BEAR and USEC are the two PMC factions in Escape From Tarkov. You’ll have to choose between them when creating your main character, and it’s a big choice – at the time of writing, the only way to change faction is via account reset or server wipe. This means you’re stuck with whichever team you choose, and if you want to defect, you’ll have to pray the developers add the option in a future update. With that in mind, we’ve decided to help you make the choice by writing a Tarkov BEAR vs USEC 2020 guide, to show you which faction to choose in Escape From Tarkov patch 0.12.3.
Which faction to pick in Tarkov 2020 patch 0.12.3
At the moment, the differences are slim. USEC uses English voice commands, while BEAR soldiers shout in Russian. They look a bit different, and have slightly different starting gear. It’s pretty much all cosmetic at this point, and the voices are the only functional difference. Since you can play with others no matter their faction, you can just pick the one that sounds better to you.
More differentiation is planned for the future, but there’s no telling when it may come. For instance, the developers have made public their plans to add more outfits for both of the factions. They’ve also mentioned toying with the idea of giving the factions different gameplay advantages – like a preference for heavy armor and Russian weapons for BEAR, or light armor and American weapons for USEC. It may take a while, though, so don’t hold your breath.
As far as starting gear is concerned, both factions start with several pistols and a submachine gun. BEAR users get a Grach and PP-19, while USEC starts off with P226 and MP5. Neither offers significant advantage, though, so it’s also a matter of personal preference.
Finally, there are the narrative implications, if you’re the sort to take that into consideration. USEC are basically the bad guys here – they work for the Terra Group corporation, blocking progress on any investigations into their employer, destroying evidence of illegal activities and protecting their property. BEAR, on the other hand, are kind of like super-cops. They’re there to find out what kind of illegal stuff the Terra Group is into, and are employed by the regional government. Again, this is just flavor, and means as much for the gameplay as the appearance customization.