Test Alliance Please Ignore – State of the Alliance 2020-11-15

2020-11-21

Header art by Cryo Huren

Recently Vily, the de facto co-leader of Test Alliance Please Ignore (TEST), and ProGodLegend (PGL), the other co-leader, held a State of the Alliance (SOTA) conference and it was . . . Well, you can decide how to categorize it.  Here’s a transcription of the opening. The timer locations for all quotes denote the end of the passage. I know some of you out there need verifiable proof and not opinion, so feel free to listen yourself.  I want you to. I have put timer locations in to help you find the appropriate lines. Note, the audio begins slightly into Vily’s speech as the opening is cut off. I have supplied the missing part from the context of what follows:

Vily: “[When we planned this war] we were taking the biggest roll of the dice that anybody had ever seen. And when you do that, it’s a pretty big leap of faith. And, one of the big components of that, that we knew it would mean, is that no matter what happened in that war, whether we won or we lost or any of that, it was gonna change how we operate, basically, forever. And when I saw that, I mean that quite literally, because from that point on there was no more . . . [shifts thought after a pause]. At the end of this war, when we started it, we knew one thing above all others. . . . When the war ended we would have either won or lost, but in either situation, Esoteria would not be our home at the end of it. If we lost, it would mean we would be losing Esoteria to Goons, and if we won, it would mean that sooner or later, we would probably have to be the ones to move into Delve and take it from Goonswarm.” 1:21

An Inconvenient Truth

I cannot stress enough the importance of the first minute of a SOTA. It sets the tone for everything that follows. Will it be upbeat and fast paced? Will it be a call to war, to rally allies? Or, will it be a lacklustre and pitiful display of bumbling, while having to admit a very inconvenient truth? Any leader knows that you only use language such as “biggest roll of the dice anyone has seen,” or “leap of faith” or “no matter what happened” with the greatest of care. Yet, these are utterances in the first few seconds. Further, this opening by Vily seems to be in stark contrast to what was being said only a few weeks ago.

After the phrases like “leap of faith,” Vily ends with the bombshell: TEST will be leaving Esoteria. Win or lose, the call has been made. Now, let’s back up a bit and lay a little groundwork for those who may be new to this conflict.

Only a short while ago, we heard from PGL in a Legacy SOTA regarding the progress in World War Bee. Now, two months on, we are treated to a TEST SOTA. Just in case you are not aware, EVE gets tricky at points. Especially when you are creating the largest “blue donut” ever seen. To add a bit of clarity here, I will try to explain how this invasion force composed of many alliances, often called PAPI, is functionally organized.

TEST is a single alliance that leads a coalition of alliances. This may sound familiar, as it is exactly the way that the Imperium is formed. But when a coalition of 40k plus characters is not enough for you to take on a similarly large and powerful enemy (the Imperium), you will do anything – even join forces with people you were fighting very recently – to find more “blues.” Hence, the mega coalition of PAPI was born. But, the leaders of The Legacy Coalition have to seek agreement with their partners for most actions taken. This group of alliance leaders (think Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin at Yalta) then creates a war council. Yes, the PAPI invasion is being run by a committee. If you have any experience with committees running anything, then you will know how these scenarios often play out. It is important to note, though, that when TEST makes a statement of what it plans to do (regardless of what the other members of the committee may want), the other member alliances (such as Pandafam, Fraternity, The Army of Mango) can either do as they are told or leave. Capo di tutti i capi.

To say that Vily was light on details would be an understatement. But Vily did go on to say the following:

“We are now at the point in the war we’re [hesitates] pretty confident that we are going to win.” 1:47

 Line members must have really felt like beating the war drums then, especially with that “pretty” thrown in. TEST is going to move from their home, but fortunately Vily is “pretty” confident this will all work out. He goes on to say that the move by TEST out of Esoteria would take place in “one to five/six months, whatever.” 2:04 Quite a spread there. It seems that Vily has at least widened his goal posts so far this time that, even if he fails to deliver, it is likely that everyone will have forgotten what was promised in this SOTA.

What TEST Has Always Really Wanted

Perhaps sensing the mood, PGL then speaks at length. He goes on to add “clarity” to the “plan,” though he covers very little new information except about ship doctrines changing.  PGL notes that this announcement is simply TEST leadership giving the line members plenty of time to get their stuff in order to make the move into Querious, Period Basis and Delve. While this impending move may have been big news for some, this exact space grab scenario was predicted and written about on INN in September.

