The Drone Regions have been the land of milk and honey for Solar Fleet and their renters for many years now. This vast amount of space produced a sizable amount of minerals that the rest of the EVE used to build everything from a lone Rifter all the way to many of the super carriers and titans we see today. Years of alloys being farmed out of multiple regions eventually saw the mechanics changed from alloy dropping from NPC kills to the bounty system the rest of the game uses. For the vast majority of its existence, Solar Fleet has had a strong and powerful presence there, and secured wealth by dealing in super capital production and renters.
On April 17, a Pandemic Legion spy learned that Solar Fleet was planning on moving all assets to a low security system - Konora - and abandoning the remaining sovereignty they have in the Drone Regions. Solar Fleet had learned of PL and NCdot’s plan to camp the R3P0-Z station which contains all of Solar Fleets assets. With time being of the essence, PL and NCdot moved in rapidly to secure the system and lock down the station. With only a few Solar Fleet jump freighters able to jump out before the lockdown, Solar Fleet now is faced with a situation so many alliances before them have seen first hand before their demise: the loss of the majority of their assets.
TheMittani.com’s Alizabeth talked to Gorga, coalition leader for the N3 perspective.
Alizabeth: “So, Shadoo tweeted that PL spies on Solar TS heard Solar is going to be regrouping in Konora and ending CTAs. Does this mean that N3 has won?”
Gorga: “It's a significant step, but things are not over yet. We're in the process of camping their staging system so they can't evacuate to reinforce that point.”
Alizabeth: “Camping Konora, or their current nullsec system?”
Gorga: “Nullsec. They didn't get a chance to evacuate a lot of their stuff yet.”
All of Solar Fleets assets, over two hundred and fifty or more jump freighters, are now locked inside the station. Operation 'Hell Camp' is now underway.
In December of last year, the Drone Region war erupted with multiple fronts opened up by N3 (NCdot of N3 joined in mid January) and PL along with Red Alliance. With Solar Fleet being dominant in the Russian time zone and extending little presence outside of that, the effects of being attacked on multiple time zones as well as multiple fronts was overwhelming.
This left Solar Fleet with very, very few options. One arguably successful tactic that many coalitions use to their advantage is the sov grind. With vast amounts of space and the current sov mechanics, the best tactic for the defender is to set the timers for their prime time. Thusly, Solar Fleet did everything possible to try and wear down the will and strength to show up for every timer.
The invading forces of N3 and PL do, in fact, have the fortitude for such a sov grind. It has been a very long war, with few battles of note and many structure shoot op, excepting for a short time when Solar Fleet hired Black Legion to shore up the Drone Region Coalition's time zone. When Solar Fleet formed up for defense, they would look to see their chances against whatever the invader had at the time, and if there was a chance they might lose the fight they opted to stand down.
While this may be the end for Solar Fleet in null, there is a small chance they will try one last fight. A fight to free everything they have from R3P0-Z and escape to the freedom waiting for them in low sec.
Alizabeth: “Aside from continuing the camp, what is left before you can declare total victory? I would assume their sov timers are set for the worse times. Is it just a grind, or should we expect more fighting?
Gorga: “I can't tell you what to expect yet, but I don't think there will be much more than grinding after this camp. I'm not sure that we're going to see much effort out of SF right away, it'll likely be something after they think we're asleep.”
Alizabeth: “The quintessential Russian tactic of trading space for time?”
Gorga: “Maybe, though I'm not sure yet.”
There is not much time left before the system and, more importantly, the station are no longer in control of Solar Fleet. If that happens before Solar Fleet can break out, it will be a devastating blow. Untold trillions in ISK and years of work trapped. No man is an island, and with all of Solar Fleets renters either evacuated or turning to worship the new landlords, who will help Solar Fleet?
Unless a miracle happens, it will only be a matter of time before the rest of Solar’s sovereignty is completely gone; estimated around a month or less. The end of a long and dull war is coming to a close. While N3 and PL close to claiming victory, it is not without a long, weary sigh. Yet another protracted sov war has come to a close under the Dominion Sov System.
Alizabeth: “So, this, from the N3 perspective, is a great development, but, again, from N3's perspective, Solar is still dangerous?
Gorga: “Yes, they fight like bears no matter what is happening, and I don't expect this to be an end game development, just going to have to readjust strategy to something else to combat whatever they attempt to do from Konora.”
Solar Fleet's time is running out. The R3P0-Z station comes out of reinforced on Sunday, and a failure to break out might spell the doom of the Russian alliance.