Unheard Title
Image: Battlestate Games

Escape From Tarkov is taking “Pay to Win” to the next level

Unheard of would be a better name

Battlestate Games has a unique business model for Escape From Tarkov. The latest edition of EFT is upsetting fans and content creators alike. Let me show you how Escape From Tarkov is taking “Pay to Win” to the next level.

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Writer’s note: The backlash to this new edition was so severe that Battlestate Games CEO Nikita Buyanov addressed the situation on the official Subreddit. On April 28, 2024, Nikita outlined several changes to the initial offer. I’ve explained what the original offer was in this article and have added a list of changes at the end.

What is the Unheard edition of Escape From Tarkov?

If you’re new to EFT, let me quickly explain how the game is monetized, as it’s important for context. Escape From Tarkov is effectively a live service game that is constantly being updated. There’s no monthly fee or microtransactions.

The base version of Escape From Tarkov is $50 plus tax, but many existing players purchased the Edge of Darkness edition, which was almost $100 more. This edition was arguably Pay to Win but is no longer available.

The Unheard Edition of Escape from Tarkov is a whopping $250.00 plus tax. While you could argue Edge of Darkness was Pay to Win, there’s absolutely no denying it with this new Edition.

What’s included in the Unheard Edition of Escape from Tarkov?

You can view the complete shopping list of bonuses on the official website, but these are the most impactful additions:

  • PvE Co-op mode with persistent progression
  • Enhanced Stash Size
  • 3×3 Secure Container
  • Weapon Case
  • Lucky Scav Junk Box
  • Ammunition Case
  • Unique Item: Mark of the Unheard
  • Unique Item: Distress Signal Device (coming in a future update)

If you’re not a Tarkov player, this list probably won’t make much sense, so let’s review it. The PvE Co-op mode already exists, but the persistent progression doesn’t. This mode means that EFT now has a full PvE mode, albeit at a premium.

The big sticking point is the unique items. The Mark of the Unheard gives a 50% discount for cash services in Raids (extracting by car, for example). Insured equipment returns 30% faster, but the real kicker is Scav’s won’t shoot first at ranges over 60 meters. You do need to play a lot of raids as a Scav to earn this bonus, but this is a powerful perk.

Image: Battlestate Games

The worst offender is the upcoming Distress Signal Device. The item emits a loud noise and a flash but allows players in your friends list to join you mid-match! Yes, you read that right; you can call in live reinforcements.

Is the Unhead of Edition of Escape From Tarkov Pay to Win?

Previous Premium editions of Escape From Tarkov have offered quality-of-life changes, like additional Storage Space. Bonuses like this are already “Pay to Win” as you’re paying for an advantage. That said, these bonuses won’t give you the edge in a 1v1 fight.

The Mark of the Unheard and Distress Signal Device is blatantly “Pay to Win, and many in the community are furious. The subreddit is ablaze with complaints, and well-known content creators, like Onepeg on YouTube, are discussing it.

We will have to see if Battlestate Games changes the Unheard Edition in the future.

How has the situation changed?

The announcement of the Unheard Edition and its pricing structure gained mainstream games’ media attention. Since then, a few impactful changes have been announced. Many players are still unhappy, but it’s a step in the right direction. Here are some of the key points:

  • The full PVE mode will be available for free for Edge of Darkness owners.
  • MOD support will be coming to the PVE mode after launch
  • Perks for the Unheard edition will be “balanced,” although we don’t know what this means.
  • New Edge of Darkness perks will also be balanced. It’s unclear what this refers to, but a list of perks is to be revealed “ASAP.”

These are positive changes, but the top comment to the Reddit thread echoes what many others have been saying for a while. It seems many players would be happy to buy cosmetics and weapon skins over items that mess with balancing. We will have to wait and see if Battlestate Games tries this type of monetization in the future.

Escape from Tarkov is brutal for newcomers, and even quests like building specific weapons are confusing. Still, even with all the controversies, many maintain the game offers an experience you can’t find anywhere else.

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Image of Anthony Yates
Anthony Yates
Anthony is a freelance writer for PC Invasion and has worked in the industry for four years. He's furiously competitive and is always looking for the next big multiplayer hit. Anthony thrives in high-stakes games like Escape From Tarkov and Sea of Thieves. He is also passionate about speedrunning and always looks forward to the next GDQ and ESA events. When he's not grinding leaderboards, Anthony enjoys visiting Arcades, retro gaming, and horror movies.