Update: Tarkov studio claims it actually doesn't have the server capacity for everyone who bought the game for $150 to play its upcoming PvE mode, but has relented on making those players pay extra for it

Escape From Tarkov key art
(Image credit: Battlestate Games)
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Just one day later, Battlestate COO Nikita Buyanov has caved on Tarkov fans' primary demand: that players of the $150 Edge of Darkness edition receive free access to the game's new PvE mode. The mood is still tense in the Tarkov community though. Buyanov's statement did not admit to any wrongdoing on Battlestate's part, nor did it remark on the "DLC/feature" distinction that the studio pointed to as justification for having the mode be exclusive to a new $250 bundle, leaving the door open for something similar in the future. You can read more about Battlestate's concessions and the community's response in our separate story on the latest developments.

Original Story: In what has rapidly eclipsed Fallout 4's mod-breaking "next-gen" update as the biggest unforced error of the week in PC gaming, Escape From Tarkov dev Battlestate is still holding firm that players who bought the $150 Edge of Darkness edition of the game will not have access to an upcoming PvE mode in the game⁠—one where your progress persists between server wipes, no less. That feature was announced as part of a new $250 Unheard Edition⁠—even though the $150 EoD edition promised access to "all future DLC" for Tarkov.

In a statement shared on the Tarkov subreddit, Battlestate offered some conciliatory new pricing options for the PvE mode, and also claimed that the mode's servers won't be able to handle the traffic from every $150 EoD player in early access.

The post began by once again asserting Battlestate's frustrating semantic argument behind gating the PvE mode behind an even more expensive purchase: it's not "DLC" by Battlestate's own definition. "First of all, PvE gamemode this is not DLC," Battlestate wrote. "DLC in our understanding is the major additions to the game, including various functionality and content that are released after the official release of the game as a themed DLC pack (Scav Life DLC for example, which will add a lot of new mechanics and content for Scav gameplay and leveling)."

The second paragraph then has an eyebrow-raising secondary explanation for why Battlestate is holding so firm on this: that "the PvE mode is necessarily located entirely on a separate network infrastructure, because, essentially, you play on our servers, only in closed mode.

"At this stage, it is not possible to launch all players who are EoD holders⁠—right now we simply do not have the required amount of resources for this."

Battlestate says that the server capacity will increase in time for Tarkov's full release⁠—whenever that may come, the game is still technically in early access⁠—and $150 EoD purchasers will get full, permanent access to the PvE mode at that time.

Battlestate also says that it will offer a separate, standalone purchase of the PvE mode, "so that any player of any version of [Escape From Tarkov] can have the opportunity to test the PvE mode." Whatever the price of this standalone pack will be, Battlestate says that $150 EoD purchasers will get a 70% off discount.

I'm intrigued at the server capacity argument⁠—after double checking yesterday's consolation offer to the community, it seems that the proposed 6 months of temporary PvE access for EoD owners is only "offline," so server capacity may be a legitimate issue for the company. If that's the case though, I would simply recommend not rolling out the mode until Battlestate had developed the infrastructure to support it⁠—the $250 Unheard Edition rollout is clearly not doing the company any favors.

And I'm just still hung up on this DLC/Feature distinction that Battlestate is burning all of its goodwill to uphold. OK, let's say it is a "feature" and not a "DLC," shouldn't a "feature" added to an early access game be even less of a vector for monetization? I've paid $20 for games in EA that have never asked for another dime when adding new stuff. Definitional arguments aside, it's just absurd on the face of it: most normal people seem to agree that $70 is a big ask for a videogame. Tarkov's EoD purchasers are clearly some of its most diehard fans, and this insistence by Battlestate is just a slap in the face.

The situation is beginning to take on the character of some kind of union negotiation, with Tarkov players proverbially on strike with the uproar in the game's official Discord, and Battlestate returning to the bargaining table with gradually better offers. Thing is, Tarkov, for all its success, is still a relatively niche game that relies on word of mouth and community goodwill⁠—Battlestate needs its players more than those players need Tarkov. It's in the studio's best interest to resolve this as quickly as possible, no matter what it has to concede to players.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.