This article teaches you all about cloning in EVE Online, with instructions on how to upgrade your clone and how to install jump clones in stations, as well as the standing that you need to install jump clones. It also teaches you what happens to skill points if you get pod killed, and other ill effects that occur when pod killed. If you're wondering what happens if you die without a clone, this article will clear that up for you (specifically, you're never actually without a clone in EVE Online)
You always a have a clone, even if you have not purchased one. You start the game with a Basic clone. Whenever you get podkilled, you become your current clone, and you automatically receive a new Basic clone that you have to then upgrade if you need more skill points. The Basic clone an store up to 900,000 skill points, but you can upgrade your clone from a station that has a medical facility to get a clone that has more skill point storage.
To upgrade your clone, click the medical facilities button when you are docked in a station that has medical facilities. Then click the Clone tab to see where your current clone is, and what type of clone you have right now. Then, click the Upgrade Clone button to see a list of clone levels you can upgrade to, and the skill points supported by each clone level, and the cost of each. Choose the desired upgrade level, and click Upgrade to purchase the upgraded clone.
A jump clone is a special type of clone that you don't have to get killed to switch into. You can switch into a jump clone at will, once every 24 hours. To install a jump clone in an NPC station, you must have at least an 8.0 effective standing with the owner of the station. If you have 8.0 corporation standing with Transstellar Shipping, for example, you can put a jump clone in any Transstellar Shipping station. If you have 8.0 with Gallente, you can put a jump clone in any Gallente station.
When your ship is destroyed in EVE online, you are left floating in a small metal pod that has a very small number of hitpoints and is therefore very vulnerable to attack. If your pod is destroyed, you die and are resurrected in your clone. Clones have a limited skill point capacity, so you can lose skills if you do not have an up-to-date clone when podkilled.
You can't lose points from your attributes if podkilled. You only lose skillpoints. But you will lose any implants your character has if you are killed. They are destroyed along with your character's old body.
If your clone has fewer skill points than you do, you will lose skill points in the skills you have trained the most. Specifically, you will lose 20% of the difference between your clone's skill points and your skill points from your highest-trained skills. Therefore, it is important to upgrade your clone regularly as you earn more skill points.
As an example, if you have 1,000,000 skill points, but you only have the basic clone with 900,000 skill points, that is a difference of 100,000. 20% of 100,000 is 20,000. Let's say that your top three highest-trained skills consist of for 10,000, 7,500, and 4,000 skill points, respectively. That adds up to 21,500, so if you got podkilled, you would completely lose the 10,000 point skill and the 7,500 skill, but you would have 1,500 skill points left in the skill that had 4,000 points in it.
Your ship will appear in the overview as a wreck. It is possible to bookmark your wreck so that you can find your wreck later and loot and salvage from it, but this can be dangerous if enemies are firing on your pod. Regardless, the wreckage might contain modules that were fitted to your ship that remained intact, but some of your modules might be destroyed. To salvage from the wreck, have a Salvager fitted to the ship that you take to your wreck. Look in your character sheet at the Combat Log and view the Losses tab to see what was destroyed, and who was responsible for dealing the killing blow to your ship.
Podkilling is never legal, even if you have kill rights on someone (which just means that you're allowed to destroy that person's ship -- not the actual person -- without fear of punishment from CONCORD). This means that NPCs will never podkill you on purpose (although they might accidentally) but player characters might.
In the world of EVE Online, if your character dies, he or she dies in a pod. A pod is a metallic egg developed by the Jovians that can warp and use jump gates. If the pod is breached, your character has no hope of survival, so a device in the pod takes a "snapshot" of your character's mind while another device injects your character with a poison that kills the character instantly. Then your character's mind is transferred to a clone and can keep on living.
Clones are typically created from cadavers that have similar physical characteristics to your original body. Their DNA is replaced with your DNA, and their bodies are cosmetically altered to look like you.