About a year ago in the Oceania region of Riot's massive online battle arena, League of Legends, a special event was held during Ocean Week. If players choose from a specific list of champions (mostly water-themed or otherwise related to in-game pirate haven, Bilgewater) and won games, they would gain points for one of the major, real life cities in the area. When a point threshold was reached, that city was successful defended and digital prizes and rewards were dispersed to participants. But there was one prize that trumped them all, and it has finally been delivered as promised.
Over the weekend, divers brought a massive statue in the shape of Nautilus, Titan of the Depths, into the waters of Moreton Bay, Australia to join what will be the Moreton Bay Artificial Reef Project. Dubbed "The Nautilus Reef Project" by Riot, this was the goal that OCE was fighting tirelessly for during the year. With high scoring player names etched into it, the statue will be forever part of the ocean and its burgeoning ecosystem. Something I'm sure Naut isn't too upset about. Or at least not any more upset than he normally is.
Nautilus wasn't the only character considered for this treatment. After the 275,000 point goal was reached, a vote was held between Nami, Fizz, and him. As the other two would definitely have fit right into the motif, there is something stoic about Nautilus that makes his image more appealing for this project. Fans agreed, an he was selected pretty handily by popular vote.
His steely purpose in the face of impossible odds isn't much different than the environmental battle he's become a part of. Queensland - the state where Moreton Bay is located - is world famous for its Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world. It's the largest single structure ever made by living organisms, spanning 1,400 miles and containing over 2,900 individual reefs. It can even be seen from space. It's also in the most danger that it's ever been in.
Scientists estimate that at least 50% of the Great Barrier Reef is suffering from a huge bleaching event. Bleaching happens when coral expels all of the micro organisms in its body when under significant stress as a sort of defense mechanism. This causes coral to lose its signature color, turning a ghastly white and leaving it in grave danger. Prolonged stress will kill bleached coral, and the strong El Nino coupled with consistently rising ocean temperatures are providing the perfect storm for bleaching on an unprecedented scale.
As environmentalists scramble to try to find a way to fix it, it's heartening to see gamers pulling together to do what they can about the issue the best way they know how. For more information on the project, check out Riot's Nautilus Project mini-site. Let us know what you think about a real life depth charger in the off of the Australian coast on Facebook and Twitter.
Jarrett shares his love of video games and geek culture through feature articles on Gamepedia. He prides himself on his deep attraction to Japanese beat-em ups and his god-like Bushido Blade talents.