The Ferdinand can be researched from two Tier VII vehicles: the Jagdpanther, a versatile tank destroyer, or the Tiger (P) that features great frontal armour. The Ferdinand takes on traits from both of them, and its main strengths are now its armour and firepower.
When coming from the Tiger (P), you'll already be familiar with the Ferdinand's chassis. There are two weak spots frontally: the lower frontal plate, which can be hidden easily behind debris, and the small angled plates on each side connecting the frontal with the side armour. The superstructure is effective against weaker opponents, but higher-tier vehicles won't have an issue penetrating it.
The Ferdinand is visibly a tall vehicle, so if you aren't standing behind a huge bush, you can pretty much forget about camouflage. As it counts on its firepower and survivability, the play style is not like the Jagdpanther and more like the Tiger (P). It often makes sense to go with your heavy tanks and either push the enemy yourself or support the assault if you aren't at the top of the list. The good horizontal gun arc helps you peek around corners without exposing too much of your vehicle.
After mounting the final researchable gun, the 12.8 cm Pak 44 L/55, you'll see a massive improvement to the armament for this vehicle. The gun is effective against most tanks it meets, even higher-tier ones, with the high damage per shot and rate of fire. If needed, you can also play defensively on any range. As mentioned before, hide your frontal weak spots and snipe your targets reliably at any range, thanks to your good accuracy.
With this set of equipment, you mainly increase the rate of fire and the view range. The Ferdinand may be a good vehicle for the frontlines, but if you need to defend or want to ambush the enemy, a Binocular Telescope will help you spot them earlier and get the advantage.
As mentioned before, the Ferdinand is about getting up close and personal, so Repair is a must-have. If you find your tracks blown off, they need to be repaired quickly, else you risk getting destroyed fast without having a chance to fight back – this is the disadvantage of not having a turret.