Escape From Tarkov SCAV or PMC Guide – What’s the Difference?

SCAV is short for scavengers, baby.

If you’re new to Escape From Tarkov, you may be stumped by one of the early choices you’ll have to make upon booting up the game. To hop into a raid, you need to pick to play as a SCAV or PMC. But it’s not immediately apparent what the difference is. Luckily, you’ve stumbled upon this guide which should clear things up for you.  Here’s the rundown.

Escape From Tarkov PMC

When you choose to play as a PMC in Escape From Tarkov, you are controlling your player created character. This is the dude you chose at the start of the game, and he belongs to one of two factions, according to the in-game lore: BEAR or USEC. When playing as your PMC character, you will be using equipment you’ve earned throughout your playtime in Escape From Tarkov. Everything you do in the game is in service of making this character stronger.

You have access to a stash area where you’ll keep your loot that you find in raids. When you enter battle as your PMC, you risk losing whatever items you bring with you. That’s because when you die in Escape From Tarkov, you drop whatever you’re carrying. You see, there’s a heavy risk-reward element at play in the game. Entering a raid as a PMC means you get to bring your favorite weapons and stockpiled ammo and meds with you, which usually offers an advantage in combat. However, there’s always a chance that you’ll die and lose it all!

This is where the SCAVs come into play.

Escape From Tarkov SCAV

In the world of Escape From Tarkov, SCAVs are scavengers, looters that are simply looking to snag whatever they can get their hands on. Typically, SCAVs are AI-controlled enemies that populate a raid. They’re the best way to get loot early in your Escape From Tarkov experience, and serve as a way to get the ball rolling on your PMC character.

The wrinkle is that you can choose to play a raid as a SCAV. When you do, you’ll be given a randomly-generated set of gear and dropped into the world. Their gear is typically weaker than PMC gear, but the big advantage of playing as a SCAV is that you’re not risking your own stuff. If you die and lose all your items, who cares? It was just weak SCAV stuff anyways! You can still kill other PMCs and SCAVs, loot them, and escape the map, though, making SCAV matches an integral part of the Escape From Tarkov experience.

When you spawn into a raid as a SCAV, you’ll be friendly toward all the other AI-controlled SCAVs. That is until you shoot one. If a SCAV sees you fire on another one, they’ll immediately turn hostile and begin shooting at you as well.

Of course, you need to be aware that other players may also be disguised as SCAVs as well. The biggest tell is to check their behavior. If they’re not moving like you suspect an AI ought to be moving, then they’re probably a player. Keep that in mind during all matches of Escape From Tarkov.

And there you have it, the difference between PMC and SVAV in Escape From Tarkov! Did this help you at all? Let us know in the comments section.