Riposte: The Panther 8.8
So if you look carefully at the picture adjoining my “Ersatz Panther?” paper, you will se I was running the Panther mit 8.8 cm L/71 with stage I equipment only. That means I didn’t experience the tank at its best, the gun handling and mobility are really much better than I thought they were.
I realised this because I was trying to put the new spare part camo on it today, and it wasn’t available. Why isn’t it available? Is there something wrong? No. You need six slots unlocked to get the Strong Willed camo, and this one only has three.
I ran a few games and realised the tank is better than I thought it was, but I still didn’t experience the revelation I was looking for; that I have been looking for ever since the Pather 8.8 first dropped.
Even worse, it seems someone else did, and proceeded to take me to school on it. Here’s what my friend and clanmate Hades had to say:
“…if you are looking for an OP or easy to play tank, then the Panther 8,8 isn’t it, however…
On one hand I do completely see where you are coming from, Irma, in that it’s not a strong tank or easy to play. I also totally agree with Xeno in that it is a really rewarding tank to play, as a result of it not being OP. Personally, I’m not sure if I can put my finger on it but there is something about the tank which I really really like. It is my favourite tier 8 medium, and it just works I think.
It is one of the poor hidden gems of the game that is seen as being bad by 99.9% of players, yet I think it isn’t bad at all, just misunderstood. It’s like the Sturer Emil, or the Nashorn or the CGC.
It is average or slightly below average in so many areas and shouldn’t be fun to play or enjoyable yet it does one thing spectacularly, which makes up for any shortcomings, and that is the gun. It has the best gun handling as far as I know of any tank at the tier, the gun just sings and is consistent.
It rewards positioning and weak spot knowledge. It is the “thinking man’s tank”, I think the classic old school term really applies here. It doesn’t rely on being good at everything or having some gimmick which is unique or being super fast and speedy. It’s a methodical consistent tank which has an excellent gun and that’s what you rely on, it’s got few tricks up its sleeves.
But in my opinion that’s what makes it so good. It’s a bread and butter vehicle, it is the quintessential panther in my opinion. It has the most accurate gun, with a vanilla panther chassis and standard mobility. Its my goto credit grinder because it isn’t laborious to drive. You point the gun and it hits true, it penetrates depending on where you aimed it. It has DPM which is average, yet the sublime accuracy means that you won’t miss a shot you would in even the panther or Indien.
At first thought, the 8,8 is mediocre. It sounds a lot like any other medium tank. But it is the best medium tank in my opinion because of that gun which it is named after. It’s just a pleasure to drive, you get into a rhythm. If you see a weak spot, this is the tank you can use to hit that weakspot, and if the 8,8 can’t do it, no other tank can.
So no it’s not that exciting or spectacular because it’s just a panther that’s a fine tuned better than it’s siblings. It makes plenty of credits, and if you manage to get into the 8,8 rhythm you will get into a rhythm of raking in considerable earnings. If you want a tank which has an excellent gun, and you want a tank which doesn’t hand you wins then this is the tank for you.
If you can get this to work you will then be able to transfer the knowledge over into any other conventional medium tank. It will be a bit rough and not that fun until you find that steady pace in the tank. But when you find that pace, you won’t regret getting the tank, and at least for me, it will stay in your garage and you will keep coming back to it.”
The first think that struck me when I read that is I could have written it. It’s tank philosophy 101. The second thing that struck me is that I could have written it but didn’t, even though I wanted to write it.
That is why I am writing this addendum.
Hades sees something in the Panther 8.8 that I don’t. I recognise it, but I don’t see it. Or I didn’t see it, at least, partly because I was driving a sub-par tank.
Yes. I know you can drive tanks with 50% crew and still be quite successful, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. I drove the thing on a press account with full combat loadout; I just assumed since I’ve had it for so long that it had equipment on it, and therefore my judgement is off.
I remember what happened. I was going to drive the 8.8 with base equipment first for comparison, but I just never got around to mounting it, and then spare parts happened so it never got done. Yeah, this tank is that old in the game. This was also before it got buffed, so the bulk of my experience with the tank is definitely outdated.
In my defense, and that is just a figure of speech; I don’t actually feel I have to defend myself, I will say a few point I made still stand. But Hades already acknowledged this, so making that point doesn’t really get us any further along.
That is the point of tank philosophy, you see. It’s a reflexive process. And I am delighted to be able to present an alternative view, because ever since I wrote mine, I’ve been feeling dissatisfied with it. I don’t feel like my love for all things Panther really shines through in the text, and I didn’t allow for the possibility that what happened to Hades could also happen to you. The Panther 8.8 could be a really good fit for you. It could be fantastic.
And that’s what Panthers do best. Surprise you be being more than what they seem to be, or simply better than you thought they were. And if you have the slightest suspicion you maybe turning into a gun stat fetishist, I think you owe it to yourself to take a good, long look at the Panther 8.8, because it is precisely that kind of tank, and as I said the price they’re asking for it is quite reasonable in todays game economy.
I will say if you are close to getting the AMX CDC, then that could be a better investment right now, but you should be able to decide that for yourself. The CDC is faster and more agile, and it has a bit more gun depression, so it’s even more of a gun stat fetishist tank. But the Panther will get a bounce once in a blue moon, so it may be more forgiving for you to drive if you are not a Light tank driver at heart. It’s just a matter of preference, really.
So yeah. Tank philosophy working as intended. Me, I am going to give the 8.8 another chance, and see how I feel about it in a couple of days. Hades, all he has to do is keep Cancrackerism at bay and he’s set for life as a tank philosopher.
And the final verdict?
To tell you the truth, at this point I don’t know. But I think you’ll be able to form a pretty good picture of what the Panther 8.8 is all about by now. If I had to say something to guide you, IrmaBecx says “Proceed with Caution”.
Special thanks to Kinghades42 for his excellent critique.