At times, rivalries are played up for cameras, because that’s what people want. Real, human, animosity between two or more people is more fun for a viewer than the hand-holding, kumbaya singing, brand-safe image that esports sometimes are portrayed as. When there’s genuine dislike or rivalry, stakes are inherently raised.
Lines in the sand are drawn, fanbases are divided. It may not be completely brand-safe, but it’s more interesting from a viewing perspective, and it’s part of what makes sport great. The key is that it has to be real, it has to be genuine. A fake rivalry built on meaningless banter is easily sniffed out.
Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Ryan “RyaNoob” Geddes’ beef was real, even if both admit they played into it a bit. Notably, the two were at each other’s throats for most of Halo 5, even after teaming up at the beginning of H5’s run for about two weeks. Like most arguments between ostensibly young people, it began due to communication issues.
RyaNoob says the genesis of the beef was teabagging during Halo 5 matchmaking, combined with at-event trash talk and a lack of a social media presence to prove he wasn’t an asshole. Spartan admits that “I was younger and I had a lot of mental stuff going on.” He can’t remember the exact moment the animosity started, but at the time, he definitely took things more personally than he does now.
However both attempted to gin it up with banter, or however it was played up on broadcasts and among the community, the underlying dislike was genuine. Beef among players in Halo is real, for the most part; It’s not manufactured. Spartan says, directly, that he doesn’t like the Inconceivable roster, composed of Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Michael “Falcated” Garcia, Adam “Bound” Gray, and Eric “Snip3down” Wrona. He also says he’s not unique: other players dislike certain other players as well.
Part of the general sense of dislike in the esport, both admit, is that Halo has its roots in an earlier time in gaming, where it was commonplace to be very, well, public with your dislike of someone else. Part of it has to do with how long Halo has been an esport, coupled with quite a bit of instability in the scene for the past decade. It’s easy to have bad blood when you’re worried about your job being sunsetted or worried about being dropped and losing what little income you have, and it’s easy to not care about your brand when Halo isn’t your full-time job.
Several years later, Spartan and RyaNoob find themselves on the same eUnited roster, with high hopes heading into the Kickoff Raleigh Major. How was the beef squashed? Personal growth, and a desire to win, even if it meant swallowing pride.
The change was immediate for Spartan, but it wasn’t totally immediate for RyaNoob, even if he was on board with the idea. It took a bit of time, but Spartan proved that he’s at the very least growing in some fashion as a person. RyaNoob claims he now has the best mental state of anyone on the team.
“I think it's pretty much we just want to win. Like I think Tim (Rayne) reached out. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but he's something like he sent me a pretty long detailed message about how my play style would fit the team and like, Ryan was willing to bury the hatchet, water under the bridge type stuff … I was like yeah, let's fucking get it,” said Spartan.
That older animosity has hardened them both, and it’s something RyaNoob claims as an edge in the server: both understand, wholly, what motivates the other person, and what makes them tick.
“With Tyler, I want to hype him up,” Ryanoob said. “...Every time he makes a good play, I want to tell him that he's made a good play. And I think that brings the best out of him in these situations.”
Friendship and a desire to win aren’t enough to succeed in Halo, being nice isn’t a superpower. You have to be dedicated, dedicated enough to want to win above wanting to win your way.
Heading into the Raleigh Major, Spartan and RyaNoob’s willingness to move forward, forget old transgressions and begin constructively learning from their past has made eUnited a dangerous team to the front-runners. They aren’t the favorites, but they certainly can’t be overlooked, and it would be irresponsible to not include them as a team that could feasibly, logically win this tournament.
“It's just been smooth sailing. Like, really, the way I would put it is like if anyone has any issues with anyone, If anyone thinks that anyone is weird, all you have to say is like, ‘time heals all wounds’ and all I have to say is like yeah, a year ago, I was weird. And I'm trying not to be now,” RyaNoob said.