PGL then says:

“One of the things we’ve talked about on the FC team is that if Goons actually knew what they were doing, it’s very likely we would have lost this war trying to assault it. Trying to break into Delve and Querious.” 4:30

He then went on to declare that Delve, Period Basis and Querious were a fortress and that there is only one invasion vector. This statement is a tad odd, given that the five months of “exterminating goons from the game” centered on a “pincer maneuver” that involved the region of Fountain. PAPI completely ignored the approach that, PGL states, was always known by TEST leadership to be the main route into Delve. If he knew it, then why bother with Fountain?  Oh wait! TEST didn’t bother much with Fountain.  They left PandaFam to suffer a lot of losses to glass it for them while TEST engaged in some “complicated” move ops. Now, after writers at INN, including me, kept talking about the single vector, PGL notes this was the only way into Delve.

But why take over Delve, Period Basis, and Querious? PGL supplies the answer:

“Delve, Querious, and Period Basis are actually a fortress. Goons didn’t make a fortress out of it. It IS a fortress. It is exceptionally difficult to invade. There is only one invasion vector and if you defend it properly, it is almost impossible to invade. Unlike Goons, we are actually smart enough to defend it properly.” 4:53

The implication is, of course, that TEST will need a defensible space, because when this war is over, the blue donut breaks apart and turns on each other, including TEST.  But TEST will have the fortress.  Too bad, Pandafam; thanks for the assist.  Mangos–well done; now get the hell out of here.  Frat; sorry lads, stop pinging my Discord, it’s bugging me.  You don’t like us taking Fortress Delve? Just try to get us out of it.

“The plan was always we were going to move into Delve and Period Basis at some point. It is better space. It is very much better space.” 4:14

What Becomes of Esoteria?

The SOTA then is mostly taken up with a series of rambling statements that seem to completely reverse what Vily has said. Vily initially said everything was coming out of Esoteria. Then, just a little later, PGL says, “Even when the war is completely over, we will still have structures in Esoteria, we will try to maintain jump bridges, etc., etc., but we want to make sure that everyone is well aware of what the plan is.” 11:38 Well, I guess we know now. Everything’s moving. No wait. Everything is staying! I got mixed up there for a second.

This really is looking like TEST leadership reacting to an ever-evolving situation that is far from within their control any more. Questions about selling citadels to the “new owners” of Esoteria were batted away swiftly with “we have interested buyers” and then no more details.

What About Goons? “Who Cares”

It would be really simple for me to just go through the notes of the TAPI SOTA and list the bits where one thing is said only to see it contradicted later on. But I am not even going to bother. PAPI was formed with the intention of “exterminating goons from the game.” That was their original goal. That is the drum that PAPI banged hard to start this war. Ever since then PAPI has been walking things back. In PGL’s own words:

“We have to finish the war with maximum effort. We have to kill every Goon structure in all three of these regions and drive them to lowsec and then sit on their face and make sure they truly understand how terrible their leadership is for putting them in this situation and start to realize that Goonswarm, is not, in its current form, a viable alliance in this game. Maybe one day in the future they’ll change and become something useful and maybe they’ll die.  Who cares?” 10:09

Well, TEST, I thought you guys cared.  I thought Vily cared when he talked of “extermination.” Maybe all you really cared about was taking over Delve, Period Basis, and Querious and making sure it’s you that have the fortress.

Perhaps the main thing to take away from the TEST SOTA is that Vily and PGL have yet again claimed that they can see into the future. These two generals, leading the largest blue donut ever, know exactly what they are doing. They are committing to regions when the rest of Eve is going “Hey, let’s wait and see what CCP does with the changes before we even try to adapt to them.” But PGL spent much of the end of the SOTA claiming that it will only take one battle for PAPI to lose and, if they do, it will be because the CCP servers are terrible.

Being here and writing this article now feels a little odd. Two months ago I rushed back into the game. Moved some assets about and re-fitted ships to the current doctrines. I then prepared for death or glory. Two months on and the Imperium is still here, in Delve. It would be foolish to say, even for a second, that the Imperium is out of the woods. The Imperium is still vastly outnumbered. The PAPI invasion forces also seem determined to embrace the “hell dunk or blue balls” mentality of Vily. Will this lead to good fights and the content promised to PAPI members? Or will it only encourage the Imperium to find more methods of asymmetric warfare that seem to have proven so successful in Esoteria?

A final thought. If this SOTA by TEST was all planned out and is a super good thing, then why is there so little on Reddit about it? There are a couple of posts that have just been dismissive comments. Surely, TEST and all their Legacy members moving into the lands of the people they intend to exterminate must be a good thing, right? So where are all the “victory” posts? Just listen to this TEST SOTA and draw your own conclusions.

