At 21:44 UTC on Feb 18, TEST alliance absorbed the second most expensive Upwell Structure lossmail in the history of New Eden, when their Sotiyo in D-FVI7 (worth 374 billion ISK) was destroyed by The Bastion and Ferrata Victrix. More than 100 billion in loot was left for the attackers. The loss came just minutes after TEST secured two structure kills of its own: an Imperium Sotiyo in Querious that fell to a PAPI fleet at 20:54 (126 billion) and an Initiative Fortizar in Catch that was destroyed by a Legacy HAC fleet at 21:18 (6.4 billion).
Sotiyos are the largest class of Upwell Engineering Complex in EVE and the only structures capable of building supercapitals. As a result they are a significant part of any nullsec engineering pipeline, and can be fiercely protected by their owners. Until today, TEST had consistently countered attempts to destroy this particular structure, having successfully defended it against many repeated attacks over a period of months. “This is the fifth time we got to the hull timer on this Sotiyo,” said Carneros, executor of Bastion. “Four times they saved it in hull. The fifth time we got it.”
The attackers attributed their success on this attempt to the effects of TEST’s wide commitments across multiple regions, as it tries to both defend their own space and also carry forward attacks against the Imperium in the current war. “Sometimes the difference between success and failure is timing,” Carneros said. “That seems to be the case today. It looks to me that TEST traded this Sotiyo defense for a Sotiyo kill in Querious and the INIT Fortizar kill in EX6-.”
This assessment was confirmed by Ketamine Kelmalu, a member of Moosearmy, the Sotiyo’s parent corporation, who served as the Sotiyo’s gunner in several of the previous hull defenses. “Test was too busy fighting Initiative in Catch,” he said. “It was a matter of time before the attackers got a timer where Test would not be able to form to defend it. We decided that it would not be defended for this timer.”
An additional factor was the way in which the attackers drew upon lessons learned in previous hull timer attempts and took extra efforts to prevent counterattacks. “Last time we tried they punched through with force,” said MWRWarrior, the Bastion FC who led the attacking fleet during looting operations. “For this set of timers, we jammed the entire 8T-OLH constellation.” Kelmalu testified to the effectiveness of this approach. “If you look at the constellation for D-FVI7, it’s very difficult to get into. You have to burn through a pipe of about ten gates to get in without use of Ansiblex or bridging. The cyno jammers played a huge part in the Sotiyo’s fall.”
The high value of this particular Sotiyo was driven by a rare and expensive T2 manufacturing rig that has never before appeared on a killmail (120 billion for the rig alone) and almost 200 billion ISK worth of capital manufacturing components. An analysis by INN staff has concluded (based on the components present in the killmail) that at a minimum there were two titans in build in the Sotiyo at the time of its destruction as well components for a Rhea jump freighter (the only ship in the game that uses a Capital Gravimetric Reactor Unit).
Kelmalu contends that the loss does not represent a significant impact on Moosearmy. “This whole constellation was our space. All the structures that died were Moosearmy structures. It was of very little strategic value. It was a corporation decision to move our ISK making out into a different constellation prior to the war starting.”
Nevertheless, this loss pushes TEST’s total Upwell structure losses since the M2-XFE breakout (excluding cyno jammers) to more than 725 billion ISK, equivalent to roughly half of the Imperium’s structure losses in Delve during the same time frame. Given TEST’s position as a major attacker in this war, such significant losses on the home front demonstrate that the costs of this war are not limited to the defenders alone.
When approached for comment, TEST FC ProGodLegend said simply, “I’ll pass.”
Note: Shortly before this article went to press, TEST lost an additional Sotiyo to the Bastion in Esoteria.