Most important thing about Escape from Tarkov isn’t the combat, the looting, running into raids or getting kills. The most important thing in the game is making massive bank from trading and bartering so that you can afford more gear to get even more bank.
So you should familiarize yourself with the traders, the flea market, and how you can get the most cash from both the traders, and other players.
We can start with each trader starting from our good comrade Prapor.
Escape From Tarkov Trader guide
Prapor is our dealer of anything and almost everything involving the lines of trustworthy Russian firearms. He sells ammunition for all kinds of weapons here, from 5.45×39 to 7.62x54R. Anything you want that might be a Russian model, you can find from him. At loyalty level 1, you won’t get much of a selection, as you will find with all traders in this game.
Prapor serves as the easiest way to get something strong enough to maybe put down a few scavs and even a PMC. When you first start the game you should take a look at his Tasks, the first of which is just a simple fetch and kill quest.
He buys just about anything, but he won’t give you the most value. You should still sell some things to him, as it contributes to the three prerequisites for leveling up his loyalty level, the other two involving leveling your PMC and completing quests for him.
All in all, if you’re looking to buy up an AK and mod it out to something that can drop some fools in dorms then Prapor is your guy. Next up is his associate, Therapist.
The first time you jump into a raid, you might bring a mosin with extra magazines. First off that’s not how mosins work, and second you’re probably going to be looking at a death screen in a few minutes because another player saw you hiding and dropped you with a single shot through your chest. When you return to your menu you’ll see that your health has dropped to 30% of the max, and a pop up will appear when you try to go into another raid that tells you that you should heal up before diving in to lose another mosin. That’s where Therapist comes in. She sells all kinds of medical equipment, and a few snacks here and there to fill your energy and hydration levels.
Once again, from the get go you should grab her task, as she and Prapor are the only quests you can accept at the start of the game. The cheapest way to heal yourself from a death in raid is to just buy three of those little slices of kraft cheese you can see, the AI-2 medkits. You should also bring some splits, bandages and painkillers into raid, in case you have the pleasure of running into those debuffs. Having some on hand will save you a lot of grief, and Therapist is the one you will always come running back to for that healing. If you want to make bank off of junk, your best bet will be to come straight to her and just throw everything on the table. She buys junk, bartering items, medical equipment, and food for the best price out of the traders. Sometimes selling to her is even better than selling to the flea market, as the flea market automatically takes a fee for putting up items.
As you level Therapist up, she’ll sell more medical equipment and also offer trades or sell item cases, scav junkboxes, medical boxes, and the amazing T H I C C item case. One of these T H I C C cases is equivalent to your entire inventory if you’ve got the basic edition of Escape from Tarkov, and it only takes up 15 slots in your inventory. But you don’t have to worry about that now, because you probably aren’t going to be getting one of those for a long, long time. So instead of worrying let’s just move onto the next trader, Fence.
Fence doesn’t do much, but he buys absolutely everything. The only issue is that he buys items for a fraction of what they’re actually worth. If you ever need to just get rid of some broken down armor, and you can’t sell it to someone else, then Fence is your best bet to just get rid of it and getting a bit of value back, but it’s not worth buying or selling much of anything to him, as everything he sells is marked up something like 200% from trader value.
The only other thing he brings for you is a single quest, after you complete every single quest in the game, save for a few exceptions. The quest requires to find a number of rare spawn items in raid, and at the end of it he gives you what is currently the largest secure container in the game, having 3×4 slots. But you’ve got a long way to go, so let’s just move on.
Next on the list is our resident suspicious character, if you don’t count Fence that is. Skier sells various gear mods for your weapons, such as foregrips, suppressors and optics. As you level him up he’ll also sell a few more weapons, and the much sought after REAP-IR thermal scope will become available from a barter trade.
While he doesn’t sell much of anything else, he does give you the most value for body armor and weapon attachments, so if you find a gun in raid that you don’t want to use, you should first disassemble it and go to skier to sell the parts for the most value as possible. The rest of the pieces of the gun can be sold to the Mechanic, who I’ll come back to later. Once you max out his loyalty level, you can purchase or trade for weapon cases from him, but they’re quite expensive.
Skier’s first quest unlocks at level 5, so until then just keep on playing the game until you can get started with him. His quests are necessary to unlock the quest line for the next of our traders. Peacekeeper.
If for some reason you actually know about the lore of this game, then the UN probably comes up a few times in it. Peacekeeper is our UN correspondent, and everything that you sell to him or buy from him will be through USD. Like his buddy Skier, he sells all kinds of modifications and optics for weapons, but everything he sells mostly only works for firearms from western manufacturers, such as the M4 and the HK416.
As mentioned before, his quest line is unlocked through one of Skier’s quests, and you’ll want to do this as Peacekeeper sells one of the best helmets in the game at Loyalty 4, the Airframe. The quickest way to get a bunch of USD is to just buy them for 119 roubles, or you can sell data drives to him instead of other traders for a few hundred bucks. If you’re looking to use a weapon chambered in 5.56, or .308, you go straight to him.
As a final note, if you have the basic edition of EFT, Peacekeeper is the source of one of the possible upgrades of your secure container, if you don’t just purchase an upgrade to a different edition of the game. Now, we move to our third person who sells weapon mods, the Mechanic.
