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The Who’s, What’s, Where’s and Why’s of Test’s Deployment to Delve.

September 16, 2016

Test Alliance Please Ignore [TEST] recently spent a month in the Delve region, the new Goonswarm Federation [CONDI] homeland, under an often-shifting directive to cause havoc and mayhem. While some of it was successful, some of it was not. Hopefully after this retrospective we’ll clear up some of the misconceptions and misinformation which came to light during and after the deployment.

(Disclaimer: I am a member of TEST and am writing this from my point of view, with input from both sides of the engagement. The person I interviewed in this piece is also my CEO so please take that with a grain of salt.)

On Thursday, August 5th, TEST fleet commander (FC) ProGodLegend (Also known as PGL for short) made a post on Reddit showing communication between leadership from alliances including Fawlty7, Executor of the Delve core alliance, Tactical Supremacy [TIKLE], and League of Unaligned Master Pilots [LUMPY] diplomat Atlan Dallocort. It also showed PGL communicating inside the DelveCore chat servers and that 1 trillion ISK had been placed in PGL’s account by Lenny Kravitz2, a member of the EVE betting site I Want ISK. Lenny is the same banker that funded the now infamous “World War Bee” which ended in the once largest coalition in the game “The Imperium” losing all of its space and retreating to low security space.

ProGodLegend's post in question.

This money became the topic of much debate both inside and especially outside of Test, because the reason PGL was given the ISK was at the time unknown. However it was an oft-disputed and highly propagandised piece of information throughout the month-long TEST deployment. The short version of the story, which was made public at the end of the deployment, was that the ISK was given to TEST in order to fund a dreadnought and carrier cache which would be used to combat CONDI super capital fleet, not to pay TEST as mercenaries which was the widely-accepted assumption.

The public display of ISK and communication on Reddit naturally sparked discussion, and in early August when news that several Special Interest Groups (Or SIG for short) inside TEST, including Predditors – the hotdrop/BLOPs wing, Delta – the small-gang PVP group, and the Australian Time Zone(AUTZ) SIG were deploying to Delve, many came to wonder what the plan was for the TEST main fleet. Notions that the remainder of the alliance would deploy became more and more certain as days went by. By the time PGL announced an alliance meeting and combat deployment on the 14th of August, everyone was already hyped up for another chance to fight CONDI. After finishing their conquest of Vale of the Silent from the Imperium during World War Bee, maybe pilots in TEST still had energy to engage in PvP.

During the deployment announcement on the 14th, the information given was that TEST would be deploying to Delve in order to “Get some good fights out of Goons and delay them from taking sov in order to give time for Delve Core to organize a proper defence.” Immediately after this announcement TEST conducted a move-op sending 500+ members in battleships across nearly the entirety of New Eden, to the null-sec NPC system of UHKL-N where TEST would reside for the remainder of the deployment. Unfortunately, by the time TEST arrived, Delve Core’s morale had already taken damage as fighting the much larger Imperium Coalition had proved to be a daunting mission. The Imperium was much more abundant both in numbers but also in motivation as 4 months of lowsec living had left them starving for territory of their own.

It was clear from the beginning that the Goons were willing to do whatever it took to stay out of Lowsec. Both ISK and convenience were of far lower substance than that of a true Null-Sec homeland. During World War Bee, the Imperium had shied away from making use of their Supercapital fleet due to entities such as Pandemic Legion [-10.0] and Northern Coalition Dot. [NC]. However, in Delve the Imperium was free to use these assets to crush the smaller Delve Core residents without the threat of PL or NCdot.

Setting up in D-W7F0 was a strategically sound move for the Imperium. It gave them access to two easily camped gates but was also in jump range of most of Delve, allowing Imperium forces to drop on enemy fleets with ease. Due to this factor, by the time TEST had fully deployed, Delve residents had all but withdrawn either to NPC space or completely out of the region. TEST was left almost completely alone against the Imperium’s supercapital fleet with few capital assets of their own.

Once TEST arrived in Delve they soon realized the extent of the damage done to Delve Core. TEST soon found themselves fighting alone against a much larger force which had no qualms using their capital supremacy to their advantage. TEST attempted to combat this by splitting their fleets to the effect of a larger fleet comprised of mainline doctrines such as Machariels engaging and delaying the main Goonswarm fleet while a smaller fleet, usually formed of members from SIGs such as Delta or Beta Squad, attempted to entosis the actual targets in the system. While this strategy garnered some victories for TEST, without any form of capital support on the TEST side and with their members split between their home in Vale and their deployment base in Delve, TEST was unable to prevent Goonswarm from taking the majority of Delve over the course of 3 weeks. And with the added tension between TEST and Delve Core member League of Unaligned Master Pilots [LUMPY] due to LUMPY being blue to Pandemic Legion and assisting them in fighting TEST at the capital battle of SH1-6P.

