Last time I spoke about the arty nerf in the 8.3 update I had only actually played the SU-18, which is perhaps not the best tank to judge the effect of the nerf on artillery, being only Tier II. I have now managed a few matches on my Hummel, which I feel gives me a better grounding.
My thoughts before the nerf was that the drop in hp and generally reduced mobility would make counter-battery easier, and that overall a good player would still be able to be successful. I was also somewhat negative about the way it was handled, as I felt it was a poor solution to a problem. There was also one aspect of the nerf I did not write about, which was not in the patch notes, but which was acknowledged by Wargaming – most arties, especially further up the tier, had their blast radius reduced.
My conclusions after a few matches in my Hummel. Well, the reduced blast radius basically negates my fear about counter-battery as the smaller radius of the explosion means one does not have to move as far. It also expands arty-safe locations and makes arty somewhat more at the mercy of the random number generator. That said, a careful arty player will probably not notice it all that much as careful aiming can reduce its impact. The impact on TD mode I think was over-estimated.
According to Wargaming (from Silentstalker’s Q&A thread) the nerf has so far been successful in reducing the number of arty. I myself have not acquired all that much hate yet – but Gank has put together a very nice little youtube video of some of the mayhem he has managed to cause.
Overall I am not as unhappy with the nerf as I had expected, and I certainly look forward to (eventually) climbing into a GW Panther and causing some Tier VI SPG mayhem of my own :D