being a little rat, it is most important that you chose your territory wisely. Whatever map you pick, it'll be your bread and butter. You'll learn the ins and the outs, every little rathole, every stash location and every corner has to be second nature to you. Now, the typical rat will usually prefer smaller maps with lots of loot hotspots. Reserve, Customs, and Interchange are probably the most popular ones. Every spawn point has fast access to fat loot and there are many hidey holes to lay down in.
When you start into a raid, you want to go in with the bare necessities, so space that is eaten up by additional ammunition could be better filled with loot instead. So here's a little pro-rat tip. Get an SKS and only take 60 bullets with you. If you're just out to get rich, I guarantee you won't even go through those 60 bullets. Similar tactics can also be employed with shotguns. The type of ammunition you take with you, is after all way more important than how much you have of it. And should you be scared of losing those expensive bullets, you can always just keep them in your secure container.
While we are on the topic of equipment, you don't want to take stuff with you into the raid that just costs little and does effectively nothing. At least for your kind of playstyle when you want to avoid encounters all together. And try to get the drop on someone. So taking a helmet with you, might not always be the smartest move. Similarly, for armor, but you have to figure out for yourself what you are comfortable with. Of course, it's best to just run a cheap armored rig, because only in rare cases will someone actually loot them off you. Since players tend to go for equipment that's better than theirs.
On that note, you should also, probably, insurance scam as much as you can. I've been rotating the same 4 SKS's and chest rigs for a couple of days now. And if you find anything worth picking up and replacing them with, do it. You already paid for that insurance, might as well make use of it. I should also mention that when you are running with friends and they happen to die. No one has to know that you fleeced them for their gear, even if you swore you would hide it. It's just business, tell them you needed the rubbles.
Bring a foregrip or gas stopper with rails on them. They take up only one inventory slot and are usually pretty cheap. But you can throw several attachments on those bad boys, saving lots of space in your inventory. And on the topic of backpacks, consider running with something with medium size unless you have the money to spare. You can always upgrade in-raid by killing Scav's or other players. And if you happen to stand in a marked room, with no inventory space to spare early in the raid. Just wait, someone will come and check eventually. Probably already looted and with a nice backpack just for you.
Let's get into some of the more dirty tricks. You know, the kind that you should probably not brag about in the open. But who are we kidding here? You are proud of what you are. The dirtiest player in the game. Morals are optional, and the only limit here is your imagination. What makes you different from all those other PMC's and Scav's out there is your mind. That beautiful brain hidden behind your eyes solely focused on profit.
Proximity voice chat is a beautiful thing, it is probably one of Tarkov's best features. Make good use of it. You would assume that most players value their own life, no one wants to lose all that loot, right? And you can bet your butt that most players are probably as afraid of you, as you are of them. Make good use of this. Assess their gear, figure out how they might tick. I guarantee you, most players that don't look like a tank on two legs want to avoid dying of unnatural causes. Despite Tarkov's standout feature of being merciless, deep down every single one of us yearns for companionship.
You should make use of this, can you afford that there is someone who might have a GPU or an item case out there? Unless it's yours, you can't. Other players are loot piñata's and if you want to make a living in Tarkov, you can afford to treat them like human beings. So try to strike up a conversation, try to figure out where they went, what their gear is like. Maybe they need something to heal up. Painkillers or even one use of a CMS kit are a small price to pay for a dog tag and some loot.
Some players just make it easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. A small gesture can earn their trust and then when they are busy healing up or eating. Potentially after playing and chatting with them for a while, you hit them when they don't expect it. Why? Because that all they are to you, loot. And don't have any moral doubt either. It's a rat eat rat world out there and can you afford to be hungry? Probably, but why should you?
And if you spend any amount of time around the Tarkov community, you have probably already heard whispers about those spiteful creatures called ‘Exit-Campers'. The thing about exit camping is, that it's just not very time efficient. You can think about doing it while waiting for the timer of the raid. But potentially sitting somewhere for 10-20 minutes is no true rat behavior. Instead, we camp high loot areas and doors that need keys.
Now you probably know about the marked room in dorm's on customs, right? We could play ratty, run in there as fast as possible, camp the room opposite of the marked room and risk getting frisky with Reshala and the boys. But why do all the work when someone else can do it for us? So camp dorms instead, find a comfy bush to sit in and observe what's happening. Chances are, especially when no shots are fired near it, that someone will come through and loot. They might even take out all the Scavs and open the marked room with a key.
After looting, they'll probably try to leg it to the nearest exit. You wouldn't believe how many people stop checking their backs once they're filled up with loot. And all it takes then is to place a shot, lob a grenade, and all of that loot could be yours. Better yet, it'll most likely be pre-filtered and you don't have to go through the aggravating struggle of looting all those bodies and rooms yourself. You might miss out on some items, but the loot will come to you with express delivery.
Hopefully, you learned something here today. That the real difference between a rat and a chad is not what gear they run, or if they fight or not. The line is just a simple question of morality and how low you are willing to sink to procure rubbles. And at the end of the day, what can friendship and a good reputation buy you in Tarkov?
Hopefully, this little beginner's guide to embracing your dark side has opened your mind a bit. Because being a Rat is not just about playing quiet or avoiding conflict. It is about embracing the inner goblin when thinking outside the box. Playing Escape from Tarkov is not just playing the game, but also playing the people you're playing with. So go out there and be a little creative, trust me. You wouldn't believe the opportunities a stray backpack on the road can provide.
And we'll have more Escape from Tarkov content coming, once I stop camping from the Health Resort roof. For more, visit us here at ESTNN