"'King of the Hill' is pure carnage!" recounts Fite. "Battles normally last 2 to 4 hours and create a 'Battle Space' within a specified address space (kill zone). The external attack surface is usually based on difficulty level of the battle and experience and skill level of the combatants. However, once the outer layer of security has been breached, combatants can leverage compromised assets inside of the Battle Space to attack internal assets or even other combatants - just like in the real world."
Apart from being the developer, Fite is also "The Packet Master". He facilitates the battles and serves as a commentator by explaining the attacks to the spectators. "It's a throw back to old RPGs, when I played the role of Dungeon Master," he says with a smile.
To participate in a public PacketWars battle all you need is a computer of your own. The organizers sanction players and teams at their discretion, but there are currently no extra fees to pay other than admission to the hosting event - typically hacker and security conventions. Event sponsors pay for the operational costs of the battles and provide prizes.
Battles can be played by individuals and teams. It is assumed all players are law-abiding citizens, and illegal activity of any kind is not tolerated. "That mainly refers to physical attacks on others or on their equipment," he says. "In the real world, physical attacks are certainly an option, but in our simulations they are prohibited. Other than that, the battle unfolds on an isolated network, so pretty much everything else goes."
Typical PacketWars players are security and IT professionals, students, hobbyists, and the occasional hacker. "This is a very accessible sport for beginners. In the past I would say you had to have much more experience. When it comes to organizing teams, we suggest the players to think about covering a varied skill-set," explains Fite.
"TCP/IP and basic networking is probably the only real technological requirement. But you won't get far without good application and OS skills," he says. "We have introduced a player rating system. The more you play - earning league points - the better we are at rating your skill levels. Registered players can accumulate league status and be eligible for special Battle opportunities, including invitational events not open to the public."
The basic idea is to get as many players possible involved, so that a lot of games can be played. Sometimes qualifying events are run or participation is limited due to physical constraints based on the battle venues, but other than that - everyone who intends to follow the rules is welcome.
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