CCP Terminus here to talk to you about the changes coming to medical clones in Rhea on December 9th.
The Current Medical Clone System
When a player’s capsule (known colloquially as a pod) is destroyed, their clone is killed, leaving behind a frozen corpse floating through space. Upon reviving in a new clone in a space station, the pilot must then upgrade their medical clone’s grade to cover the amount of skillpoints they have accrued though skill training. If that player fails to do so and is podded again, they will lose skillpoints if their clone grade isn’t high enough.
The Changes in Rhea
With the release of Rhea, changes will be made to medical clones and how they work.
There will no longer be any clone grades.
You will not have to upgrade your clone upon being pod killed. New players can be badly surprised by this system since they have so many other important things to learn. Forgetting to upgrade the clone and losing skill points because of that is a terrible experience for new players. Skill point acquisition is very much tied to your subscription and the real money you spent on the game, so taking some of their skill points away can feel like wasted money to the player.
In addition, veteran players will have more reasons to undock in cheaper ships, furthering our goal of increased interactivity within the game, since the cost of the higher clone grades could be orders of magnitude more than the cost of a PvP ship hull. We expect more risks to be taken more often by veterans because of this change.
There will no longer be any skillpoint loss upon death.
Small lapses of forgetfulness will no longer cause players to retrain weeks of lost skillpoint time. This too should encourage veterans to fly even more boldly into battle without worrying about protecting valuable skills. Note: Subsystem skills related to T3 Strategic Cruisers will still work as they did before. This is because their skill loss is a component of the ship balancing itself. This may be revisited in the future.
The cost of setting your home station will be increased from 5400 ISK to 100,000 ISK.
This keeps the cost of moving your home station low without making it completely trivial.
Those are the changes coming in Rhea, but before I go, let me talk to you a bit more about death, and about what comes after Rhea.
EVE is a game built on connections. It is a network of NPCs, ships, structures and players, all interacting with each other in a single, unified space. These interactions are what drive the universe forward and provide meaning for players who inhabit New Eden. We want every choice you make as a player to impact the world around you. From the rookie ship mining Veldspar to calling targets in the largest Alliance battles, your actions in the game should have meaning and affect other players either directly or indirectly.
Death is one of the most meaningful things a player can experience, and can happen at any time. The consequences and meaning a player applies to the loss of their ship is very powerful, and the ways they can affect and deal with that loss are very real.
The same cannot be said for the current clone death mechanics. They are not a real choice, they are an illusion of choice. A choice between a bad option of losing ISK, and a worse option of losing skillpoints. A choice which does not affect the EVE universe as a whole, other than to empty players accounts of ISK and discourage the same interactions we want to foster.
It is for these reasons we have set down the path of changing the death penalty, and ultimately how clones work, to bring these systems in line with the rest of the vision for EVE Online.
... But Death is Just the Beginning
These medical clone changes are just the beginning of a larger project revolving around clones and their purpose in EVE. While we are still in the early stages of design, the Rhea changes are our first step towards the future possibilities of clones. We will maintain the meaningful nature of death and we are going to give you ways to interact with that death which will affect the whole EVE universe.
As some people have been asking, clone grade purchases made before Rhea cannot be reimbursed.