Difference Between Scav & PMC in Escape from Tarkov 2020

PMCs and Scavs in Escape from Tarkov are two different characters that you can play as in the game. However, while on the surface it might seem like these two are similar, the truth is, the mechanics are very, very different, with Scavs being more of a support than anything else. There’s more to it, of course. So, what is the difference between Escape from Tarkov PMCs and Scavs? Well, in our Difference Between Scav & PMC in Escape from Tarkov 2020 guide, we’re going to break down the major differences between playing as a PMC and playing as a Scav.

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Difference Between Scav & PMC in Escape from Tarkov 2020
Difference Between Scav & PMC in Escape from Tarkov 2020

What is the Difference Between Escape from Tarkov PMC & Scav?

The differences between PMCs and Scavs in Escape from Tarkov are pretty significant. Sure, the shootin’ and runnin’ around are the same, but outside of that, things are very, very different. The basic gist is that the PMC is your main character that you get EXP for playing as, but you’re in a lot of trouble if you get killed. On the other hand, they do have some advantages compared with Scavs. Speaking of, playing as a Scav are high-reward / low-risk runs, but they do have a cooldown after you deploy them. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

First up, the Scavs. If you play as a Scav, you’ll get a randomized loadout before starting. So, none of the gear you have on your PMC is in any danger. True, you do usually spawn into a raid that’s already begun, but you have the advantage that AI Scavs will leave you alone. That is, until you attack one of them; then, all Scavs in the vicinity will gang up on you. However, if you kill a player Scav that attacked you first, you’re in the clear. In fact, AI Scavs will basically fight by your side against other players that try to harm you.

Now, when it comes to raiding as a Scav, it’s a sweet deal. When you extract as one of them, you get to keep everything you looted, plus the random gear you got at the start. So, you could conceivably end a Scav run without having looted anything and still be at a net positive. If you get killed, however, you will lose everything, since Scavs don’t have a secure container (more on that later). You also won’t get any EXP.

Other Scav cons include inability to complete most tasks (aside from some gathering stuff), and the skills are kinda trash compared to your PMC. Lastly, after you complete a run, the Scav goes on a cooldown, which you can reduce by raising the Intelligence level of your Hideout.

Now for the PMC. This is your main character. When playing as a PMC, you gather loot and get EXP. You get to pick all of your gear and skills, so you can tailor everything to your preferences. However, while you are arguably more powerful than a Scav, you’re also a target for everybody on the map, be it AI or another player. There won’t be anyone coming to your rescue. Also, if you die, not only do you lose everything not in the secure container, you also stay wounded. You then have to heal yourself in the lobby, or wait until you heal over time.

Now, that doesn’t mean that PMCs are all doom and gloom. For one, they can have a secure container in your pouch. Whatever you have inside it will stay on your person even if you get killed. Of course, the space inside the container is very limited, so choose carefully. Also, you can freely customize your loadout, and the skills you have as a PMC are way better than with Scavs. Also, there’s less variations with your exit points, so it will likely be easier to escape. So, yeah. It kinda strikes a balance between risk and reward.

In summation, the PMC is your main character and the “intended” way to experience Escape from Tarkov. The Scav, on the other hand, is a low-risk method of gathering gear for your PMC in order to make it more efficient, as well as make money. That is basically the main difference between the PMCs and Scavs in Escape from Tarkov.

Author JoeTheBard profile picture
A language teacher and video game enthusiast turned rogue, Joe is on a quest to become the ultimate gaming journalist. This is somewhat hampered by his belief that the golden age of gaming ended with the PlayStation One, but he doesn't let that stop him. His favorite games include Soul Reaver and Undertale. Other interests are D'n'D, dad rock, complaining about movies, and being the self-appointed office funny man, which nobody else agrees with.