I would love to know your thoughts in the comments. Was this a top notch SOTA worthy of winners or was it a rambling disorganized mess?

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Comments

  • Carvj94

    ““[When we planned this war] we were taking the biggest roll of the dice that anybody had ever seen.”

    Unfortunately for you guys the roll you needed was a nat 20 just to have a chance. Even if the war was going perfectly it’d still take almost a year to clear out every structure and bleed goons dry. It’s just not gonna happen at this point. The only way to beat goods is to make a better Delve and match their industrial output but with more pilots.

    November 21, 2020 at 8:08 AM
    • William Doe Carvj94

      Even with the largest blue donut ever assembled they’ve only just barely been able to inch into Delve. Things aren’t going to go any faster for PAPI unless a massive backstab happens within the Imperium which seems extremely unlikely.

      At this point they’d need CCP to help rig odds in their favor if they really want to take Delve for themselves within a reasonable timeframe.

      November 21, 2020 at 11:04 AM
      • Garreth Vlox William Doe

        The T5Z keeps SCREAMS desperation mode to me. You don’t drop a keep like that next to an enemy stager while you have essentially no control of it and the surrounding systems unless you are trying to make the enemy quit. And even that move was rushed, because they didn’t wait until they had burned down all the structures on grid with the keep, and then failed to follow up on both timers on grid with their keep last night. Test talks a good game as always but we’re coming up on the deciding fights of this war and test is looking more and more nervous as we get closer.

        November 21, 2020 at 2:47 PM
        • I mean, before I had to bridge to NPC Delve to camp PAPI. Now I can do it next to our market hub. Works for me?

          November 22, 2020 at 11:37 PM
      • kwnyupstate . William Doe

        Vily admitted today on INN they won’t even attack one keepstar until they can destroy all other structures in delve. He actually said that. Doesn’t sound very confident.

        November 22, 2020 at 4:09 AM
        • William Doe kwnyupstate .

          Wonder how long the patience of all the line members and PandaFam will last through all of that.

          November 22, 2020 at 4:55 AM
        • Garreth Vlox kwnyupstate .

          so his plan is to do 3000~ish timers AND THEN ask his guys to grind 60 gunned keeps? What kind of drug cocktail could he be on to make that seem like a good idea to him?

          November 23, 2020 at 3:29 AM
  • William Doe

    Oh look, more goalpost moving – again. Also funny that it has at best a lukewarm reception even Reddit. I wonder outside of the completely brainwashed plebs that reside there, most of the line members aren’t too happy in general with how bogged down this “war” has turned out.
    I hate to sound like a broken record, but FRAT needs to start their inevitable backstab and start beating the crap out of TEST now. At least that would make things interesting and give plenty of people a good chuckle.

    November 21, 2020 at 11:00 AM
    • Garreth Vlox William Doe

      If they were to jump on TEST now while they are spread out over the entire south and living with the majority of their war assets in just a handful of keeps far from their home region the damage to TEST would be immeasurable.

      November 21, 2020 at 2:42 PM
    • Xandryll William Doe

      If Frat starts to enter Esoteria, I don’t think it will be a backstab. Test probably sold this to Pandafam as we will leave but we want help evicting the residents of Delve. Frat gets the space they wanted and more rental area for Pandafam. Test gets away from them to have a buffer zone. And everyone gets to dog pile on the Imperium. But was a time line for the Esoteria handoff ever established…

      November 22, 2020 at 2:21 AM
  • Rammel Kas

    I just read all of this as… what’s the new flashy word… “copium”… yes basically a glorified version of morale posting with the hopes that planting another keepstar would make me scared of them? Don’t rightly know. It looks empirically like Passpi get into bad losses when they don’t forcibly coerce all their buckets of krabs to form up for them. And they only have high days and holidays “progress” doing little objectives when they can get a few select higher-ups to start threatening their FC’s into action.

    November 21, 2020 at 11:11 AM
  • Simon Chui

    Sounds like they’re going all in, abandoning Esoteria and bringing everything to Delve. If we believe them, that is.

    Is it just me, or does the PAPI push towards 1dq look like they’re racing for the objective and neglecting their flanks? Maybe they finally realise they’re not winning fast enough.

