You are engaged in a gunfight, and a salvo of armor piercing comes in. Detonated. 99.99% chance of rage in chat.
Unfortunately, because shells are really quite RNG heavy, detonations are hardly ever caused by skill. Unless you are within ~8km of the target you can’t specifically aim for turrets. Because of this detonations seem unfair, and unrealistic.
The fact is though, detonations did actually happen. Historically shells have actually hit ammunition stores causing to devastating explosions, that almost always result in the ship sinking. For example, the HMS Hood was destroyed by a magazine detonation after one of Bismark’s shells hit a main turret.
But this doesn’t mean world of warships has to have detonations. Maybe they were just put there so players had something to always be annoyed at. Probably not though. The most likely thing is that wargamimg wanted to add some more depth to the game.
Detonations give that sense of unpredictability in battle. There is pretty much no way of knowing if a shell will detonate you. In real life though, there is a chance your damage control party does not put out a fire on board, whereas in the game it instantly does. Shells hitting the flight deck of an aircraft carrier could mean aircraft cannot take off yet in the game there is no effect (other than fire). Torpedoes travel in exactly straight lines and reload times are exact numbers. So it seems that rather than just having detonations as an annoying feature, they compensate for the predictability of other parts of the game.
But that still begs the question, should they be removed?
At the expense of being slightly annoying, detonations do actually give more depth to the game. We think that they should stay, but they should be reworked in some way.