What is a wipe?
To put it simply, progression gets wiped for everyone.
This means that for every player:
- PMC level is reset to 1
- Stash is reset to its initial state (more on this below)
- All trader levels are reset to 1
- All quest progression is reset
- Hideout is reset to its initial state
Players are given the initial stash items they were given when they initially started playing the game. All players that purchased an enhanced version of the game (Edge of Darkness, etc.) will get the items included in those as well. (Gamma container, etc.) Also, any promotional gifts that players have received (such as the Christmas gift) can be reclaimed again granted that they claimed the gift during its initial introduction. Battlestate has revoked gifts in the past, so some of theses gifts are not guaranteed to stick around.
Why do the developers of the game do this?
Escape from Tarkov is very much still a game in beta. Sometimes when the developers introduce wide-reaching changes, to truly examine the impact these changes have on the game, a complete reset of the game and its players is needed. This is a theme the game has had since its introduction.
Why does everyone get so exited for it?
This is a bit opinion based, so I will do my best to answer without any bias:
There can be multiple reasons why people are excited for wipes. Here are the main ones:
- Battlestate Games usually introduces a bunch of new content with wipes. For example, this upcoming wipe will come with an expansion to one of the game's maps: Factory.
- Most players enjoy the "clean slate" feel that a wipe brings. When all players have had their progress wiped, the things you encounter in a raid can be vastly different than what you'd experience in a raid late within a wipe cycle. This can include "non-meta" weapons, sub-par ammo, etc.
- The beginning of a wipe is by far the most active the game can get as far as player count goes.
As someone pointed out in the comments, there are players that do not like wipes. The idea of game progression being wiped is not appealing to everyone.