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What should you work towards upgrading? My tier list ranks the top module upgrades in the Hideout based on value gained vs. cost to build. I'll include the absolute must-builds, the nice-to-haves for rich folk, and the things to avoid until late in the wipe. I'll also include notes on why you'd want to build or avoid certain things, and how they might fit into a rat or chad playstyle.
If you want to know what are the hideout stations you must upgrade, we'll start with the S-tier stations below. If you find this tier list helpful, it would really help me out if you could share it or give me feedback. You can find me on Twitter at @brad_io!
The stations in this category will make the game significantly easier to play. You should work towards them as soon as possible, as they'll make quests and raids much easier.
First on my list is Medstation level 2 - with the recent changes to the IFAK, the ability to craft them cheaply is essential. As of 2020-01-16, IFAKs now cure the Heavy Bleeding status effect. The cost to upgrade it is also very reasonable, requiring only Therapist at loyalty level 2, the skill Health at level 2, a Generator, and about ~150,000 rubles worth of parts.
Also in S tier is Lavatory level 2, which allows you to craft some space-saving cases that fetch a high price on the flea market. The magazine case, grenade case, and lucky scav junkbox are all craftable at Lavatory 2, and typically can be crafted for about 30% less than their flea market prices. Additionally, items crafted in your Hideout are marked as "found in raid," so they can still be sold on the flea market for a profit. Lavatory 2 is arguably even easier than Medstation to upgrade. It has no skill or loyalty requirements, just Water Collector 1 and about ~200,000 rubles.
Rounding out our top tier upgrades is Stash level 2. Not much needs to be said about a larger stash (100 extra slots). Although the requirements aren't cheap, the additional room means more weapons, more scav loot, and more room to breath. With a cost of at least 3.5 million rubles, it's a lot to save up for, but worth it.
The modules in this tier and below are things that you should build once you're already feeling stable and comfortable with the game. A common mistake is to hyper-target one of the modules here, with the aim of making free money, and missing out on other, more accessible ways of raking in the cash. For example, quests often open up cheaper gear purchases, lowering the risk of each raid.
One of the high-priority upgrades you should focus on in mid-to-late wipe is the Scav Case. The Scav Case allows you to ante up some rubles or items, and claim a reward a few hours later. Basically, it's gambling in Tarkov, and who doesn't love gambling? The Scav Case sits at the same Hideout level as the much-loved Bitcoin Farm, and both require significant investment. However, the Scav Case only requires about a ~3 million ruble investment initially, and doesn't have the constant upkeep of ensuring fuel is loaded in your generator. By contrast, for 3 million rubles you can only put 2-3 graphics cards in your Bitcoin Farm. You can go more in-depth with the return on investment from the Scav Case in other articles, but the TL;DR is that you can expect about a 30% ROI.
Modules in this tier are nice-to-haves - they'll still provide value, but in my opinion there are better choices to make when upgrading.
As mentioned above, the Bitcoin Farm becomes an option late in the wipe, and costs a significant amount of time to spin up. Additionally, it requires power constantly, meaning that you need to be always mindful of your fuel levels. I put the Bitcoin Farm in B tier because I think its high up-front cost and annoying upkeep makes it less fun to use than the Scav Case, though the long-term ROI is certainly better. The Escape From Tarkov wiki has a lot more information on some of the calculations around the costs and benefits of this module.
Also in the B tier is the Shooting Range, which allows you to test weapons from the safety and convinience of your Hideout. While in the Shooting Range, ammunition is free, so you can test out your new builds and tweaks. However, the existance of offline mode means that the only benefit Shooting Range has is speed - you won't have to wait to load an entire map just to test out a gun. With that said, the target dummies in the range are super basic - no damage readout, no movement, etc. Loading into Factory with AI on Easy, however, will let you test your gun builds against real enemies. All in all, this is a fine addition if you have the extra cash, but I generally skip it.
This special 🔧 tier is for modules which are important as pre-requisites but not much else. Often, they're only worth the investment after other modules are built.
First, in general, the Security, Vents, and Illumination modules are required for many of the higher-tier stations to be built. While you shouldn't go out of your way to grind for them, it's good to note their required items and hold onto them when you can.
Other upgrades in this tier include Solar Power, Water Collector level 3, and the Booze Generator. Solar Power helps cut down on fuel costs, which is useful once you have a Bitcoin Farm up and running. The 3rd level of Water Collector can be used to produce Purified Water, which is essential in producing "Fierce Hatchling" moonshine. The moonshine is actually produced at the Booze Generator, which powers the best investment you can make at the Scav Case.
These are... bad. They're expensive, they provide underwhelming benefits, or they don't act as pre-requisites to anything else important.
The only two modules I leave in F tier are the Air Filtering Unit and level 3 of the Heating Unit. As mentioned above, they don't really build into anything, and Heating 3 gives passive energy regeneration.
I hope this guide helped you out with deciding what to build - please let me know if you have any questions