Everyone remembers the shock of playing online for the first time.
I was never much of a PC gamer, so one of my first experiences was with Halo 2. It was, to be perfectly honest, demoralising.
I think most of us can relate: you thought you were untouchable, you thought you were the best. Turns out you absolutely were touchable. Turns out you were only the best among your small group of friends. You went online, you got destroyed. You blamed mitigating factors. But then it happened again.
You jumped online, you tried to get better. You ran the gamut of search terms and stumbled across players doing things you could barely imagine let alone put into practice. YouTube was in its infancy but there were videos to watch and if you played Halo in any serious capacity one name rang louder than most. That name was Ogre 2.
There was an Ogre 1 and there was an Ogre 2. In the beginning I had no idea what they looked like. I only knew they were twins and, when it came to Halo, nigh-on untouchable.
Ogre 1's 41-0 game on Halo 2's Lockout was one of the most watched videos when I first searched, but the consensus back then: Ogre 2 was — by a smidgeon — the most accomplished player. He was the Nick Bruiser to Ogre 1's Rick.
For the longest time he was unanimously the best Halo player in the world.
Emerging in the tail-end of the Halo 1 era, the Ogre twins teamed up with another legendary pro in Dave 'Walshy' Walsh and embarked upon one of the most celebrated runs in eSports history. When I started watching they were called 'Team 3D' but that name eventually changed to the more appropriate 'Final Boss'. Incredibly Final Boss placed in the top 2 in 38 Major League Gaming tournaments in a row (30 of which they won). They transitioned seamlessly from Halo 1 to Halo 2, where they enjoyed their most successful period. For three years straight — from 2005 to 2007 — Ogre 2 was named 'best overall player' by his fellow pros.
Halo 3 was a little trickier. Final Boss won Halo 3's first Major League Gaming tournament but struggled with the remainder of the game's opening season as a new generation of players emerged. By this point Ogre 1 had reportedly grown tired of playing Halo. Eventually he would retire — to Australia of all places — but Ogre 2 continued to play, recruiting a number of different players in an attempt to rekindle the magic Final Boss had with the previous two Halo games.
And eventually he would, alongside iGotUrPistola. In 2010 a newly resurgent Final Boss would win three tournaments straight. Ogre 2 was already considered the greatest Halo player of all time, but this run confirmed that legacy. Ogre 2 continued to play, eventually abandoning the Final Boss name (and team). With Halo: Reach he would win another National Championship — making him the only player to win a National Championship across all four Halo games to that point.
But Halo's popularity as a mainstream eSports game was beginning to dwindle, making it less financially viable to continue as Halo 'pro', but Ogre 2 persisted. He played Halo 4, Halo 2: Anniversary and Halo 5 as a professional player, to great success, with the team Counter Logic Gaming.
Today he announced his retirement from professional Halo.
If you didn't already notice, I haven't been playing halo/in the LCQ. I wanted to wait till I knew for sure what was next, but this will do
— Tom Ryan (@TomRyanOGRE2) May 22, 2016
For many reasons, I've decided it's time to stop competing and I'm currently looking for what is next in the eSports world for me. ❤️?
— Tom Ryan (@TomRyanOGRE2) May 22, 2016
It's funny, I haven't payed attention to pro Halo for a long time. My own personal interest waned with Halo: Reach and was all but obliterated with Halo 4. When Halo 5 was released and showed promise as a competitive shooter, my interest was piqued but, for the most part, it was difficult to go back. Most of the names had changed and a large part of the fun with pro Halo — and all eSports for that matter — is in the personalities.
And the stories.
Ogre 2's story was one of sustained, almost other-worldly success. He was so good for so long in what was essentially a young man's game. His peers, including his own teammates, found it difficult to maintain the high standards required of top-tier Halo players, but Ogre 2 somehow managed to transcend. He was a top player for well over a decade and probably the game's best player for half that time.
He retires as the greatest Halo player to ever pick up a controller and — barring a miracle — that legacy is untouchable.