Slot volatility can come in a number of forms, but one of the most tried and true ways to make a game difficult is to water down line pays and shifting pays to a variety of other outside factors.
Take a game like Lightning Link. When you factor the fact that there’s a Hold and Spin feature, free spins bonus and and progressives, there’s not a ton of money left for frequent line hits. It’s especially true when a double bonus can happen.
So what does that mean? It’s a feast or famine game; if you don’t get the features and bonuses, it’s very hard to get much of a session out of the game. This is what ultimately makes the game volatile.
Many of the other Link-style games (Lock It Link, Ultimate Fire Link, Mighty Cash, etc.) share this game design and as such tend to be on the volatile side too.
Not all games that have progressives have to be volatile – the Quick Hit series, for example, tends to be less volatile than the games listed above, despite the presence of multiple progressives. Without additional features getting in the way, it allows more of the pays to be driven by the line hits.
With a max bet progressive of 5 Quick Hits being a 10x win on earlier versions, and less on some newer versions, it also aligns well to be part of the core pays by popping up relatively frequently.
However, to show how adding features can make things tougher, look at a game like Twin Fire Frenzy, which merges both Hot Shot and Quick Hit. Having the extra Hot Shot feature not only adds more obstacles on the reels to prevent things lining up, but it also pulls pays into those features, making the game harder to hit.
So it’s that unusual combination of Bonus, Feature and Progressive that usually offers a sign of volatility. Having something missing and it doesn’t tend to be as bad. Goldfish doesn’t have progressives, and its features pay small, but often, so it doesn’t tend to get weighed down.
Now, sometimes you have the option of paying for more features, which I’ve previously talked about on here in some form. In an upcoming slot volatility article I’ll talk specifically about how that affects a slot’s volatility, but if you’ve been reading this series long enough you probably know what I’m going to say.