So these are my very initial first impressions of the 8.4 update, as informed by one play session last night, and what I have managed to do so far this evening.
The thing I like best about this patch is simply the ability to change which ammunition you are going to load before the battle starts, during the timer countdown. It sounds like a small thing, and it is, but it is also a significant “life-enhancing” measure. In particular with a tank like my KV-2 which defaults to firing HEAT when I want to fire HE.
The second thing I liked most about this patch is a new entry in the after-battle statistics, showing how much potential damage one soaked up from the enemy. I am assuming this number assumes average damage or something similar, but it an interesting way of showing how valuable all those bounces / track damage-only shots can be.
Of the redone maps I have so far only played Ensk and Steppes. The new minimap for Ensk does make the town much clearer to navigate, and as far as I can recall there are more trees on the eastern side. Otherwise I would say the changes for both maps have mostly been cosmetic rather than gameplay.
As far as the new tanks, the highest UK Tank Destroyer I have seen is the Tier VI AT 8, in a match where it was rather effective. I have also seen a couple of the new Soviet premium tank destroyer, and all the new German lights. The lower-tier British TDs and German lights are already becoming targets for my Marder II. I have taken my VK1602 Leopard out for a quick spin, which has had its ups and downs but one up was an Ace Tanker medal this evening, so that was very nice.
Overall though this update so far offers no major gameplay change – apart from that small item I first mentioned, so it is difficult to have strong impressions. Perhaps this is because this is the first update in a while, that I recall, which does not offer very much apart from new tanks. This makes it feel a workmanlike update, but one I feel that may be forever overshadowed by the HE-shell kerfuffle.