Heading into Halo World Championship 2018 last month, Ryan “RyaNoob” Geddes was one of the players Halo Waypoint pegged as a player to keep an eye on during the tournament. Ryan has competed at the highest level for many years, but this would be one of the biggest tournaments in his career as he would eventually go on to win the Halo Free for All (FFA) tourney and take home $6,000.
Back home in Tampa, FL, Ryan recently attended a celebration in his honor at his local Microsoft Store, the same store that he rose through the ranks of qualifying for HaloWC 2018.
“As a competitive Halo player, hearing that there were local tournaments at the Microsoft Store, I knew I had to attend,” explains Ryan. “After attending a bunch of their tournaments, 343 announced that you could qualify for the FFA World Championship through local Microsoft Store tournaments.”
Microsoft Store locations have become a building block for potential esports players, with many events occurring weekly across the country through its Esports Academy. And it’s not just about learning how to play games competitively — these community events also get gamers excited about watching esports tournaments either online or live in-person, like the one Ryan won this past April in Seattle, WA.
“Winning the Tampa Microsoft Store FFA was not easy,” says Ryan. “There were several high-tier amateur players that I had to beat just to get to the Store vs Store portion of the qualification system. From there I had mostly easy games to get to the finals where I had to get 1st place to qualify for Worlds.”
After that is when the competition ramped up. Ryan found himself dominating the first game of the tournament by piling up the kills, but the second game proved to be a nail-biter.
“Because of the scoring system, I needed a Top 2 placement to win the tournament,” says Ryan. “Game 2 was a 3-way tie until the last minute where I barely pulled away. This win gave me the confidence that it was possible for me to win the Halo World FFA Championship.”
Once Ryan arrived at the HaloWC, it was down to business. Battling through the semi-finals, getting his groove on, and then dominating his final match.
“I went into the finals extremely confident in my ability to win it,” says Ryan. “I got into a cycle early in the game and rarely lost a 1v1, got a few lucky kills, and before I knew it the game was over.”
This was Ryan’s first individual win in nearly three years. When asked how he kept his drive going after continuing to come up short, he said it was his love for Halo and having already invested so many hours into the competitive esports scene.
“I love to compete, and even though I hadn’t won a major tournament in a long time, I still enjoyed putting the work in every day to get back to the top,” Ryan said.
When not competing on the esports scene, Ryan often participates in events at his local Microsoft Store in Tampa, FL, sharing his love of gaming, and helping cultivate a growing local esports scene. At this recent celebration event in his honor, players were invited to try their hand against the champ himself, an event managed by the Microsoft Store Esports Academy.
“The local Microsoft Store scene has been incredible. I didn’t know what to expect, but the employees and the community made every event more enjoyable than the last,” explains Ryan. “They weren’t 100% sure on how to do everything (at first) but learned quickly and have gone out of their way time and time again to make sure everyone enjoys the event. There’s always food and refreshments, they set up the LAN system before it was mandatory, and they even shut off the internet for the mall for a bit to make sure that the players had the best chance of qualifying possible.”
At this Microsoft Store event, there was no shortage of challengers who were interested in beating Ryan at Halo, but none succeeded. There was also a 2v2 tournament on hand for everyone to participate in and later Ryan engaged in some helpful tips and strategies to playing Halo on Mixer. Overall the event was a success, bringing together both the emerging esports community in Tampa and showing that Ryan’s outreach to other gamers in the community is growing; even more so now that he’s a local hero to fans of Halo and his local Microsoft Store.
“What I love most is being able to show the people who don’t know much about esports, or the community of Halo, what it’s all about,” Ryan says. “Here, I’m able to talk to parents about my experiences, and give advice to new players on how to improve and interact (with one another).”
To learn more about the esports events happening at a Microsoft Store near you, keep an eye on this events page and stay tuned to Xbox Wire. For all the latest in Halo esports, be sure to visit Halo Waypoint.