SLS or Shroud Loot System was designed as a method of distributing in-game items ("loot") among a group of players in MMORPGs, specifically World of Warcraft. It was created in 2005 by the guild Shroud.
The grandfather of the point based loot systems is the DKP point system, created in 1999. Shroud Loot System is also a point based loot system, but one that attempts to correct what the creators perceived are flaws in the DKP system and its variants.
The goals of SLS
SLS has similar goals to all point systems, including DKP, as described in the previous sections. However, it has the following specific goals:
- Points should be based on time and attendance, not completion of content.
- Point inflation should be combated by a mechanism inherent to the system.
- It should allow high frequency participants to get priority on items at the cost of a worse time to loot ratio than lower frequency participants.
- Point costs should be allowed to reflect the desirability of an item, but bid collusion should not be possible.
SLS points are not points as much as they are a way of ranking each player's priority, i.e. their place in line to receive the next loot they desire.
The theory of SLS
SLS awards points based solely on attendance, regardless of the amount of loot received. The purpose behind this method is to award players who participate in learning new content, when the loot to time ratios are very low by allowing them to build a base of points before players who begin participating only when the content has been mastered and the loot to time ratio is now high.
Earning points on a time based format also allows for more tightly scheduled content, as one can easily award points only during a scheduled time. As loot systems such as SLS or DKP are generally only used when the number of players involved and the time required are both large, invariably some players will have strict time constraints due to outside forces. This allows those players to participate without being disadvantaged if they have to remove themselves before the of the content due to poor scheduling.
Spending points for items
There are only two ways to spend points on an item. A player can either spend 1/2 their current points or bid a low fixed cost (usually on the order of the points received for participating once in content). The player with the highest bid receives the item. If two players tie, which usually only happens when all players bid the low fixed cost, the item is given out by chance using a random number generator.
The main consequences of a bidding scheme such as this are:
- Players who hoard their points for a small set of desired items pay significantly more points per item than those who spend their points more often for less desired items.
- There exists a soft threshold for items, so that one can eventually get into a top priority ranking even with low frequency participation.
- If an item is not highly desired, players will be unwilling to bid 1/2 their points and thus the item will be awarded for a small amount instead of going to waste or being given away.
- Bids are no longer an auction-style bid, but just one player exercising priority over another player.
- Point totals will tend to reach a plateau, since points will be spent faster than they can be acquired.
- SLS avoids the trap of assigning fixed costs to items to prevent endless discussion and debate of which items are the most valuable and desired.