Veteran's Day came and went, and one can safely say it was a bit quieter this year. After all, the United States is still in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, along with the rest of the world. One tradition during this month—a month where we celebrate those who have and are currently serving in the U.S. military—is Fleet Week. The pandemic didn't stop the team at Wargaming from making their own Fleet Week event in World of Warships.
Wargaming's Fleet Week in World of Warships was a combined effort between multiple companies. TechRaptor spoke with Regional Publishing Director of Wargaming America, Artur Plociennik, to learn more about this event.
Holding a Virtual Fleet Week in World of Warships
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person Fleet Weeks around the nation were cancelled. This event typically comprises active military ships visiting various cities around the country, as Plociennik explains. This benefits both the crew of the ships and the public, and both groups intermingle; the crew of said ships can visit the city after a long deployment abroad, and sometimes the public can take tours of these ships.
"The events are focused on showcasing the ships," said Plociennik, "their engineering and the stories of men and women who serve aboard—these are also some of the core pillars that make World of Warships an extremely popular game for people interested in naval history and engineering."
Due to the cancellation of Fleet Weeks around the country and recognizing the World of Warship community's passion for the subject, Wargaming decided to hold a virtual event. This also allowed for the company to teach its audience more about the very ships that they command in-game. Working remotely on this project proved to be a logistic challenge, as multiple companies collaborated to make this event possible. It was unprecedented, according to Plociennik.
"It was also a very complex live production—we did 4.5 hours of show streamed simultaneously on three platforms," he said. "Every 4-5 minutes we executed transitions to new scenes, interacted with chat, addressed technical issues, all while working from home instead of our comfortable live streaming studio."
Partnerships with entities such as Verizon and Wounded Warrior Project helped make this event possible. The World of Warships team, with a dedication to authenticity and a passion for the subject, tapped museums for this event, as well. These include the U.S.S. Midway, Iowa, Lexington, and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space museums. The team wanted to incorporate those who fought and manned these ships firsthand. As a result of this partnership, special content was created specifically for this Fleet Week.
"Lastly, we also received the unique footage of the legendary Corsair and Hellcat aircraft from Intrepid Sea, Air & Space museum and recreated the 3D models of the same aircraft in our virtual airshow, so viewers could appreciate the attention to details," said Plociennik.
Indeed, the Fleet Week event mixed both in-game and historical footage to create the atmosphere of the event. Cross-referencing historical footage and referring to World of Warships' in-house experts (and help from the museums), they were able to recreate shots from these videos.
"This event is just another building block in a foundation of remembrance and historical education that we are trying to lay for future generations," said Plociennik. "We want to impart both young, modern, as well as older veteran gamers with a sense that naval history is an important piece of cultural heritage that should not be forgotten as we move into an era of increased automation, both in seaborne, travel, and warfare. By staging events like this, both outside and in-game, we strive to bring naval heritage to our audience in the most vivid and interactive way we can."
Reflecting on World of Warships' Virtual Fleet Week
The result of Fleet Week turned out to be a success for World of Warships, receiving the "record highest viewership for the North American time zone, excluding tournament finals." Several thousand dollars were raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, and overall, the event had a very positive reception by players. In fact, a significant portion of World of Warships' players are active and former military, so for many players, it was a celebration for their service as much as it was for others.
Throughout the pandemic, there's been plenty of stories speaking of the resilience and perseverance of the human spirit. Life always finds a way, and with the Virtual Fleet Week, improvisation and careful planning allowed for traditions to continue.
And of course, development and updates are still ongoing. Wargaming implemented precautionary measures such as working from home, following social distancing, and more. As such, progress for new content in World of Warships slowed. With the end of the year quickly approaching, Plociennik promises that the New Year event is one players won't want to miss.
If you'd like to join in on Virtual Fleet Week, or just get into some naval action, you can get started here!
Did you participate in the Virtual Fleet Week stream? Are you playing World of Warships? Let us know in the comments below!