What Are Wild Symbols In Slots & How Do They Boost Slot Play?


If you ask players what they think is the most awesome thing about slots, the majority of them will say wilds, and this is true. Indeed, the world’s most favorite pastime would never be so much fun without these simple at first glance but incredibly advantageous deep inside symbols.

Known since the early days of mechanical 3-steppers, today they are found in almost every video slot produced by the army of software providers. With the advancement of technology and the emergence of new reel mechanics, there’s no limit to the potential capabilities of wilds, therefore they now come in a multitude of types, shapes, and sizes.

Let’s find out what makes a wild icon so special, how to tell the type of wilds a certain game features, and which online slots offer punters the wildest experience.

What’re Wild Symbols In Slots?

If you’ve already checked our comprehensive slots glossary, then you know that a wild is „a special symbol that can substitute for other (usually regular) symbols to complete one or more winning combinations“. Basically, this is it but in reality, everything is much more exciting.

All of a sudden...

multiplying-wilds-just-as-the-name-says-says-here-we-have-a-wild-enhanced-with-a-multiplier-image...wilds land on the reels to put an end to a losing streak and often bring hefty payouts, especially if they have multipliers attached. You ever wonder how many times you haven’t scored a win due to a lack of just one matching icon? Well, these perky symbols serve to decrease the number of such awkward moments, at the same time maximizing your chances to hit it really big.

As a rule, they do not have powers to replace scatters or other special icons, which makes perfect sense. Wilds are far from being rare quests on the reels and letting them substitute for bonus symbols would lead to the very frequent triggering of various extra features including free spins and mini-games. Of course, it would be great for slot buffs but we sincerely doubt, any software provider will ever obtain an order for so overgenerous machine.

How Do Wilds Boost Slot Play?

The world of wild symbols is very diverse as game makers constantly look for opportunities to assign them with new functions. Some software developers like NetEnt, RTG, or Betsoft, to name just a few, have done a great deal of work to design their own assortment of innovative icons but by and large, there are several main types you’ll come across to when playing at online casinos.

How to tell which wilds are hidden?

One glance at the game’s paytable is usually enough to figure out the variety of wilds on offer, the way they work in this particular title, and the trophies they bring. However, to save your time here is a snapshot of some major options, each comes with the names of slots that feature a respective wild symbol.

Regular Wilds

The basic type that serves to substitute for all other regular symbols to increase the number of winning lines or combinations. Regular wilds are often the most high-paying items of the paytable.

Texas Tycoon (RTG), Cleopatra Diamond Spins (IGT), Tian Di Yuan Su (RTG), Fire & Steel (Betsoft), Fortunes of Ra (Blueprint)

Multiplying Wilds

Just as the name says, here we have a wild enhanced with a multiplier. Each time it helps complete a win, it’ll multiply the prize by 2x, 3x, 5x, or any other value set out by the provider. These can be available in the base game or can only be a part of extra features that usually offer higher multiplier values.

Extra Chilli (BTG), Wild Falls (Play n’Go), Cai Hong (RTG), Secret Jungle (RTG)

Sticky Wilds

Also called Locked or Frozen, Sticky wilds remain on the reels for a certain number of spins, significantly boosting your chances to land a win in the next round. Some slots will kindly let wilds stay until you win while others will allow only one sticky round.

Back to Venus (Betsoft), Fruit Splash (Rival), Super Sweets (Betsoft), Jewel Scarabs (Red Tiger), Juicy Jewels (Rival), Godzilla vs King Kong (Arrow’s Edge)

Expanding Wilds

colossal-giant-wilds-Just-as-all-colossal-symbols-they-take-more-than-one-position-on-the-reels-imageAnother players’ favorite, this icon expands to cover the whole reel, creating more possibilities for prizes. You’re more likely to run into this feature during a bonus rather than in the course of the base game and it’s often reserved for certain reels only. In some games, such a wild can expand horizontally to cover an entire row instead of a reel.

Starburst (NetEnt), Triple Twister (RTG), Zombiezee Money (Rival), Spirit of the Wild (Saucify), Count Spectacular (RTG), Esqueleto Explosivo 2 (Thunderkick)

Colossal/Giant Wilds

Just as all colossal symbols, they take more than one position on the reels, again, contributing to a bigger number of winning patterns. In some slots, they appear as huge clusters really hard to miss.

Wu Zeitan (RTG), Dynamite Riches (Red Tiger), Reactoonz  (Play n’Go)

Stacked Wilds

The most valuable of all stacked symbols, they come in stacks (piled up on top of one another) to enliven more reel positions and produce a lot of wins, sometimes delivering the entire wild grid for maximum payouts on every line.

Vulcan (RTG), Action Jack (IGT), Wolf Gold (Pragmatic Play), Lucky Xmas (Booongo), Storm Lords (RTG)

Walking/ Moving Wilds

Mainly a part of bonus games, this feature appears during re-spins triggered by a wild symbol, which then „walk“ sideways or from top to bottom. In some slots, the re-spins will continue as long as the moving wild is visible on the screen.

Raging Storms (IGT), Halloween Jack (NetEnt), Golden Genie and the Walking Wilds (Nolimit City)

by Anna Anna