We design the perfect jackpot slot
Over the years we've seen the slot game industry come up with more innovative games and themes. You only have to take a look at the enduring popularity of standard slots such as Game of Thrones, Thunderstruck II, and Immortal Romance, just to name a few, to understand that e.g. Microgaming have produced some hits in more than one occasion.
Of course, that is just in their range of non-progressive games. When it comes to progressive jackpot games, Microgaming's strike rate is even more impressive with the likes of Mega Moolah, Major Millions, Treasure Nile, and more, all having their army of devotees.
So Microgaming certainly have the knack of producing top quality slot games, but as yet they haven't quite produced the perfect slot. In truth, nobody has. Even the very best slot games today have their little foibles which critics will willingly point out to those that will listen.
That made us think; given a free hand to design any slot game we liked, if we wanted to make the perfect slot game, what would we need to include on the slot? What would the theme be? How many reels and lines would be in play? Would it be low, medium or higher variance, what would the standard jackpot be, how much would it cost to play and lastly, would it be a progressive or standard?
So we sat down with a blank canvas and decided to try and come up with a slot game which we believe would have appeal to almost every slot player and the first thing we needed to think about for the slot, was it's theme.
Picking the theme for this slot isn't as easy as you would expect. What interests me, may not interest another slot player. Looking at Microgaming's most popular slots, or indeed popular games from all other providers, shows that there isn't one particular type of theme that resonates with slot players. In truth, the most popular slots are all largely different with perhaps just one or two similar characteristics between some of them.
So, if no theme has universal appeal for slot players, then what does appeal to all slot players? Movie-themed slots? Yes these can be popular, but people like and dislike different films. The same goes for sports, or cartoon styled slots, cutesy games and similar. Pick almost any genre and you'll find some slot players who balk at the idea of playing that type of game.
However, the one thing that all slots players do enjoy to a person, is slot gaming and winning on the slots. So, we thought how about a slot game, that is about playing and winning on the slots?
Symbols could include symbols associated with slot gaming (I liked the idea of slots through the ages, from the old style 'one-armed-bandit' slots, up to more modern day 5-reel games). Alongside this you could have symbols to do with winning money ranging from penny slot prizes (which would of course be the lower value wins) up to massive progressive prizes (which could be the higher).
I'd also give the slot gamer a choice of slots to play. The Microgaming slot Lost Vegas showed how different modes can be incorporated into a slot game superbly and I'd add this feature to my slot. So you could play a retro-styled 3-reel game or a newer 5-reel slot with more modern features. Symbols (and even the bonus features) could then be designed around each mode of the slot to provide a different gaming experience (and thus increase the long-term appeal of the slot).
Number of Reels and Lines
As we have already stated in the section above, I like the multiple-mode approach that games like Lost Vegas have and in my perfect slot, I would have one mode which would be 3-reel and one mode which would be a 5-reel game. This is similar to what is on offer on some Microgaming games at present (Major Millions for example, offers you a 3-reel version of the game, or a 5-reel version).
Of course, the 3-reel version of the slot would necessitate having fewer winning lines and I would like to keep this a simpler, more retro game. This would mean that this would be a more volatile slot (we'll explore volatility a bit later) than the five reel version if it was still going to offer similar prizes. I'd also design the 3-reel mode to have a more retro feel, bonuses themed on more retro slots and it would aim to celebrate the golden age of slot gaming.
The 5-reel mode would be a more modern game and as there are more possibilities on each spin, it would perhaps be less volatile than the 3-reel version. This would be a more modern slot, offering more modern bonus features and would explore the modern slot era and how slot gaming has become the huge industry that it is today.
The number of lines in each game mode I would choose would be for there to be 5-lines in play on the 3-reel slot mode but for there to be 243 Ways to Win in play on the 5-reel mode.
Cost per spin
Due to how the game is structured (as you will see later on in the article), I would need both the 3-reel and 5-reel modes to have the same cost per spin (in much the same way that on Major Millions, you need to wager 3.00 per spin on both the 3-reel and 5-reel versions to stand a chance to land the progressive jackpot).
It's important to me that my slot has wide appeal to both lower stakes players as well as the higher rollers, so I would want to have a lower end starting point of 0.25 per spin. However, players would then be able to scale up their bet as they see fit.