    November 21, 2020 at 11:30 AM
    • Garreth Vlox Simon Chui

      “Is it just me, or does the PAPI push towards 1dq look like they’re racing for the objective and neglecting their flanks? Maybe they finally realise they’re not winning fast enough”

      Watching TEST in this war reminds me of a lords of the realm match where one of the players jumped the gun and went all in too early, so now they are raising massive armies of peasants and burning their own territory to the ground in an attempt to nuke the enemy before their war machine grinds to a halt and they get run over by their better prepared opponent.

      November 21, 2020 at 2:44 PM
      • Simon Chui Garreth Vlox

        Well, unlike other games, in Eve the game doesn’t end after you win or lose. Everybody has to live with the consequences of their bad decisions.

        Or I guess there’s the option of logging out and never logging back in.

        November 21, 2020 at 11:47 PM
  • George Ewing

    PAPI is a joke. Just like the SOTA.

    November 21, 2020 at 12:36 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    “At the end of this war, when we started it, we knew one thing above all others. . .”

    Was this a free-verse poetry slam or a SOTA?

    I think it’s clear the one thing TEST knew “above all others” when starting this war was that they’re greatly farked no matter what happens. If they fail to “exterminate” Goons, they’re facing Fountain War 2.0. If they successfully drive Goons out of the game, PanFam will look for new alliances to fight. Guess which one is the obvious candidate, particularly given its incompetence in this war.

    And the irony of Vily claiming other alliances don’t know what they’re doing is almost too much to bear.

    November 21, 2020 at 2:45 PM
    • Garreth Vlox Guilford Australis

      “I think it’s clear the one thing TEST knew “above all others” when starting this war was that they’re greatly farked no matter what happen”

      The only thing TEST knew when they started this was that they didn’t have a fucking clue. To this day no discernable, focused strategy has come to light, they are just wildly swinging in targets at delve hoping one of them just makes us quit playing so they can start AFK structure bashing with a handful of guys. Every time they hit something and it doesn’t make us quit they move on to the next hoped for ending point all the while they keep avoiding attacking the only thing that would actually hurt goon morale which is killing our delve keepstars in the high traffic systems. Personally I think their next desperation move will be to target a keep on the edge of delve that they think they can isolate and camp us out of fighting over so they can claim the morale victory of killing a delve keep without the risk involved in hitting one in delve’s core.

      November 21, 2020 at 3:00 PM
  • I think Vily and Piggles had to make this announcement to legitimize the land-grab their members are already engaging in– based on my scouting in south Delve, their members’ top priority seems to be moving in behind the front lines and ratting like crazy. Typical TEST behavior: stir the pot, convince others to eat the costs while you make a token effort, then try and grab all the loot. Just like how they show up in droves to loot and salvage the field six seconds after every engagement. Checks out.

    November 21, 2020 at 9:52 PM
  • kwnyupstate .

    Today on INN Vily even admitted they won’t attack any keepstar until they destroy all other structures. That is a strategy of someone without confidence.

    The imperium is the strongest and most successful alliance in the game which means it surely is a viable alliance and much praise should be given to leadership. If PAPI who outnumber goons 2-3 times drive them out of delve that is hardly a reason for members to curse the name of leadership. If you have 2-3 times the numbers and can’t find the courage to attack ONE of their keepstars that says YOU are not viable. And PAPI aren’t; they even hate each other and will kill each other eventually.

    November 22, 2020 at 4:03 AM
    • wasn’t VFK the honey pot!!! seems TEST just want to be the “NEW” goons!! and everyone seen what happened there with their “friends”

      November 22, 2020 at 8:55 PM
  • Bakina

    How many extermination campaigns were succesful in the history of EVE? Or in history at all? BTW, “Exterminating” the imperium will take long and make line members itchy

    November 22, 2020 at 4:30 AM
    • Garreth Vlox Bakina

      You may kill the name of an alliance, but 99% of the people involved just move on to a new alliance and keep playing.

      November 30, 2020 at 6:48 PM
  • Michele Manfredi

    50k vs 150k gg goons..i hope ccp can do something for make this war more balanced.

    November 22, 2020 at 8:22 AM
    • Moomin Amatin Michele Manfredi

      Oh I so hope not. At this time The Imperium get to test what they have built. This is a day any true goon has waited for. Then to also be world record holders while being vastly out numbered and to then win the objective. Well that is the stuff of legends. The Imperium then has good cause to go to war in the future. All the time proving the foolishniess of PAPI. At this time I fail to see a downside.

