One month on from the calamitous withdrawal from Delve, Test Alliance Please Ignore (TEST) have established sovereignty over the isolated region of Outer Passage. The previous residents, Circle of Hell (a mostly inactive renter alliance for Panfam) appear to have been moved aside by TEST – although no iHubs were transferred. There were some harassment operations against entosis ships, but the takeover was mostly uncontested – a relief to the beleaguered alliance.
The announcement on the 2nd of August for a planned withdrawal from Delve that would take three weeks appeared unlikely at that time. Yet, what followed was one of the least orderly evacuations in the history of EVE Online. TEST, the primary instigators of The Beeitnam War, have also suffered the most in the aftermath.
The Imperium quickly re-established their home region of Delve, then moved on to cleanse Querious and Period Basis. With those tasks complete, their sights are set further afield, into the now-deceased Legacy Coalition’s former home regions.
Southern Keepstars Die
In the past week five more Keepstars have been destroyed at the hands of the Imperium: three belonging to TEST, one to BRAVE and one to Eternal Requiem, that also announced the end of their alliance this week. The KS in 3VM-3K was the last “PAPI” citadel to die in Delve. That Keep, along with two others, 1M4-FK in Querious and the strategically important FAT-GP, all died to Imperium super fleets. Red Alliance and friends destroyed the Eternal Requiem structure in IRE-98.
Interestingly, a combined Imperium, Pan Intergalactic Business Community (PIBC), and Rekking Crew fleet all assembled to destroy the BRAVE Keep in PZMA-E. Tensions were still hot, as the Evictus Cerberus fleet stood off outside the range of the 1000 Imperium pilots. TEST may be next, but it is unlikely The Mittani will have forgotten the other Legacy alliances that endeavored to destroy his coalition.
Although the deaths of these Keepstars does not affect the former PAPI alliances strategically, their loss, plus the inability to retain the cores, added to the financial implications of asset safety, will no doubt add to the monetary pressures facing TEST, BRAVE and others.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Panda
As TEST now establish themselves in their new home, the effects of the PAPI resets are already becoming apparent. Wasting no time at all, raiders from Fraternity have begun harassing mining and ratting operations in Outer Passage. On the morning of the September 1, a combined Goonswarm and INIT fleet destroyed three Rorquals, a Minokawa and traded kills with a Muninn fleet, TEST losing 40bn to 9bn killed. Earlier in the day, TEST also lost two Rorquals to a WinterCo Kiki fleet. The latter battle saw a Muninn response fleet kill 24 destroyers but still losing the ISK war, 18bn lost to 5bn killed. On the previous day, TEST lost two more Rorquals to a combined Dreadbomb and Initiative fleet. The QRF was able to save another six from being destroyed, but once against they incurred a 15bn to 5bn loss.
Aside from these major losses there has been a large amount of small scale PvP occurring in Outer Passage. The previously quiet region now appears to function as a hotspot for roaming gangs and opportunistic hunters. The keen-eyed viewers will also note that previous Legacy members are now shooting each other. TEST pilots have killed a few BRAVE and AARP ships over the past few days. Although INN understands there is a NIP in place between most of the former PAPI alliances, it hasn’t stopped the “gudfight” moments. The question remains how long these parties can continue to destroy major assets without those losses escalating into larger sov warfare.
Out of the frying pan . . .
For now, Test Alliance Please Ignore has escaped the closing jaws of the Imperium and is getting established in its new home. However, there are a large number of challenges they must overcome for their alliance to survive. Their jump bridge network will take a month to established, meaning that their ability to respond to threats will be weakened. With eight entrances from The Spire, Perrigen Falls, Cache and Cobalt Edge encircling the region, groups like Fraternity find it easy to get in, kill targets, and get out again. Not to mention the constant threat of wormhole based incursions.
The obvious threats often have an obvious solution and despite TEST’s heavy defeat in The Beeitnam War, they still have 91 corporations and over 15,000 pilots – a sizable military force. But, living in an unpopular territory, out of necessity, and being farmed by the same groups that were allied with TEST only a month ago, will undoubtedly fray some nerves. Corps who feel the pressure may be tempted to take the short trip next-door, joining a different PAPI group to relieve strains on their members. The Imperium’s threat of “TEST is now” may have been interpreted as a military action – but the psychological damage being done to TEST, by itself and its neighbors, is the closest dinosaur to their proverbial canoe. The galaxy awaits to see whether they, like so many of their former allies will just collapse into nothing.