One of the biggest advantages you can give yourself in your early EVE career is to set up some jump clones. You already know about your medical clone, which you're keeping updated (right?). Jump clones are additional clones you can acquire and place in various stations. Once every 24 hours you can switch to a different clone, effectively moving from one place to another in the galaxy almost instantaneously.
In order to buy and use jump clones you will need to train a skill called Infomorph Psychology. For each rank in the skill, you can have one jump clone.
Also, keep in mind that implants are specific for a given clone. If you want implants in all your jump clones, you will have to buy a set of implants for each jump clone. Also, when you switch clones, you can't take anything with you. So if you're using jump clones to mission in different areas, you'll need a mission ship in each area.
Jump clones have quite a few uses and give you some advantages in the game. These include:
- Mobility. You can set up jump clones in different areas of space, enabling you to travel between those locations without making dozens of jumps. You could have clones in different empires if you're working on missioning for faction with multiple empires. If you live in nullsec or lowsec, you could have jump clones in high sec. You can have jump clones in or near trade hubs to facilitate trading. If you're doing an epic arc (like the Sisters of EVE arc), you may want to have a clone in the system where you get those missions (ie Arnon), especially if where you normally mission is far away.
- Jump clones are great for PvP. If you plan to PvP a lot or just get your feet wet in the PvP arena, you can have a jump clone with no implants in it. When you're going to PvP (or do something dangerous that may involve PvP), jump into your implant-free clone. That way, if you get podded, at least you don't lose your expensive implants.
- If you're making a move to nullsec, you can use a jump clone to get there quickly and easily without having to make the long flight. Describing how to do this would be a guide in itself, so ask your corp how if this is something you want to do.
Now that you've decided jump clones are great things to have, you'll want to know how to get one. The first step is to train the skill Infomorph Psychology. Next, you will need a standing of 8.0 or higher with the NPC corp that runs the station(s) you want to put your jump clone(s) into. For a new player, this is a daunting requirement. Before you resign yourself to grinding standing for weeks just to get your clone, know that you have a couple other options.
- Check with your corp. A lot of player run corporations maintain a high standing with at least one NPC corp in order to provide jump clone capability for their members. Ask your corp if they have this, because if they do, this is the simplest, easiest way. All you need to do is find out which NPC corp they have the standing with, and you will be able to place your clones at that corp's stations.
- You can use the Estel Arador Corp Services. This is a player-run corp whose sole purpose is to provide jump clone capability to players. Their service is free and very easy to use. You will need to drop your current corp (if it's a player corp, remember you must drop roles 24 hours before you can drop corp). Then you apply to the EACS corp. EACS has high standing with multiple NPC corps, giving you a huge selection of where you can put your clones. Once you're accepted into EACS, you place your clones, then drop corp with EACS and apply back to your original corp. If you're going to do this, it's always a good idea to let your CEO (or director in a large corp) know ahead of time. It's no big deal, this is a very common practice in EVE. Just tell you're CEO you're dropping corp for a few days to set up your jump clones, and s/he'll know exactly what you're talking about.
EACS has recently had a change of ownership. But from everything I can see, it's still business as usual. I used this service myself when it was run by the original owner, and it went without a hitch. Here are some resources for you to find out more about EACS and their recent change in ownership:
Good luck in setting up your jump clones. Once you have them, you'll wonder how you ever got by without them. As always, feel free to ask me any questions you might have. This guide is merely scratching the surface on the topic of jump clones. I'm available to help you, and if I don't know the answer, I'll find it.