Online Slot Symbols: How do Scatters, Wilds and Multipliers Work?

new no deposit casino blogUnderstanding the different types of slot symbol is a fundamental part of playing and winning. We’ve run through the various symbols/icons, their values, roles and how they can behave in an online slot game.

New slot developers are popping up at record speeds and the same can be said for the games they are creating, with new releases happening multiple times a day it seems. Keeping on top of all of these games is one thing but keeping on top of the new rules, ideas and features we see popping up is another. Although the games are getting more advanced and technical, when it comes down to it, the gameplay is pretty much the same and relies on symbols, winning lines and rolling/cascading reels.

Online Slot Symbols

Some of the first forms of gambling revolved around the iconic 52 playing cards and thus when online slots started being developed, it was natural to correlate symbols to the values on a pack of cards – One to Ten, Jack, King, Queen and Ace. Still used in the online slots of today, you’ll notice the generic low-value symbols representing 10’s, Jack’s and other values of this nature, with the higher value symbols adopting icons of Queens, Kings and Aces.

Following on from this tradition, online slot games tend to pick a series of numbers, letters and pictures to represent the different symbol values. They have let their imaginations run wild with how they allocate the value to each symbol but when it comes down to it, a fundamental part of the game is that some symbols represent a low value and others a high value. More times than not they make it quite clear which is which by giving the high-value symbols a specifically attractive design and the low-value symbols a more generic one.

The earliest slot machines adopted symbols such as cherries, melons, oranges, lemons and grapes, these games coined the term ‘Fruit Machines’ or ‘Pub Fruities’. One of the slot manufacturers of the time, the Bell-Fruit Gum Company, added its logo to the games they produced, and thus the bar symbol was introduced to the game. Other symbols that got introduced were derived from superstition and culture, such as the lucky number seven, known for its pleasure and prosperity worldwide. Other symbols were quite obvious such as gold bars and diamonds, which have clear connotations to high value.

Types of Online Slots Symbols

The sheer number of different slot symbols is far-reaching in terms of variety, quantity and creativity. It’s important to remember that a lot of the symbols all mean the same thing just with a different appearance. They can all be categorised into a set of core values and functions that are the fundamentals of all online slots. The most basic are standard symbols, wilds and scatters (bonus symbols).

Standard Symbols

A standard symbol would be any symbol that doesn’t serve any other purpose than to pay out a specified amount of money when appearing in a row. A winning row can be horizontal, diagonal, or in a zigzag. The important thing to remember is that the symbols have to lineup in a row to form a win.

Wild symbols

Wild symbols are a lot more complex than the standard symbols we’ve spoken about as they can carry out a set number of functions within a game. Their primary function is to act as a replacement for any standard symbol, like the blank square in scrabble. Wilds can include Stacked Wilds, Walking Wilds, Shifting Wilds Expanding Wilds, Sticky Wilds or Multiplier Wilds, with more abilities being created all of the time by the likes of NetEnt and more.

I’ll quickly run you through the different types of wilds we’ve just listed. Stacked wilds sit on top of each other. Walking Wilds appear on the reels and will jump across the game, symbol by symbol, with each spin. Shifting Wilds will take the appearance of another symbol on the reel at random. Expanding Wilds will expand to create a vertical row of wilds, usually filling a reel. Sticky Wilds will stay in position on the reels with each spin and remain in their position as long as another wild appears with each spin – most famously seen playing Starburst. Multiplier Wilds will multiply the amount of a winning combination by a random amount, as long as the wild is used to form the winning line.

Scatter Symbols

Scatter symbols are the rarest of all the symbols because they are used for activating free spins or the bonus game feature. Usually, you have to get three or more scatter symbols (also used as a Free Spin symbol on Book of Dead) to appear on the reels at any one time to activate the bonus. The more scatters that appear on the game, the more free spins that are awarded in the bonus feature. Scatters don’t need to be in a row in order to activate the bonus.

The bonus game or free spins round usually follows its own set of rules, separate to the main game. This is what makes this symbol that much rarer because the win potential here can be huge. The variety of bonus games or free spins rounds is different with each game. This is what helps to make online slots stand out from each other and a bit different.

Bonus Symbols

Bonus symbols behave in a very similar way to scatter symbols, however, with certain games they may include a free spins symbol and a bonus symbol each activating separate features. A free spin symbol will activate a certain number of free spins on the game whereas a bonus symbol may activate a separate game. This could entail selecting a pot of gold at random to reveal a mystery win.

Multiplier Symbols

Multiplier symbols function in the same way as multiplier wilds, however, here they’re not limited to being wilds. They can be their own symbol, a randomly selected symbol or a side feature of the game that’s activated at random. The important thing to know about multiplier symbols is that they will multiply your win, pretty self-explanatory!

What You Need To Know About Slot Symbols

The important thing to understand about online slot symbols is that they all may look different, but for the most part, they all function in one of the several ways we’ve just spoken about. Each game will include a guide that will showcase the different symbol values and roles, usually accessible as a tab/option from within the game itself. As long as you understand the core abilities of each symbol then you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the slots you’re playing.

If all of this information is new to you then we would recommend testing out a range of online slots for free at one of the Free Play Slots casinos.

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