My corp owns a C6 wormhole, though we’re part of a null-sec alliance. We do that sort of thing; while we all PvP, we each dabble in other areas of the game. Some of us like to do industry, some rat, some do PI, some market trade, and some of us run wormhole sites to earn isk. It makes for a well-balanced group.
We recently dropped an astrahus in our wormhole, so I was eager to get some ships in there. I occasionally scan down WH chains to find targets to kill, and I figured that basing that clone out of the wormhole with my hunting ships made more sense than waiting for a good connection in our null system. Go where the fish are, right?
I had my first ship – a Proteus that could scan down future connections to k-space for stocking a few more vessels – and three separate times, I headed to our connection only to find that the static hole had closed before I could arrive. Finally, on the fourth day, I managed to each the hole. I was ready to clone jump back to known space, happy to have successfully inserted a clone in my destination.
Only, I couldn’t clonejump out. Checking the settings, I thought I figured out why: our clone bay was offline. Checking online, I saw that it required three days’ worth of fuel to online, and we didn’t have any fuel in the astrahus. Frustrated, I asked in Discord if there were any plans to online it.
And that’s when I came across a single line’s reference in the dev blog, “Cloning Centers in wormhole space structures will not allow players to jump clone back into the system, but can be used to swap clones around.” It didn't matter if it was online or not. No jumping for me.
At first, I couldn’t understand this. It made no sense. Why limit clone-jumping in wormhole space? From a lore perspective, it didn’t make sense that one’s consciousness could be swapped when you died (all medical clones were in k-space, after all), but not when you wished. If the good people of the medical community could do one, they could do another just as easily.
But moreover, it struck me as an unnecessary limitation. With a single character, I can have one clone to run incursions, one clone to do industry, one to operate with a null-sec alliance, one to roam low-sec, and a final one to run missions if I choose. But, I can’t include wormholes in that mix. Preventing clonejumping to wormhole space effectively forces players interested in higher-end wormhole activity to limit themselves to that kind of game with that character.
Any case you could make about why a character should be limited to only wormholes can easily be made for any other type of gameplay. “Wormholes are supposed to be cut off!” one might say. I’d argue that it’s not isolation, but the randomness and the need to work for your connection that defines wormholes. Resupply routes aren’t secure, but that doesn’t mean you should be completely locked into that one playstyle, does it? Plus, medical clones!
But, then I started thinking about what it meant to live in wormholes. In wormholes, you’re helpless without the ability to scan. You’re entirely dependent upon maintaining wormhole control in a system to both protect yourself and keep supply lines in the case of siege. Ultimately, if you are besieged, all you have to save yourself is what you pre-stocked in your hole. With the constant shifting of wormhole chains, even if you do manage to get a ship through an enemy blockade, you have to hope you can find a suitable connection to resupply and bring in reinforcements. Conquering an enemy means staging ships surreptitiously for weeks until you have the power to wear down your enemy in a protracted battle. Nothing happens quickly.
Now, that perspective really starts to change judgments about jump clones. It’s not as much that CCP wants to lock wormhole players into a single playstyle, but rather that allowing jump clones seems to undermine the isolation and siege behavior you currently see. Right now, the only way out of a wormhole when under attack is to punch through or die.
Dying. Prior to citadels, if you were podded in a wormhole, your medical clone emerged in whichever k-space system you set it for. Now, with an online clone service, your citadel can serve as your medical station… but only if you prepared for it ahead of time. How many people forget to set their medical clones properly? And even if they do, they’ve lost their implants and must diminish the stock on-hand if they want to plug in again.
Scarcity. If wormholes are about anything, they’re about scarcity. And jump cloning freely seems to take some of that away.
So, yeah, I get it now. It’s inconvenient, and locks me out of using our wormhole as a staging system, but it looks like there’s a reason for it after all.