The wild symbol has been a part of online video pokies almost since their inception over two decades ago. Over the years it has been given additional properties that have made online pokies more exciting. This article looks at some of the ways in which the wild symbol has evolved.
The basic property of the wild symbol is that it can be exchanged for any other symbol in order to complete winning combinations. Because of this, most winning combinations after a pokies spin are made with a wild symbol. In order to highlight the value of the wild symbol, it is often the thematically most important symbol. The current trend is to have the game logo as the wild symbol. Often the wild symbol also awards the highest line payouts.
The first enhancement made in the wild symbol is that it was given a multiplier property. When a wild symbol is used to complete a winning combination it multiplies the payout for that combination. In many online pokies the multiplier is fixed. But sometimes the multiplier is dependent on factors like the number of wild symbols in the winning combination or may even be randomly determined.
Then wild symbols began to appear in stacks. This increased the volatility of the online pokie because when the wild symbol appeared usually the entire reel was filled with wilds. Summer Holiday is a five reels and four rows online pokie with stacked wilds. An exciting variant to the stacked wild is the expanding wild. The symbol appears like a normal wild when it lands on the reels, but then expands to cover the entire reels. This is usually accompanied by an interesting thematic animation. Microgaming is now introducing a feature called Growing Wilds in the free spins of some recent releases like Tarzan. The wild symbol stack grows by one in every spin.
Another variant to the wild symbol is that having landed on the reels it remains there for a number of spins. It is called by various names like fixed wilds and sticky wilds. In the Playtech pokie Ice Cave the Ice Wilds remain frozen on the reels till you land a Hammer Wild. There is another interesting concept used in Dolphin Cash called Shifting Wilds. The wild dolphin symbol first lands on the fifth reel and it moves one reel to the left with every spin till it exits from the first reel.