Death Clone Trickery Nerfed By… The Imperium?

CCP has nerfed an OP mechanic involving deathclones after the Imperium worked to highlight its exploitability.

EVE Online has evolved quite a bit since its release in 2003. Since then we’ve seen all kinds of changes. Many of them eliminated legacy code and old game mechanics that don’t work with the newer systems. A recent nerf to death clone mechanics is one of those change. How the nerf happened is its own story. We had a chat with GSF’s Tuzy to get the scoop on this one!

Now we’re here, now we’re there

Corporation Headquarters were once a fairly important part of the EVE corporate mechanics. At one time, you could only join a corporation when you were in the same station as a corporate office. Due to office rental costs, for smaller corps this often meant the Corp HQ. As time went on it wound up having less importance, but was still a useful tool for moving corp members around. Once you’re in a corporation, you’re able to set your medical clone to the Corp HQ. If your pod explodes, you show up in that station from anywhere in New Eden. This makes it pretty handy to use when you join a nullsec group. You have your belongings shipped out, and deathclone. Otherwise, you need to run the gauntlet and hope your possessions survive. That said, our pals in Pandemic Legion found an even more clever (if OP) use for Corp HQs.

“Who will we drop in on today?”

Under the Corp HQ legacy code, you always had the option (while in a station) to choose whether your medical clone would wake up at the clone bay you set it at, or your Corp HQ. If someone revoked your medical clone contract, it reset to wake you up at your Corp HQ. There weren’t really any ways to efficiently exploit this mechanic, so it was generally left alone. Fast forward to the release of Citadels upon the starving masses, and PL had pretty quickly found a handy way to game the system.

The mechanic used a citadel with a cloning bay set up in the staging system. Pilots in the staging system would set their medical clones to the citadel, and wait for some good intel. Meanwhile, alts with the ability to move Corp HQ spread out around New Eden at various dreadnaught caches. Corporations can move their HQ every 60 minutes. The range covers all of New Eden, far outstripping any capital or jump bridge range. In effect, it kills two birds with one stone.

When a fight was going to happen, PL would simply shut off the citadel’s clone bay. Then the fleet undocked in pods, and promptly self-destructed. This sent them to their Corp HQ of the moment, and let them access their far-flung dread caches. It incurred no jump clone timer, and no expense. Best of all when the action was over, they could simply turn the cloning bay back on at the citadel. Then the fleet self-destructed their pods and bounced themselves right back home. An hour later, repeat the process with a new destination.

No big deal, right?

As soon as eagle-eyed members of the Imperium started to notice some interesting discrepancies on kill mails, the jig was up. GSF pilots approached CCP about the issue. The response indicated the mechanic worked as intended. Goons, however, are used to that kind of thing with CCP. As the old saying goes: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! As CCP did not object to the mechanic, the Imperium decided to use it themselves. The made no effort to keep their efforts low key or secret, though. Instead, they used it multiple times a day, for weeks on end.

According to reports, PL used this exploit for a year or more. The Imperium, however, needed only four weeks for CCP to remove it. Though handy, GSF considers its removal a much larger hit on PL’s gameplay than their own.

As of the most recent patch, medical clones default to the player’s home school station instead of Corp HQ. Many groups will watch how PL  adapts to this nerf. They got somewhat comfortable with using the mechanic over recent months, and may go looking for an alternative. Still, there is no worse mechanic than an abused mechanic, and it needed to be nerfed. Thanks Goons!

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  • Douglas Guy

    History repeating itself .. it used to be BoB, these days its PL. When CCP’s chosen alliance discovers and abuses a design defect blind eyes are turned and working as intended is the result when directly challenged. Then Goons or Clusterfuck or Imperium force the issue by exploiting it publicly and CCP are forced to respond.

    Just like real life, I suppose. If every non-white in an open carry state started walking around with an assault rifle, gun laws would be tightened overnight

    December 13, 2017 at 7:40 AM
    • This.

      December 13, 2017 at 8:18 AM
      • Jason KG5ORD Ganthrithor

        Actually, if they did, I would have no problem with it as long as they obeyed the law — and I’m white. Stop using eve as your platform to spew race and gun related issues. Use facebook or appropriate places on Reddit for this dude!

        Come the f*ck on!

        December 13, 2017 at 11:01 PM
        • …he said, confident in the fact that significant numbers of brown people would never actually risk open carrying 😛

          December 15, 2017 at 4:42 AM
  • a simple merc

    Good work little bee’s ,
    Goons get blamed for a lot of stuff but they always seem to contribute to
    the improvement of this game , I salute you .
    Little concerned that ccp didn’t care until goons started to use too though I have to say

    December 13, 2017 at 8:16 AM
    • Alisanna a simple merc

      This is not a new thing. It’s fine for PL, when we do it it’s an exploit.

