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Online Slots Wilds

If you've played a new online slot in the past five years, chances are it will have a Wild symbol. It might even have bonus Wilds like Sticky Wilds, Transferring Wilds or Stacked Wilds.

Whatever your slot has, Wilds generally work in the same way: they help form winning combinations by substituting for ANY OTHER symbol (more or less) on the reels. Think of it like a Joker in Video Poker: the Wild fills the gap to form a winner.

How Do Wilds Work?

When you spin the reels, symbols line up on the paylines to form combinations. Usually, the paylines run from left-to-right, i.e. they start with Reel 1, then connect to a symbol on Reel 2, Reel 3, and so on. Wilds simply fill the spaces in those paylines. You can use one Wild to fill a combination or two or three.

Additionally, you may hit some bonus wins if you use a Wild or two. These usually take the form of multipliers or bigger jackpots if you land a lot of Wilds at once.

Testing the Slots

It's hard to know how many Wilds have been programmed on the reels in slots. This closely-guarded secret is for the slots developers only. The only way to know if a slot is packed with Wilds, or pretty stingy, is to play the slots for free before you make a deposit.

The volatility of a slot can depend on the number of Wilds: if there are lots of Wilds in the base game you might pick up plenty of regular wins but the bonus features might be harder to trigger. Similarly, slots with just a handful of Wilds might save their big features for the bonus rounds.

Different Types of Wilds

In general, there are two types of Wilds: regular 'substituting' symbols that occupy a single spot on the reels, and bonus Wilds. Depending on the developer, bonus Wilds can range from Stacked Wilds to dazzling animated Random Wilds that appear any time.

Extra Wilds can also appear during bonus rounds like Free Spins. Always check the Paytable first to see what role the Wilds play, and how much they pay out.

Standard Wilds

Standard Wild symbols substitute for other symbols on the reels. There is usually a condition - they generally won't substitute for Scatters or bonus symbols - but they can still contribute to nice winning combos.

Multipliers: Wilds just don't fill in the gaps; they also bag you a prize multiplier. If you form a winning payline with a Wild, you might earn 2x or 3x on top of your win. A quick check of the paytable will show you what the Wild multipliers are.

Jackpots: Many online slots rely on Wilds to provide the game's big jackpots. Usually, the biggest prize hits if you form a payline with five Wilds (on a five-reel slot). Again, the paytable will show you what the jackpot payouts are, but 10,000 coins for five Wilds are typical.

Bonus Wilds

  1. Random Wilds

  2. Random Wilds appear, as the name suggests, at any time during the base game. Usually, 1-3 extra Wilds will appear on the reels to help increase your winnings. In the newer slots, this will be accompanied by a short animated sequence as a character jumps on the screen to turn symbols Wild.

    Example: Fortuna the Dragon (Gamesys) - In Gamesys's fantasy-themed slot, the 'Wild Fire' feature sees a dragon fly across the screen breathing flames over the reels. Whichever symbols he hits with flames turn into Wilds. Whole reels can also be turned Wild.

    In NextGen's Pandamania, an escaped panda bear appears at random, leaping on symbols and turning them into Wilds.

  3. Expanding Wilds

  4. Expanding Wilds are a great feature of online slots as they can turn whole reels Wild. This is usually done with an animated flourish as a single Wild stretches down to fill the symbols. With Expanding Wilds, you'll complete more paylines but they don't crop up all that often.

  5. Stacked Wilds

  6. Stacked Wilds are substituting symbols that appear on top of each other on the reels. On a 3-row slot, you might find two symbols on a reel occupied by Wilds. More often, all three reel spots will be filled with Wilds.

  7. Shifting Wilds

  8. Shifting Wilds act a little like Sticky Wilds (see below) with an added twist: when they appear on the reels, they stay in place for one spin. However, the next spin they will shift along one reel and come into play again. Typically, they will keep shifting along the reels until they have disappeared off the side. By then you'll have had four or five spins with a nice bonus Wild improving your winnings.

  9. Transferring Wilds

  10. A common feature of WMS slots that have multiple sets of reels, Transferring Wilds, or Replicating Wilds, are Wilds that appear on one set of reels and "copy over" to the corresponding set of reels.

  11. Sticky Wilds

  12. A common feature in Quickspin online slots among others, Sticky Wilds do exactly what it says on the tin: they stay in place while the remaining reels spin. In some slots, Sticky Wilds will "stick" in place until you hit a cash. They will then be removed from the reels and the game continues as normal.

  13. Walking Wilds
  14. Walking Wilds is one of the bonus Wilds which shift along the reels as the remaining symbols respin for free. It also appears in other manufacturer's games as shifting or moving wilds.

Advantages of Wilds

Wilds form a key part of modern online slots. With software improving all the time, developers are able to program Wilds into their games easily. They can also come up with ever-more ingenious variations on the traditional Wild symbol.

If Wilds appear, you can be sure of a juicy multiplier on your wins, and five on a payline can guarantee a big jackpot.

However, with so many extra bonuses, slots developers have to compensate the payouts elsewhere in the game. As a result, Wilds can really affect the volatility of the slot. You might play 100 spins and pick up a few base game wins with Wilds being used, but the bonus features might end up being harder to trigger.

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