With aliases you can have a specific track/slot remain the same, spanning over multiple different patterns. And if you edit the original/parent slot, the changes will be automatically done on the aliased slots as well.
For instance, you have a drum track that’s supposed to be the same on 4 different patterns. But as you want the melody to be different you have the melody-slots unique and the drum slots aliased. If you decide to change the drums, then you can just edit the original drum slot and the changes will be done on the 3 other patterns for you.
Yes, I understand this, but this was exactly the same before, when one copied and pasted a cell (I remember it very well, because I was so annoyed that all my copies changed, when I edited one of them, which at this point in time was not what I wanted). So I don’t understand what the new part is in 2.8?
That’s because you were working on the same pattern, repeated multiple times in the pattern sequence (you can see if it’s same pattern, when the pattern has the same number).
This is a very important workflow feature to some, and confusing to others. So, a new feature in 2.8 is that if you pattern has indeed been repeated, the other instances are highlighted in the pattern sequence when you have focused your pattern - this should make it easier to avoid such mistakes.
Aliased slots are useful because they allow you to work on unique patterns while referencing pattern-tracks (matrix slots) from another pattern.
I too found it strange how the Paste option no longer pastes a selection from the Sequence keeping the old pattern numbers, but now actually pastes clones of the old patterns instead. Not that I ever use it personally, but I did flag that I feel it may confuse users who are used to repeating sections that way.
The Clone in the Context Menu is actually Clone Selection (Ctrl+Shift+K) and will clone whatever is selected under its current position. Clone Current (Ctrl+K) will clone the pattern where the cursor/edit position is under it.
The new Copy/Paste Insert function allows you to put Clones (rather than repeating the original) at different places in the Sequence. I guess this stops you from having to drag them after cloning. Makes it also impossible to easily reuse the same patterns and I still think is a bad idea though.
Paste (not Pate Insert) will paste the data of the entire pattern over the matrix blocks which were there, keeping the old pattern numbers. IE replaces every track in the pattern, as if the entire width had been selected in Matrix.
Aliases is a bit like using repeated pattern numbers, but only one one cell of the matrix (IE a single track at a time.) So you edit one and it will edit all Aliases. Aliases only copy pattern data between one another, not Automation which can be unique for each Alias of the same pattern.
So there are some changes which may take a while to get used to. I guess you now have to just think of copy and pasting of Patterns as doing it across the entire width in the Matrix, rather than actually copying the pattern itsel.