Recently, Wargaming and Project VALOR announced a special bundle to the World of Warships community that would raise funds for the USS Texas, a WWI and WWII veteran New York class battleship that sustained heavy damage during the recent hurricanes. This historic ship is sinking and in dire need of funds for drydock repairs. We had the chance to speak with Aleksandr Nikolaev, NA Publishing Director and Kelley James, Senior Manager of Player Outreach to learn more about the initiative.
MMORPG: How did Wargaming / Project VALOR get involved with the USS Texas project?
Aleksandr Nikolaev: With Project V.A.L.O.R., we are always trying to identify charities that fit our message. Having worked with the Texas a few years back during Military Appreciation Month, we became incredibly fond of the ship. One of the key pillars here at Wargaming is historical authenticity, so when news broke back in July that the USS Texas had suffered from more flooding, our players, who also give their time and energy into the repairs and restoration of the ship, came to us asking to do more. Having the USS Texas in World of Warships also made this relationship between the Battleship Texas Foundation and Wargaming even more extraordinary.
MMORPG: How bad is the structural damage to the ship? Did most of it come from the hurricane?
Aleksandr Nikolaev: The ship suffers constant leaks averaging over 300 tons of water per day, leading to significant erosion and deterioration that will eventually be irreparable. A team of historians, engineers and preservationists are attempting to move her to land before it’s too late. Hurricane Harvey caused massive flooding within Houston, which meant the USS Texas was flooding again, but this time under attack by unforeseen elements with fewer volunteers to help fight these challenges.
MMORPG: How much money does the foundation need to raise to preserve the USS Texas?
Aleksandr Nikolaev: The Battleship Texas Foundation is looking to raise $51 million to help with repairs as well as for dry dock construction and towing.
MMORPG: Who decides what items will be included in bundles? What inspired the item designs?
Aleksandr Nikolaev: For World of Warships, we wanted to create something visual that players could show off in-game and create buzz about the campaign to show support of the USS Texas and also offer a range of prizing that is well suited for whatever each player is comfortable spending. For the ship camo, the Texas Lone Star flag inspired the design – which is a direct visual tie in of one of Texas’ most beloved ships.
Kelley James: For all of the Project V.A.L.O.R. flags and emblems in game, we wanted to incorporate each charities overarching message into that specific month’s shield. The icon in each reflects what we feel matters most in our Veterans and Loved Ones Responsibility (V.A.L.O.R.) program: Family, Home, Remembrance, and Giving Thanks.
MMORPG: How much of each purchase price will be sent to the preservation effort?
Aleksandr Nikolaev: For World of Warships, 100% of the gross sales for these custom bundles and flags. We are not subtracting any transaction fees or any other overhead charges. In the past, we had previously run campaigns where we donated a portion of the proceeds but this year we moved solely to a player funded process.
MMORPG: When does the fundraising initiative end?
Aleksandr Nikolaev: The fundraising initiative for the Project V.A.L.O.R. Battleship Texas campaign ends at the end of November, but we will announce new fundraising efforts for Battleship Texas soon.
MMORPG: Does Wargaming have any other projects underway and / or waiting in the wings?
Kelley James: With Project V.A.L.O.R., we released four flags and emblems throughout 2017 with a specific veteran organization, military museum or memorial attached to it with the end goal being the final V.A.L.O.R. shield that will be rewarded to players who supported each of the four causes. Because some players were not able to support some of the campaigns early on, we’ll also be bringing back all four flags or emblems for purchase for one week during the month of December. This gives players the opportunity to unlock the final Project V.A.L.O.R. crest that we will be rewarding to players who supported these charities throughout the year.
MMORPG: How are these projects chosen?
Kelley James: At Wargaming, we believe in connecting and giving back. Our games are made to be enjoyed together; between parent and child, brothers and sisters in arms, and friends across the globe. With Project V.A.L.O.R. we focus on what’s important to our players and almost all of the organizations we have chosen to work with have come directly from them.
Image credit: Houstonia Mag
MMORPG: Please add any other information you'd like our readers to know.
More information about how you can support the USS Texas can be found on the World of Warships portal here: https://worldofwarships.com/en/news/common/dont-mess-with-uss/ and our video about Project V.A.L.O.R. here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcDw0r__R6U