The features in modern video slots are wild symbols extra opportunities to hit winning combinations and some very lucrative payouts. The three main types – sticky, locked, and unlocked – all work a bit differently. First, a quick refresher on how standard wild symbols work. Wilds can substitute for other symbols to help complete winning payline combinations. For example, if you need three cherries to win a payout, and the spin gives you two cherries plus a wild, the wild acts as a cherry to pay out the win. The big advantage of wilds is that they provide a chance to win on more spins than with regular symbols alone. Wild symbols are among the most common special features of video slots. However, developers have enhanced the wild concept further by making them even more useful for players. The three main types of supercharged wilds are sticky, locked, and unlocked.
Sticky wilds are exactly what they sound like – the wild symbols remain stuck in place for a predetermined number of spinsClick here for more info. After landing on the reels, sticky wilds don’t disappear like standard wilds. They stay on screen, potentially substituting in more wins as extra spins play out. For example, if a sticky wild lands in a spot that completes a payline win, it will remain there and possibly help complete more wins over additional spins. Sticky wilds usually stick for 2-4 extra spins before disappearing normally. Some slots allow re-triggering, adding even more sticky wilds as you play. Sticky wilds offer players better chances at big wins over an extended series of spins. Having wilds locked in profitable positions on the reels directly translates to higher payout potential.
Locked wild reels take the concept a step further. With locked wild reels, entire reels are locked and guaranteed to be wild for the next few spins. For example, a slot may have 3 sets of reels, with the middle reels being the locked wild reels. Those reels will then reveal only wild symbols for the next 4 spins, allowing big wins to come in more easily. Players will likely see more frequent and larger wins during the spans when the locked wild reels are in effect. Locked wild reels tend to trigger more valuable payouts compared to having just a few sticky wilds here and there. But again, they are usually only in play for a limited number of spins before the reels to normal.
Lastly, we have unlocked wilds. These are essentially the opposite of locked wilds. With unlocked wilds, reels that had no wilds can suddenly become wild reels for duration of spins. For example, if the first two reels have no wild symbols, an unlocked wild feature may cause them to become wild reels for the next 10 spins. Unlocked reels provide fresh opportunities where wins were previously less likely. Unlocked wilds opening up new winning potential across formerly static reels provide thrill and anticipation. Players love seeing previously dead reels come alive with possibilities for big wins over several spins.