Once you disassemble a weapon and sell everything that you can from the parts to Skier, the next step is to come to the Mechanic and sell the rest. He buys the guns themselves, and does so at a much better price than Prapor does. He sells more modifications, and also offers one of the easiest ways to level up your PMC, through the Gunsmith quest line. This however is unlocked at PMC level 10, so you still have to do some work yourself. Once you start making it out of raids with better loot, you’ll find yourself going between Skier, Mechanic, and Therapist to sell whatever you find. Skier for attachments, Mechanic for the rest, and Therapist for medical and junk items or barter items.
You shouldn’t have any trouble leveling Mechanic as you can get most of your Rep from the Gunsmith quests, but he has the highest PMC level requirement to increase his loyalty levels, so just keep on going like usual. Next up is our cool and chill dude, Ragman.
If you want to lower your chances of dying in a single shot, the obvious thing is to wear armor and a helmet. Sometimes this won’t save you, but it’s still better than nothing. Ragman is the trader of helmets, armor, tactical rigs and armbands if you need them for identification purposes in a group. Many of the items you get from him will be from barter trades up until you max out his loyalty level, but the SSh-68 helmet will save you in the early game. Generally you should look to use class 3 or 4 armor, which you can get at his second loyalty level.
You may notice that his first level up doesn’t require any Rep, only PMC level 15 and trading 1 million roubles with him. This may take a while, but it’s worth the money sink. He buys body armor, helmets, tactical rigs and some barter items for a lower price than Skier or Therapist, but usually the difference isn’t that great if you just need to level him up.
Ragman’s quest line is centered around the map Interchange, a close quarters and one of the more dangerous maps to run into with lower gear. If you go in though, you might find a good amount of valuable junk and barter items within the mall. He is also currently the only trader who has a Service tab that you can access, and he sells you cool new threads for your PMC. Once you get deeper into the game, a certain quest unlocks in which you have to kill the Scav boss of Interchange, Killa, 100 times. Doing so will grant you the ability to buy a tracksuit, to look like a true Russian.
Finally we move onto the only unlockable character in the game, Jaeger.
Jaeger is unlocked through a questline from the Mechanic, in which you need to find a hunting stand somewhere in the map Woods, and bring the Mechanic a note from Jaeger. Once you complete the quest you get to speak to Jaeger, who has probably one of the hardest quest lines in the game. Jaeger sells shotguns and rifles, reflecting his name. He does also have a few attachments in his inventory, mainly riflescopes and even the REAP-IR from a barter trade, and he even allows you to get CMS and Survival kits, the only ways to fix your limbs that have lost all their HP in raid.
At loyalty 3 you are able to trade for the Red Rebel Ice pick, and the S I C C case, both of which are long, expensive yet good investments. The S I C C case is a container you can place inside your secure container that will hold money, keys and dog tags with a 25 slot inventory. The Red Rebel is the only melee weapon in the game that has another use besides being a melee weapon, as it is required along with a Paracord for an extract on Woods and Reserve. The only caveat being that you cannot wear body armor when you extract.
Jaeger’s quest line requires you to perfect your long range sniping. His first quests require you to place items in Woods and to kill scavs with certain constraints. Get used to running in and dying with just a mosin on you if you do his quests.
Leveling Traders in Escape from Tarkov
As I’ve mentioned a few times, you need to increase your Rep, spend money and level your PMC to increase the loyalty levels of your traders. Everything you do will contribute to leveling your traders, and some are easier than others, but leveling them all is worth the time. At the top right of each trader menu, you’ll see your current level, rep, and the amount of money you have traded with them. The level is self-explanatory, as you get exp from basically everything you do in the game.
Offhandedly I mentioned that you can sell or buy items from traders to contribute to the amount of money you need to trade in order to level traders. An easy way to do so is to buy something from them and sell it back to them. You might lose some money in the process, but if you really want to just get it done fast then this is your best bet. Reputation on the other hand can be easy or hard.
If you looked at the different editions of the game, you may have noticed that you can get certain benefits for paying more for the game, such as higher starting rep for traders. Having the most expensive edition gives you a default 0.20 rep on all traders, enough to level some of them to their second and third loyalty levels with a few quests.
If you aren’t feeling like spending more money though, you’ll have to go through their quest lines to level them up. As mentioned, you get more of their inventory unlocked as you level, and sometimes the quests that you do for them will unlock items you can buy or trade for as well, so either way you should do as many quests as you can.
Flea Market in Escape From Tarkov
At PMC level 15 you unlock the option to use the Flea Market, where you can buy and sell items with other players. Sometimes an item may be worth more on the flea market than what you can sell it for to traders, based on how valuable or important it may be to other players.
Things such as bolts and screw nuts can be sold to Therapist for 750 roubles, but since it is used to craft items in the hideout, and also to upgrade parts of the hideout, you can sell them on the flea market for around 10k roubles instead. If you are unsure of the worth of an item you get out of a raid, it is usually worth looking at the flea market.
Just don’t forget to filter out barter trades, as usually those trades are rip offs. Prices on the flea market tends to fluctuate from patch to patch, so keep an eye on prices here to turn a profit. Be careful though, as putting an item on the market requires a fee taken from your inventory, and some items while being worth a lot on the flea market, may require you to put down a large amount to list it on the market.
And with that, you should have a good grasp of the basics of trading and selling, and you can make some massive bank. Just don’t forget, this is Tarkov, and you can lose your money in an instant. Just don’t get discouraged, as you can always make it back. And if you get lucky, you might even make even more.