I pieced together a table of the most current values of relevant tanks from all of the factions. I was hoping to stir up some dialog within the community here and see how people feel about the way the tank game plays out in the current meta.
Formula: Penetration/Armor * 100 = % chance to deal damage
Example w/Panther vs Pershing: Panther's penetration from far away is - 220, the Pershing's armor is 230, so the formula would be: 220/300 * 100 = 73% chance to deal damage.
My OPINION: The game's AT guns are in a fine state, but the cost to value ratio of the German armor compared to the allied armor is disproportionate. You would think the natural answer to tank inferiority is the use of AT guns, but the counter to team weapons is artillery. Fortunately the Axis powers have access to mobile artillery pieces that allow for hit & run type tactics, this in-turn leaves very few options to the Allied player to respond to having their vital AT guns hit with artillery:
- Respond with some sort of flanking, hit & run tactic with their tanks. Doing this is risky, attempting to out maneuver your opponent with some sort of wide flank in hopes you track down his artillery piece before you hit a mine or become discovered is a less than ideal solution.
- Counter artillery is the obvious answer, in order to keep your team weapons alive, you spit back from just as far away with the same tool, but there is a complication. Artillery is only really available to the Soviets non-doctrinally which leaves the USF and UKF is a poor state of affairs. The USF's pakhowitzer is a temporary short-range solution that suffers from decrewing problems (the UKF landmatress likewise) due to its lack of mobility such as a stuka or panzerwerfer.
All of this effort is towards the goal of maintaining your AT guns as an allied player so you are able to fend off the superior penetration and health values of the axis armor.
I spent some effort in making this table since I had to manually piece it together via the attribute database in the tools section of steam. I am starting to draw the conclusion that the panther is just a step above ridiculous when it comes to health, armor, penetration. The first counter to my conclusion is "its range is inferior to other tank destroyers". So lets compare the 60 range SU-85 vs the 50 range Panther. It is very possible the SU-85 will get the first shot off, but the difference between 10 range leaves no room for any sort of shot evasion tactic from the SU-85, so it is highly likely that if an SU-85 (far less maneuverable) engages a panther, 10 range does not decide if there are free hits being dished out. Now lets look at the amount of hits to destroy the opponent.
SU-85 dies in 4 hits (with a 157% chance to deal damage if hit by panther)
Panther dies in 6 hits (with an 84% chance to deal damage if hit by SU-85)
The next counter argument is that the SU-85 is a cheaper tank. The problem I take with this, is the game being about veterancy. Keeping your units alive, gaining XP, (panther gets increased armor with vet), and eventually overwhelming your opponent with the units you were able to preserve. This sort of dynamic between tanks offers the Axis a huge amount of breathing room in terms of cognitive awareness of the battlefield. Allowing an Axis player to recover from what would have been a non-micro blunder with a 50% more time to react window.
How about we just buy a bigger tank on the allied side. Well... that one is kind of complicated, there are some, with advantages and disadvantages, mainly doctrinal choices if you want to go bigger, and even then, you are limited to a single one of them, while the Axis player is free to spam as many 960HP panthers as they see fit and give them a modicum of anti-infantry with an MG-42 upgrade (Jackson's would die to have this).
I understand the game is supposed to be asymmetrically balanced, and it does occur to me that the Axis do not win every game. I am simply trying to better understand why things are the way they are, since I am inclined to draw conclusions from the raw data I see. I am also aware that veterancy and commander/vehicle abilities strongly influence the dynamics of tank combat.
TL/DR: I'll leave it at that, there are plenty of more tank match-ups that can be compared, and I encourage everyone to do so. I spent a lot of time piecing together this table manually, I hope you guys make some use of it. I am interested to hear your conclusions. Most surprisingly to me, was the sheer amount of vehicles that actually deal 160 damage!