Scav "karma" is directly tied to your trader reputation with Fence. If your trader reputation with Fence is 0.25, that means your Scav karma is 0.25.
When you perform an action that changes your Scav karma in raid, you will receive a small alert that indicates that your standing with Fence has increased or decreased, along with the raw value shift, when you exit the raid by any means. This alert used to display as soon as your karma shifted (i.e. when you were in-raid), but has since been adjusted to be hidden until you exit raid.
How do I gain or lose Scav karma?
At the time of writing, Scav karma (and Escape from Tarkov itself) is currently in beta, which means that changes to it may happen at any time. In particular, the value of gain and loss of Scav karma is being edited almost every patch, so I will not detail the actual value shift here. Instead I will simply refer to the value shift as minor, moderate, or major.
There are a variety of ways to both gain and lose Scav karma. Here is a table that indicates events that can occur in raid, the positive or negative change in karma , and the value shift of that change.
Note: When you damage an allied Scav, or you lose karma in raid (participate in a "negative" event on the table below), you are marked as a Rogue Scav for the purposes of this table. This means AI Scavs will shoot at you, and your death will not negatively impact other player Scavs' karma if they kill you.
||Positive or Negative?
|Use a car extract as a PMC
|Cooperatively extract with a Scav as a PMC2
|Extract from a raid as a Scav
|Kill a Scav Rogue as a Scav
|Kill a PMC as a Scav
|Kill a Scav boss as a Scav
|Kill a Scav boss's guard as a Scav
|Kill a Scav as a Scav
1: This value diminishes each time you perform it at a rate of ~50% each extract. This value will slowly increase back to its max value over time (typically days).
2: The Scav assisting the PMC with the extract does not get any additional Scav karma, but the PMC does.
3: This value increases with each Scav kill the player being killed has in this raid.
What does Scav karma mean for me?
Scav Gear Quality
At neutral Scav karma, which players start with, your Scav gear will typically consist of low-tier armor, lower-end rifles with decent ammo, and potentially some medical supplies and, if you're lucky, perhaps a Labs keycard.
At lower Scav karma, your Scav gear will consist of lower tier weapons like pistols. Armor will be a rarity, if at all, and your chances of spawning with a Labs keycard will dimish.
At higher Scav karma, you'll start with more powerful weapons, higher tier armor, and your chance for a Labs keycard increases seemingly drastically. It's possible to spawn in as a Scav, immediately extract, and vendor the gear your spawn with for >100,000 rubles at this karma, and that's being conservative.
As you gain Scav karma, you will notice that the cooldown for your Scav character will steadily decrease, allowing you to play as your Scav character more often. Conversely, losing Scav karma will increase the cooldown time before you can play as a Scav.
This shift is currently more impactful at lower Scav karma, and I've heard of players who have a Scav cooldown of around an hour and a half at very low karma levels.
Vehicle Extract Costs
This is pretty self-explanatory. Higher Scav karma makes vehicle extracts cheaper, and lower Scav karma makes it more expensive. The exact amount of the discount or tax varies greatly, so it would be fruitless to list them here.
Scav Extract Availability
At lower Scav karma levels, you'll notice that your Scav will have less extract choices in raid, down to a measly one extract at very low levels.
At higher Scav karma levels, you will be able to sell gear to Fence and receive more money than you normally would at lower karma levels.
At maximum Fence reputation (as in, max Scav karma level), you will see and be able to purchase the lost items that PMCs have left in raid from Fence. An item is considered "lost" if it is uninsured and left in raid by any means when the raid time ends.
AI Scav Behavior
At very low Scav karma levels, AI Scavs will always be hostile towards you.
At higher Scav karma levels, AI Scavs might help you engage enemies you're fighting, actively running towards and attempting to kill these enemies. At even higher levels, it's been confirmed that AI Scavs will actually lead you to higher-value loot spawns in the area. This is typically done through a variety of voicelines from the AI Scav, encouraging you to follow them. If you speak Russian, listen closely!
At higher Scav karma levels, you will also not provoke engagement from AI Scav bosses. They won't directly assist you like normal Scavs would, but at least they're not shooting you!