Amazingly—and I mean that without an ounce of hyperbole, I am amazed—it has happened again. For the third time, according to the UK Defense Journal (opens in new tab), classified military documents have been posted to the forums of War Thunder, Gaijin Entertainment's free-to-play vehicular war game, because a player got pissed off that some tiny aspect of the simulation was wrong.
The latest leak of classified military intel onto a videogame forum—a genuinely wild sentence to type, believe me—is an image of the DTC10-125 tungsten penetrator and a technical doc describing its specifications. Unlike the previous two leaks, which revealed information about the British Challenger 2 (opens in new tab) and French Leclerc (opens in new tab) main battle tanks, this one is about Chinese hardware: The DTC10-125 is a high-velocity, non-explosive 125mm sabot round fired by the Chinese Type 96 and Type 99 MBTs, described by the UK Defense Journal as "one of the PLA's [People's Liberation Army's] main tank killing rounds."
What makes the whole thing even more mind-boggling is that according to Nobleman Swerve on Resetera (opens in new tab), it's possible the commission of this extremely serious high crime was entirely unnecessary.
"The game recently closed a publicly accessible development server that previewed the upcoming content drop," they wrote. "The thing about these dev servers is that the values for things such as armor, penetration, or flight models are usually placeholders subject to change on final release.
"So what happens was the developer added this shell to the server, but copy/pasted the values of the previous version as a placeholder. This poster saw this, flipped out, and went ahead and posted treason to correct what are publicly communicated as placeholder values."
Once is an accident, as the saying goes; twice is a coincidence. But three times, and man, you really have to start thinking that maybe governments around the world need to start putting on "confidentiality" refresher courses for their tankers.
The post has since been removed, and Gaijin has asked its players—again!—to please not share classified military intel on its forums.
"Our community managers immediately banned the user and deleted his post, as the information on this particular shell is still classified in China," the studio said in an email to PC Gamer. "Publishing classified information on any vehicle of any nation at War Thunder forums is clearly prohibited, and the game developers never use it in their work.
"While we understand that our players want the game to be as realistic as possible, we're kindly asking them not to do anything illegal and jeopardize their safety, as well as safety of our community team members. The developers
of War Thunder do their best to research information on vehicles using legally available tools, and scandals like this are clearly not useful for our efforts."
For the record, treason is an incredibly serious crime, punishable by death in most countries. But it's also pretty funny when you do it on the War Thunder forums.