What variance would the slot be?
Now that we have an idea of what our slot will be about, that it will have two distinct modes, have a choice of 5-lines (3-reel) and 243-ways (5-reel) and wagers will start in either mode at 0.25 and head up to e.g. 250.00 per spin for higher rollers, we now need to decide what the variance of the slot will be and I think this may well be the most crucial aspect of the game.
It is here that I now began to think outside of the box. What you tend to find with slot players is that players with smaller bankrolls, who bet smaller amounts each spin tend to prefer playing lower variance slot games that will enable them to keep their bankroll going for longer.
In contrast, players with a much higher bankroll tend to bet more per spin and tend to play much higher variance games. Admittedly these rules are not cast in stone, but they are a general rule of thumb that are useful to follow as a guide.
So the brilliance of my slot is that it is not a lower variance slot, or a higher variance slot, or even a medium variance slot. What it will be is a 'variable variance' slot depending on how much you bet.
So if you are playing one of the game modes at 0.25 per spin, then the slot will play at a lower variance for you. Play for 25.00 per spin and you'll likely find a more mid-level of variance in play. Spin for the maximum 250.00 per spin and you will be playing the slot at its highest variance.
I'm not even sure if this is technologically possible at the moment, but I think in allowing the variance to vary depending on the size of the bet, will ensure that this game has appeal to all players. Maybe at some point in the future, slots will offer players a choice of variance when they play?
What would be the standard jackpot?
It is important to me that whether a player is playing the 3-reel or 5-reel mode of the slot, that they have the same bets available to them and also the same jackpot prizes available to them. So if my slot is going to appeal, what kind of jackpots does it need to offer?
A quick look through the most popular Microgaming slots, such as Thunderstruck II, Avalon and Immortal Romance for example, reveals that these games all have massive non-progressive jackpot prizes that run into the millions of coins.
It is clear to me that a slot offering the chance of big jackpots is more appealing than one that doesn't, so my slot would offer a big million-coin (exactly) standard jackpot in the game. In addition, it would offer a couple of smaller big prizes (100,000 coins, 50,000 coins) as well as a large number of small to medium value wins too.
Now a million-coin jackpot is big, but it is not the biggest jackpot you can play for at a Microgaming slot. However, I don't think that would matter too much as the next thing I would add to my perfect slot would I feel make this the most appealing slot to play of all.
Would the slot offer one or more progressive jackpots?
For me, the addition of a progressive jackpot (or in actual fact several progressive jackpots) is a fundamental if you are going to make the perfect slot game. But how would that fit in with a slot that already offers a million-coin jackpot in the base game?
In truth, I think the way Microgaming have done this on the Mega Moolah slot is perfect and I would use something similar to the Jackpot Bonus Game system on this new game too (although I may alter how the wins are decided).
This would mean every spin on the slot could be a jackpot winner as the progressive wins would be triggered at random. Furthermore, the higher you wager, the more chance you would have of triggering the progressive jackpot bonus feature (as in Mega Moolah) but this would mean every player still has a chance of landing the top progressive prize.
I'd also ensure the seed amount for the slot was the minimum £1,000,000 (the same as Mega Moolah). I'd also have at least a few other smaller progressive jackpots which can be won instead of the biggest progressive, which would ensure that every time the Jackpot Bonus Round is triggered, the progressive is not won.
I'd also structure the progressives so that they paid out a tenth of the previous progressive. So if the top jackpot prize was £5,000,000. The next biggest prize would be £500,000, then £50,000, then £5,000, then £500 and finally £50. Furthermore, all these jackpots would only reset back to their seed amounts when the main jackpot prize is won.
So there is my perfect slot game - actually I could think of a ton of features, from advanced Wilds to Bonus Games, but it's important the game is easy to play and understand. So, a slot game that offers a million-coin jackpot in the base game, plus progressive jackpot prizes with a minimum top progressive prize of £1,000,000 - with lesser jackpots based on fixed percentage based reduction from the higher value jackpot - and which offers two very different game modes, variable variance depending on the size of your bet and all of which can be played from 0.25 per spin up to 250.00 per spin to suit the high roller.
There you go - you may have other ideas for the perfect slot, but meanwhile give Mega Moolah's huge jackpot a shot today! Check out the offers.
Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.
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