The Halo World Championship 2018 is in full swing, with recent events in Orlando and London bringing some of the top teams in the world together on their road to the grand finals in Seattle later this year.
I stopped by the London finals, the qualification event for European teams, where the top four booked a place at the World Championship. It wasn't the first time I'd been to a British Halo event, and while the scale of the show put on by Gfinity was incredible, it wasn't the set, nor the action on the main stage that grabbed me the most.
Alongside the main tournament was the Free For All (FFA) competition where literally anyone can turn up and play with, and maybe even beat, the pros.
Halo World Championship FFA format
Unlike the main Halo World Championship competition which is a four-versus-four (4v4) format over either five or seven maps covering three game modes (slayer, strongholds and capture the flag), FFA is an individual, single-map affair based purely on kills.
Players go into a time-limited contest on their own, on a single map and the winner is the one who emerges with the most kills at the end. In the event of a tie, assists become the tiebreaker.
While the FFA format doesn't necessarily test a player's strategic knowledge it does test raw ability. As with any first-person shooter (FPS) game, if you can't get the kills, your success will be limited. And since you're not on a team, if it moves, it's a target.
The FFA tournament runs alongside the main 4v4 and has its own world final taking place in Seattle. The winner of Orlando's event has already qualified and will be joined by the winner of the European event, with more to take place in the ANZ and North American Halo World Championship qualifiers.
The winner of the European finals also got a check for $2,000. In the case of Europe, the final was made up of six professional players, but that's not necessarily always going to be the case.
What the FFA competition provides is the opportunity for any Halo player to take part and potentially win themselves an all-expenses-paid trip to compete at the World Championship in Seattle.
You too can give it a try
The FFA tournaments are attached to the qualifiers for the various regions, so if you're a keen player or always fancied having a go at a proper competition, there's literally no reason not to sign up. Microsoft recently ran some in some of its retail stores in the U.S and in Australia, but the remainder will be at sanctioned events.
If you have a team of four, you might fancy your chances in the main tournament, but even in the FFA, you'll be going up against some of the best players in the world.
There will be FFA tournaments at the upcoming ANZ qualifiers in Sydney and Mexico City, as well as at the main event in Seattle. Three will qualify in Seattle to join the other nine finalists to go at it to be crowned the world champion.
For more information on how you can take part, check out the official Halo World Championship blog. And if you've been competing or planning to join in before the final, jump into the comments and let us know!