Earlier this year Riot held an Ocean Week event for its Oceanic League of Legends players. The end result of that is that Riot will be building an artificial reef themed around their champion, Nautilus and setting it down in the ocean to be populated by coral and fish. It's early days for the project but I sent over a bunch of questions ANYWAY and Daniel Ringland – Riot's eSports Manager for the region – did his best to answer them.
What inspired the artificial reef idea in the first place?
We wanted a stretch goal that gave Oceanic players a chance to give back to the environment. Oceania is a diverse region but the common thread is the ocean. By creating an ocean reef players have created a structure that both commemorates the efforts they made and has a positive impact on the environment.
What do you think a real-life statue can do for a community that a digital tribute couldn't?
I think having a physical reminder of what the community achieved is very meaningful. Players came together to create a statue. Which is in the ocean. Helping sustain marine life. It gave the Oceanic community a chance to achieve something other regions have, to come together and carve out a unique sense of community.
How does the process of creating the artificial reef work?
There's basically two components. The first is the reef design. The community chose Nautilus as the Champion they wanted to be turned into the reef. Now it's up to our design team to come up with a design that is cool but also suits the environment and will encourage marine life. From there we'll go to fabrication.
The second component is finding an underwater site. To do this we'll work with a marine biologist and a company that specializes in creating artificial reefs. It's 100% crucial that the reef ends up having a positive impact, which means the statue needs to be placed in the right location.
What have you learned so far from working with the marine biologists and reef company to create it?
We’ve learnt quite a bit about how artificial reefs are helping to rejuvenate our underwater environment. We’ve found out that most artificial reefs are made out of concrete with engineers and scientists taking years to get the design and material combination right. Most reefs also have a hollow interior so marine life can take advantage of this via holes and the size and number of holes can easily be varied depending upon the reefs application.
Have you decided on the site yet?
Not yet but with our partner we're actively looking. Ideally we want a site that checks the environmentally positive box and gives any eco tourists taking a dive to check it out and enjoy what the players earned together.
Are you expecting it to become a tourist site?
We hope so! Well, I know I'll be checking it out!
One of Ocean Week's rewards was people getting their name on the reef - how many people did that end up being?
The reef is going to be Nautilus-themed - does that mean a statue of Nautilus or is it more about creating a tableau – what kind of size are we talking?
We have a few concepts we're working on but we need to identify and be approved for a site first as this will impact the size and design.
Do you plan to chart the reef's progress as it accumulates fish and coral?
We haven't planned this far ahead just yet but we think this would be really cool.
How has the Oceanic Pro League been shaping up?
We're happy with the start of the season! The competition has been tough between Chiefs, Dire Wolves and Legacy with the new kids on the block Rich Gang and Sudden Fear taking it to the big guns. At the moment Chiefs are sitting on top with Dire Wolves biting at their heels. Watch out for the game on March 23, when Dire Wolves go up against third placed Legacy. Both of these teams are determined to make in the Split 1 finals in April so it should be an epic game.
Do you think Chiefs have a shot at Worlds?
Absolutely! We have some amazing talent in this region and they are only going to get better in a professional league and playing on the international circuit.
Thanks for your time.