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Image: Escape from Tarkov screengrab.

Russia’s currency, the ruble, has collapsed. It’s worth less than Roblox's in-game currency, robux. The economic collapse has also affected the video game Escape from Tarkov, which uses the ruble, euro, dollar, and Bitcoin as in-game currencies and uses real-world exchange rates within the game. As the Russian economy collapses and the value of the ruble plummets, it’s become harder to do some things in Escape from Tarkov.

“Why do dollars cost 139 rubles now?” a post in the EscapeFromTarkov subreddit asked on Feb. 24. “I swear when I was playing last week dollars were 128, now they are 139, which is almost a 10% increase.” As of this writing, a dollar in Tarkov will run you about ₽160. One euro is even more expensive at  ₽180.”

Escape from Tarkov is a cult hit video game developed by Russian studio Battlestate Games. Players take control of rival mercenaries competing over loot in semi-abandoned demilitarized zones on Russia’s borders. The game has a complex economy where players can trade for weapons, bullets, and supplies using rubles, dollars, euros, and bitcoin.

Rubles are the game’s default currency, and players begin with ₽500,000. As they explore the world and complete missions, they can loot rubles from the world and other players or even earn rewards from quest givers in rubles. The problem is that some of the game’s NPCs only operate in euros and dollars. If you want to buy fancy weapons or complete quests with an NPC named Peacekeeper, you’re gonna need dollars. The exchange rate being what it is, those quests are now significantly harder to complete.

Peacekeeper and Skier are two characters who deal in dollars and euros, respectively. Players can pay them to earn permanent bonuses to stats. But with the collapse of the ruble, those tasks have become significantly more expensive. “Just a heads-up: the Mentor task now costs 9M rubles to complete if you buy the Euros from Skier,” one post on /r/EscapefromTarkov said.

The situation has left some players befuddled. “Bruh wtf. So Putin literally affected me by making my gun builds and SS190 and m62 10 percent more expensive,” jptboy said on Reddit. “It looks like the U.S. dollar to ruble rate increased 10% today when I checked it on Google. I did not know it was tied to the real exchange rate.”

For others—especially those who have a lot of Bitcoin, dollars, or euros—it’s an opportunity. “Get ready for market inflation,” Reddit user coinlockerchild said. “ BTC in game is still tied to irl ratios and with the ruble dropping like a stone while BTC is rallying, anyone with a farm is gonna lsee large numbers in the therapist sales price.” 

Battlestate Games has made no statement about the war in Ukraine. It’s being tight lipped like many other Russian companies. The Duma recently passed a law that can send people for 15 years for simply tweeting about the war. But Battlestate does maintain servers in the U.S., Europe, and Ukraine (which it lists as a European country). As of this writing, all those servers are still up and functioning.

Tarkov-Tools, a popular wiki collecting information about the game, shut down, citing the events in Ukraine. “Following the recent events in Ukraine where Putin attacked a foreign nation I can no longer support a Russian company,” a post on Tarkov-Tool’s front page said. “I don't believe BSG in any way condones or supports this, but supporting Russian companies unfortunately means supporting Putin in one way or another.”

Battlestate Games did not respond to Motherboard’s request for comment.


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