      See citadel cyno bumping for previous example.

      December 13, 2017 at 12:16 PM
  • PLmeme

    Just proves that PL/NC are the true enemy of Eve and not the Goons… Lets starts a grrr PL meme…

    December 13, 2017 at 1:12 PM
    • Alaric Faelen PLmeme

      I know, it’s funny that it’s only Goons that anyone actually looks to for content in Eve. We don’t have the biggest blue donut, but blue donuts are all our fault. NC/PL won’t even undock unless they can drop supers, but Goons get blamed for stagnation and power creep in the game.

      PL uses an exploit for a year and Raivi (remind me what alliance he was in again) doesn’t notice. Goons use it for a couple weeks and the code gets changed.

      Nothing to see here. Move along.

      December 13, 2017 at 5:32 PM
    • Hell yeah, grrrrr PL/NC they are true public enemy and danger to entire EVE! We are not here to destroy the game, we are here to destroy YOUR game! © Darius Johnson

      December 13, 2017 at 8:49 PM
      • hurf waltari

        dont speak ill of valued PL member Darius Johnson

        December 13, 2017 at 11:10 PM
  • Lekly

    Is there any chance of getting a comment from CCP on this issue? Like why they decided to fix it now?

    December 13, 2017 at 7:07 PM
    • Carvj94 Lekly

      They were kinda forced to fix it really. While it was used more than a few times a week by PL and friends it wasn’t really a big problem. But Goons as they do best took an unfair mechanic and dedicated their entire membership to abusing the hell out of it til its fixed. I don’t have any hard numbers but let’s say PL used it five times a week. Goons to force CCP’s hand did it 35 times a week and handed out guides to every alliance with a pulse on how to do it. Once everyone’s eyes were on the issue CCP had to shift focus and hot fix it immediately rather then whenever they were going to (if ever).

      December 15, 2017 at 4:45 AM
  • Bill

    Yeah. I don’t think that attempting to systematically choke off the play style of a rival is being a friend of the game, exactly. PL, and a number of alliances that preferred the nomadic marauder life have been slowly but surely backed into being farmers by changes to the mechanics. This is another nail in the coffin to be sure. Will that benefit the game, or hasten its decline? I don’t think anyone can say with certainty.

    December 13, 2017 at 7:23 PM
    • Macky Avelli Bill

      To be fair, if it was a legit play style, CCP wouldn’t have nerfed it. Simple as that. Might as well get rid of jump fatigue altogether if you could just death clone across New Eden with nothing more than an hour’s wait tops.

      December 13, 2017 at 8:59 PM
      • Really? Where can’t you get in the game in an hour in a travel ‘ceptor? PL can still do the same thing. It just became more tedious and boring.

        Weaponized boredom right? Goons win. Game loses.

        December 13, 2017 at 9:21 PM
        • Orihara Izaya Bill

          Still, you didn’t reply to their main point. That is, if you claim this mechanic is not problematic, then anyone is equally entitled to use it, and there is no reason to remove it, regardless of whether PL or Imperium or someone else does it.

          So there are 2 possibilities: a) mechanic was fine as it was, and Imperium decided to use it too, which is perfectly fair; b) this could have been considered an exploit, and fixing it was only to be expected.

          December 14, 2017 at 1:50 AM
          • I don’t have all the facts. The other possibility is that the way in which PL was using it wasn’t particularly problematic, but Goons started using it in a different way that was, perhaps with the specific intent to force CCP’s hand, as the article seems to imply.

            Was that the case?

            December 14, 2017 at 7:52 PM
          • Orihara Izaya Bill

            To me the article implied that Goons did pretty much the same thing, possibly only scaled it up a bit and made no secret out of it, so as to put the issue out in the open for anyone to see. THEN CCP could either decide that this was actually how they wanted it to work and leave it as it is for anyone to use, or deal with it. But they no longer had the option to just sweep it under the rug.

            Now everyone’s saying how this happened because CCP dislikes Goons and so on, but this does not strictly follow from this. There is a big difference between one coalition (ab)using a trick and the whole universe doing the same, so the Imperium publicly revealing it forced a decision regardless of anyone’s feelings towards any particular group. (Though I would like to hear CCP’s side of the story.)

            December 14, 2017 at 11:42 PM