We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Huge new Escape From Tarkov patch makes AI enemies way more dangerous

The gigantic new Escape From Tarkov update transforms the extraction shooter and FPS by making AI PMCs deadlier and more intelligent.

Escape From Tarkov patch: A stern man from extraction shooter and FPS game EFT

This is what Escape From Tarkov needed. After the controversy about the Unheard Edition and persistent progression, Battlestate Games is making PvE a lot more intense and realistic by improving the AI of PMCs. The new Escape From Tarkov patch is substantial, but the biggest change allows much more movement, freedom, and diversity for how the NPC opponents behave, increasing their lethality and making raids and general exploration much more fraught. There are concerns the EFT update might go too far – but, for the moment, this seems like an exciting change.

The new Escape From Tarkov patch fixes a longstanding problem in the extraction shooter and FPS game. If you’re running PvE, you’ll likely have noticed that the AI PMC enemies can be a little stiff, a little predictable, and a little unfulfilling to fight against. You can predict where they will spawn and – especially if you’ve been playing for a while – the patrols and routes they’re likely to use, so ambushing or avoiding them is very simple. Now, however, that’s all changed.

AI PMCs will now travel all over. They will select destinations based on the likelihood of good loot, move in more tactical formations, and wait at certain positions to create ambushes. They will also pick up items, upturn loot crates, scrounge from bodies, and replace their current equipment with any better weapons or gear that they find. They’ll sprint more often in open terrain, making them harder to kill, and extract from a location once they’ve found enough loot.

YouTube Thumbnail

And it’s not just the PMCs that have been overhauled. AI Scavs share a lot of these behaviors now. Regardless of faction, if the AI overhears another bot calling out your locations – let’s say you’re spotted by a Scav, but a nearby PMC faction hears their ping – they will all converge on your location. Scavs will also now wander all around the map, although they’re less discerning with what loot they collect as compared to the PMCs.

Battlestate has even bigger AI plans in the works. “This is the first iteration of AI improvements within PvE mode,” the developer says. “In future updates, we also plan to refine the tactical behavior of AI, as well as the interaction system between AI of different factions.” BSG says that in future updates, these mechanics will also be moved into PvP mode.

So, in one sense, this is a huge improvement. A lot of the AI changes in this update are similar to those provided by popular Escape From Tarkov mods – we’ve been trying to engineer better Scav and PMC AI for a while, and it’s great to see BSG take things officially in hand.

New Escape From Tarkov patch: A soldier checking a gun in Battlestate FPS game EFT
There is the possibility, however, that the revamped NPCs become something of a nuisance. PMCs particularly have excellent, almost supernatural accuracy and lethality. Even when they’re restricted to preset spawns, it’s still aggravating when they kill you from hundreds of meters away. Now they’re all over the map, we’re going to have to be extremely careful.

But hopefully it balances out, if not right away, then over the course of additional patches. In the meantime, you might want to try some of the other best multiplayer games on PC, or maybe get ahead of 2024 with all the best upcoming PC games on their way to you.

You can also follow us on Google News for daily PC games news, reviews, and guides, or grab our PCGN deals tracker to net yourself some bargains.