Escape From Tarkov players rage as developers lock co-op PvE behind a new $250 edition, then say they'll offer previous buyers access for just 6 months (Updated)

Escape from Tarkov website image - three guys with guns
(Image credit: Battlestate Games)
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After a day of anger, which shows no sign of abating, Battlestate Games sought to assuage disgruntled Escape From Tarkov players by offering a number of "unique features" to owners of the $150 Edge of Darkness Edition, including six months access to the new PvE mode.

The offer of temporary access to PvE has only infuriated the playerbase further because it fails to meaningfully address one of the core elements of the complaints—that the EOD Edition promised access to all future DLC releases, and that promise isn't being honored. Some players are also unhappy that priority matching is a thing: "Are you telling me I am stuck in a 15 min queue every game on purpose only because i "only" paid 80$ for a beta game?" one redditor wrote.

"Adding 'High priority matching for EOD owners for 6 months' is now scamming non-EOD owners, as this was not part of the different packages when they were deciding which edition to buy," another said. "If BSG can even get high prio matchmaking to work (doubt) this will now mean that non-EOD owners will have extremely long matching times for 6 months? Wtf is that? Non-EOD buyers did not consent to that kind of second-rate treatment when buying a non-EOD edition."

At this point there's been no further communication from the Escape From Tarkov team, and the Discord remains a functionally unusable catastrophe, as it continues to be flooded with spam decrying Battlestate and the game. Unless the developers change direction, it doesn't seem likely that this uproar will end anytime soon—and even if it does, the self-inflicted reputational damage may linger for a long time to come.

Battlestate Games has unveiled a new $250 edition of Escape From Tarkov that includes access to a PvE mode with co-op support and persistent progress that won't be reset when the game is wiped. It sounds pretty cool, but it has quite a few players upset because the mode is only accessible with the new, very expensive edition of the game—even though the previously-released $150 Edge of Darkness Edition of Tarkov, which is no longer available, promised "free access to all subsequent DLCs."

Battlestate Games claims that the new mode doesn't qualify as DLC, an argument that is going over with Tarkov players about as well as you'd expect.

The addition of a PvE mode with no wipes is a pretty big deal. As it stands, Tarkov is a PvP-only game, with server wipes that occur every several months, completely resetting player progress. Being able to explore its very Chernobyl-like setting with friends, without having to worry about getting popped by other players, is obviously appealing (especially for those of us who aren't quite as handy in a fight against other humans as we used to be).

The problem with the new mode appears to be twofold. One, the Unheard Edition's whopping $250 price. And two, Battlestate has declared the PvE mode is not DLC but a "feature," and thus the people who sprung for the Edge of Darkness Edition—which seemed pretty damn future-proof at $150—don't get access. Owners of the Edge of Darkness Edition can upgrade to the Unheard Edition, but that will cost $100, no small amount of change in its own right.

That message was delivered by appl3z0r, the lead community manager for Escape From Tarkov. "It ain't DLC, it's [a] unique feature of the new edition," they said in a message in the official Escape From Tarkov Discord server.

"DLC means additional content," appl3z0r added in a separate message. "PvE is a feature and a game mode. Just because you all want it to become a DLC it wouldn't mean it is one. It's [a] featured game mode for the new edition of the game."

(Image credit: Discord)

(Image credit: Discord)

That messaging has riled up the Tarkov community in a very big way. On Reddit, Twitter, and Discord, players who purchased the Edge of Darkness Edition say they feel misled by the promise of full DLC access, which has now been effectively negated by semantics. The Unheard Edition trailer on YouTube is also bearing the brunt of 31,000 dislikes, compared to just 5,200 likes. 

Anger over the new edition is also being fueled by a general upset with the state of the game overall, including widespread complaints about the prevalence of cheaters and the perceived slow progress toward full release. Despite having been around since 2017, Escape From Tarkov at least technically remains in closed beta.

Some players are also unhappy about the presence of perceived "pay to win" elements in the new edition of Tarkov, including an "enhanced" stash size and expanded pocket space, a unique melee weapon, and increased starting character level skills.

Several hours after the new Unheard Edition was announced, the Escape From Tarkov Twitter account confirmed that access to the new PvE mode will only be available to players who own the new high roller edition. This did not smooth the waters.

(Image credit: Battlestate Games (Twitter))

The Tarkov Discord server has been in open revolt since the announcement, with all attempts at "normal" conversation being drowned out by players repeatedly spamming the same message over and over, accusing developers of "blowing off" long-term supporters and being disrespectful to the community in pursuit of profit. Further disruption is encouraged: "To everyone who feels the same way--don't be silent. Spam, make memes, spread the word wherever it's relevant. This cannot be tolerated."

So far, Tarkov community managers are letting the players rage. Community manager Shiro said locking down the Discord "isn't the right way to deal with things. People are rightfully mad, shutting it down would only make things worse." Despite saying players are "rightfully mad," however, Shiro denied the message was an acknowledgement of wrongdoing: "All I said is that shutting down the Discord isn't the way to deal with outrage," they wrote in a separate reply. "Anything more than that you are just projecting into the message."

A few Escape From Tarkov players have theorized that Battlestate will ultimately give in and provide access to the PvE mode to Edge of Darkness owners, but at this point there's been no indication of a walkback. I've reached out to the studio for comment and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.