      November 22, 2020 at 8:42 AM
  • Eve_Osir1s

    Will if TEST wins, congrats. Pandafam did a great job of playing maid by helping test make their new bed and help clean things up at home for them. As for the winner, it will definately be a portion of Legacy. PanFam gave a lot to this and, at least as it appears now, gained little if anything really. If we somehow go the way of the dodo this will be quite a victory for Legacy. I personally don’t see it playing out that way for them, but you never know.

    November 22, 2020 at 10:03 AM
  • Deni'z von Meanace

    So it looks like Vily turned all his knowledge of Imperium to win this war and Goons won’t make it again. TEST by others hands made all dirty job and Goons missed the main point that TEST wants their ass to put onto the richest hive with all the honey in it while predators killing all the bees. And Mittani an Co concentrated on giving good fights while they really should be taking care of wider picture. Unfortunately famos Black Hand is longer such effective and couldn’t provide proper intel. Also promised supercapital force of Imperium is no longer actual due to won’t bring a victory to the end. It’s obvious that CCP wants TQ to be same as China’s EVE and Goons the only force which hindered to this plan.

    November 22, 2020 at 11:22 AM
    • Before PAPI staged 1 system away I might have agreed. But now we are forcing PAPI into engagements and timers rather then the other way around and it’s costing them. Already PAPI lost 500b in 2 days..

      November 24, 2020 at 6:00 PM
      • Deni'z von Meanace mbox

        Unfortunately they had staged 1 system away, that’s the key point.

        November 24, 2020 at 9:41 PM
        • Garreth Vlox Deni'z von Meanace

          It’s not a point, it’s a mistake. And it’s already cost them half a trillion and that number is growing every hour. We take in throw away corms and walk away often without dying while killing dozens and dozens of ships on every trip.

          November 29, 2020 at 8:55 AM
          • Deni'z von Meanace Garreth Vlox

            But you do the same, losing hundreds of ships/isk.

            November 29, 2020 at 8:09 PM
          • Garreth Vlox Deni'z von Meanace

            Our losses when you subtract the stations from the mix are a fraction of what test has lost since the anchoring of that keep. And we have the money for replacements, TAPI on the other hand already has 1 broke alliance in REQ. who is now leaning on TEST for all their ship replacement needs. If it comes down to who can replace ships longer PAPI has already lost.

            November 30, 2020 at 6:46 PM
          • Deni'z von Meanace Garreth Vlox

            So looking at the nearest future if Vily plans to through everything on assault of 1DQ and for a will of god you could defeat it with max impact on papi’s wallet that’s gona be the start of the war’s end.

            November 30, 2020 at 10:17 PM
          • Garreth Vlox Deni'z von Meanace

            I agree, the amount of money they would lose on an all out assault of 1dq1 would almost certainly set a record for losses in a a single system. Ours probably wouldn’t be on the small side either. And that’s why part of me still doesn’t believe they are going to do that.

            We may see the attackers split up their coalition over 1dq1 as vily has now said more than once during interviews he doesn’t want to touch any keeps till everything else is dead… which is all well and good and may be a functional strategy everywhere EXCEPT for 1dq1 where you can’t get near several key stations without putting yourself within DD range of multiple armed keepstars. Phorde on the other hand has made it clear through gobbins recent statement that they see 1dq1 as the final hurdle to clear in “winning” the war they came to fight and they want to focus on that now.

            Vily either has to backtrack and go all in on 1dq1 which means fighting on at least 3 possibly 5 different keep grids, or gobbins has to go backtrack what he said and help test burn down all of delve before they are willing to join him in a 1dq1 fight over keepstars.

            December 1, 2020 at 8:21 PM
          • Deni'z von Meanace Garreth Vlox

            Vily in a tight position where he has to make it clear for all Anaconda’s – assault of 1DQ to be or not to be. Due to Gobbins right about it. If this last Citadel won’t fall coalition wouldn’t be waiting for another months while Delve is clear, plus TAPI declaration about move into Delve again tightening their position where they have to move now but doing that while Goons fully operational in that region put all the moves under huge risks. And good thing that Goons sigs moved into Esoteria etc to harras them there.

            December 1, 2020 at 8:37 PM
  • Moomin Amatin

    I hate to comment on my own piece but in this case I have to. There are too many great replies here to answer them all. Also it is really nice to see so many thinking about this without me polluting your ideas. Lots seems to have happened and I know there are more articles to come out. Anyhoo thank you one and all.

    November 23, 2020 at 5:13 PM
  • Garreth Vlox

    but you couldn’t come up with 10% of that number to stop a kitchen sink fleet from killing your raitaru on grid with that keep tonight?

    November 29, 2020 at 8:56 AM