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Why Lanes are the Backbone of MOBAs

By Chris Blain
Published on October 17, 2017
moba

If you are familiar with esports, I am sure you have heard the term “lane” used before when someone has discussed the mobile gaming genre of Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBA). They are the most popular game in the competitive video game scene. If you are not familiar with them, you should change that.

If you are an esports bettor, it is critical that you understand the importance that game information can provide to your overall assessment of a professional team. Today, you will learn about how the games use the lanes to function, and some tactics to best utilize them.

Game Mechanics

Within the genre of MOBAs, many essential gaming mechanics can make or break a team. How well professional players understand the game is the difference between a competitor and a champion.

One of the most critical aspects of these types of games is the lane system that gets utilized. As an esports bettor, you should make it your priority to understand these concepts as well as the professionals do.

What is a Lane?

Simply put, a lane is a direct pathway from one base to another. Think of it as a “main road” with most MOBA games typically having three lanes. The goal of these types of games is to get from your base to the opposing teams to destroy their primary structure.

For example, in Defense of the Ancients 2, this structure is called, surprise, the Ancient. The name is different in all MOBAs, but it serves the same purpose. If you lose that building, your team loses. The gameplay makes for a tug of war style experience. Whichever team destroys the opponents structure first is the victor.

The concept is simple enough, but getting there is another story. There are many obstacles in the way to the primary structures and bases, including the opposing team. Each team typically has 3-5 players who are controlling a hero character.

Hero characters have strong abilities that increase in strength as the player character kills enemies and levels their character. There can be other factors to improving a person’s character such as earning gold, gaining items, purchasing upgrades and so on.

There will also be accompanied by Non-player characters controlled by the Artificial Intelligence on each side. There are three forms of AI within each match: one for each team and a third that controls the neutral characters in the game.

There are different names that each MOBA attributes to the neutral characters found outside of the lanes such as monsters, minions or creeps. The areas outside of the paths have differing terms as well and are . These outside lane areas can provide teams with gold, experience or items.

Only Heroes that are controlled by the players can go into these areas to fight the neutral minions, and upon being killed, the NPCs can provide rewards. The actual benefits from these areas are different in each game. Computer controlled characters are not limited to just the neutral portions.

The AI for each team controls the buildings and NPC soldiers that march down the lanes and fight the opposition. These soldiers are on a continuous spawn and charge down one of the roads from the moment they get generated until they clash with their opponents.

If there are no adversaries in the way of the NPCs, they will continue further into enemy territory until they make their way to the primary structure. The players’ goal is to knock out the defenses and to oppose team’s forces to advance their army steadily forward until victory gets achieved.

Why Three-Lanes?

Three-lanes are utilized to provide the strategy factor to MOBA games. In many popular franchises, one lane means predictability. There is not enough action going on all around the map to draw the attention away from that single path.

The result will be that the team with the stronger heroes will more than likely reign supreme over and over. When there are multiple points of attack to worry about, it makes it easier to figure out strategies to surround the enemy or do some quick damage unnoticed.

Overall, what three-lanes means is more action across the board. As an esports bettor, there is more opportunity to determine when and where to place your bets. You can learn a lot very quickly about a team based on how they handle the different lanes.

Tactics

There are a lot of tactics involved in these types of games thanks to the three-lane system, outside of the tug of war concept. Players can emphasize on either going for the objective knocking down the team forces or leveling their characters through killing neutral NPCs. No one strategy is best for success.

The stronger your characters are will, of course, give you an advantage. But if you waste too much time in the jungle, your defenses might get destroyed. Although there is no one best strategy, there are some tactics that are universal to these games.

Pushing a Lane

The battle between the two AI forces will stay evenly matched, and the player-controlled heroes are what makes the difference. Each lane for both teams will contain towers, gates, NPC spawn points and other useful structures that provide things such as healing. The troop generating buildings will continue to send reinforcements down the lanes attacking whoever or whatever they find.

To break your way through the lanes quicker, one of the three roads becomes a focus point to knock out the enemy forces and steadily move deeper into the enemy territory. One team utilizes their momentum to break down as many of the opponent’s defenses as possible in what is known as a push.

Players need to be careful that they don’t push too deep into enemy territory due to the risk of being surrounded by the enemy players and defenses. If they get surrounded by the opposing team, they are more likely to be killed and suffer a counter push as a result.

When a team is pushing a lane, there needs to be a tactical decision made to either defend or drive forward. If both sides decide to make a push, it becomes a race for who can destroy the opponents primary structure first. If one group is behind, it is in their best interest to return to the base and defend their structure in wait of a counter attack.

There is a multitude of options that could occur in these circumstances, and that is just one of the reasons that MOBA games have become so popular within the esports genre. No strategy is the best, and teams could utilize all sorts of unique methods to defeat their opponents.

Escaping

An essential part for players to understand within MOBA games is when they need to run away. Call it “tactical retreating” if that sits better with you. The result? Players will be getting out of danger so that they do not die.

All too often, success can quickly go to our heads, and the results can be catastrophic. For example, at the start of a game, a player can be pushing a lane by themselves somewhat successfully. They force the enemy troops back and continue their march to one of the enemy gates and its towers.

The towers do a lot of damage, especially at the start of a game. Typically, players will utilize the NPC forces as cannon fodder so that they can avoid taking any direct hits themselves. By pushing the lane too hard and too early in the game, the player may not be able to get back in time to avoid the massive damage coming their way.

If a player does not get away quick enough, the tower or the opposing team may take advantage of the mistake and kill that person. The same concept applies when a player pushes too deep into enemy territory and gets surrounded by the opposing team cutting off their retreat.

Deciding when to turn around and make a quick tactical retreat can be the difference between a successful push and a respawn time in the graveyard. MOBA’s heavily rely on the right counter-attack. Don’t hesitate if you think a situation is not going to go your way.

The Wrap Up

The three-lane system utilized by most popular MOBAs is the most optimal choice due to the options it provides. From player tactics to the entertainment for spectators, multiple lanes offer that action factor esports fans love. Those who understand how to utilize the paths will have a far better chance of success.

An accurate understanding of will be instrumental in determining the success or failure of a team whether you’re a professional or someone making a wager. As a smart bettor, you will know the team that understands how to control the lanes the best will most likely be victorious.

If they are professional players, they will understand how to control lanes. However, one team’s strategy for doing so can be completely different from another. Before placing a MOBA wager, you will want to determine how each team plays and if one style counters the other.

For example, if one team loves to control the middle lane and their opponents are great at forcing outside roads while keeping the middle defended, the team who is better at pushing outside lanes may have the advantage.

As informed bettors, we can make these types of predictions by watching previous tournaments and streams of players in order to know their preferred tactics. Always remember that the lanes are what makes MOBAs the powerhouses that they are in esports.

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