A number of TEST members began to jump clone back up to Vale of the Silent and refused to jump clone back down to Delve. They were not willing to fight against a coalition which would drop super capitals on them at the first opportunity, for a coalition which had all but given up their holdings in Delve at this point. On the 3rd of September PGL made a deployment update that said TEST would be moving back up to Vale, with the exception of a few SIGs, in order to reorganize, replenish individual members’ wallets and to give time for a dread cache to finish coalescing in order to combat Goonswarm. The update went on to mention how TEST would be redeploying to Delve in a month’s time and that several SIGs would remain in Delve to combat Goonswarm and continue to harass them until TEST was able to come back in force. However at the time of writing this article Delta Squad and Predditors have left Delve, throwing the idea of Test redeployment in question.

To get a perspective on deployment I spoke to RUSROG, CEO of Naliao Inc and head of the small gang SIG Delta Squad which was one of the first SIGs to deploy.

KyleSev: Before we get started can you just tell me exactly who you are and what you do in TEST?

RUSROG: Hi, I’m RUSROG. I run DRONV, best corp in TEST, and Delta Squad – TEST’s premier small gang pvp division and elite meme posting facility. I was involved in the Delve campaign as second in command to Progodlegend.

KyleSev: What was the actual goal behind this deployment?

RUSROG: Grr goon. Really nothing more than that. Goons were mid move, and just settling into Delve. It’s an ideal time to hit an alliance when it’s retreating somewhere and trying to recoup and rebuild. It’s like catching someone with their pants down.
RUSROG: There were plenty of other reasons that surfaced mid deployment, or could’ve been justified. But I’ll be fair and say, that showing up to shoot goons was really it.

KyleSev: So a simple content deployment?

RUSROG: Not that we’re lacking content. Delve had Delve core, and they were advertising that they were defending and fighting, so why not? We’ve had goon rivalry for a while, and we figured it would be something good to do.

KyleSev: Most of eve has seen PGL’s reddit post showing him receive 1 trillion ISK from IWI’s Lenny Kravitz2. There has been rampant speculation on what exactly this money was for. So to clear that up: What exactly was the 1 trillion ISK given for?

RUSROG: Dread building. Which we’re still doing. The 1T ISK was not a contract, it didn’t fund SRP, or “free ships” as a lot of people claimed or complained about.

KyleSev: ProGodLegend mentioned in a later deployment update that he believes TEST deployed too late to prevent Delve Core from collapsing. As one of the first SIGs to deploy, do you believe this was the case?

RUSROG: Delve core was interesting to work with. Some alliances cared about their space and fighting the good fight, and some just rolled over and cried. I’m not going to name any names. We had some language barriers as well, due to some alliances not being English speaking – so we’d end up in situations where something would be hit and they’d not inform us, and we’d only find out later that it was an R64 moon tower and that it was already destroyed. That was somewhat frustrating. It definitely felt that we came late, maybe one or two weeks – because the day we announced our deployment, goons moved into the D-W fortizar and controlled anything they wanted with their supercapital umbrella – which made running ops pretty hard. But yeah, I think some of the Delve core dudes were pretty demotivated, and we couldn’t exactly make the situation better because goons didn’t want to facilitate the fabled ~gudfite~ and simply blobbed us to death.

KyleSev: Due to said Supercapital umbrella do you believe if TEST had been able to deploy sooner and prevent Delve Core from folding in such a way it would have made much of a difference in the outcome of the deployment? And as a follow up question, was TEST command expecting goons to use Supers as freely as they did throughout the deployment?

RUSROG: Not without capital superiority, no. We did well in the subcap field, splitting fleets and trying to outmaneuver goon fleets. But if we tried too hard, and the chase got boring, they’d just bring caps and we’d have to concede. As for the use of goon supers? We thought they’d use them, but not to chase frigate gangs. That was…interesting.

KyleSev: Can you make any comment about what TEST plans to do now Goonswarm have taken the majority of Delve and TEST as an alliance has returned to Vale of the Silent?

RUSROG: Have fun, shoot nerds. We learned a lot from Delve and came out stronger for it. Otherwise not much I can tell you.

KyleSev: Anything else you would like to say before the interview is over? Any shoutouts or comments?

RUSROG: Obvious bias, shout out to Delta Squad dudes. You went above and beyond in Delve and carried the deployment on your shoulders. The other SIGs were cool too.

I reached out to ProGodLegend as well, however, he was unable to give a statement in time for this article to be published.

I also reached out to Goonswarm Fleet Commander Asher Elias who has this to say:
ASHER: They got camped in for a weekend in machariels, lost 40+ of them and went home? I think they reffed an r64 once and didn’t come back to finish it. I don’t remember anything else happening.

So while TEST as an alliance has moved back to Vale & PGL mentioning that they will be back in a month’s time, we can be sure that more fights are to come between TEST and Goonswarm Federation.  (This was incorrect. While PGL said test would be redeploying he did not say we would be deploying back to Delve. This was a misunderstanding on my part and while I worked hard to ensure I only got the facts, sometimes mistakes like these are made.)

I would like to personally thank the EN24 team and my corp mates for helping me make this article ready for public reading.