Community Development: Number of Lanes
The number of lanes available at any given time can drastically change a MOBA player’s strategy, even more so with the increasing number of players currently on the map. The inclusion of the “jungle” can alter this further, by giving a method of flanking as well as the potential for valuable bonuses. This brings us to our latest discussion…
How many lanes should be on the map?
We’ve brought in Cowsep to help provide his own opinions on the matter.
Across the vast majority of PC-based MOBAs, using three lanes is by far the most frequently seen system. There are alternatives, but three is definitely considered the magic number.
Q1: It’s safe to say that the commonplace for MOBAs is a 3-lane system. What are the benefits of this that it’s become such a standard layout?
The 3 lane system makes it so there is action in many different areas of the map at any given time. People like to feel the satisfaction of building their character up and if there is always action going on they don’t feel like they’re given the time to adequately farm the resources to become better at the game. The reason I avoid All Random All Mid is because I feel like the game is too fast and I don’t get a chance to really enjoy developing my character. The straight up PvP style of a MoBA is not as much fun as the engaging team fights that can occur across the map. Also, more lanes means splitting up and pushing each one is a more viable strategy since fights can happen further away.
Q2: On the other hand, are there any negatives associated with this current system?
Some negatives include the map being too large, especially for too many players. For example right now in League of Legends we see 5-players but one of the lanes must be played solo. Sometimes you may have players that will simply push a lane because it’s far away from the action and other players may feel helpless, like they rely too much on their teammate who is too far away to contribute.
As is more common for mobile MOBAs, the number of lanes rarely reaches three. A single lane is common, with two being just as popular.
Q3: For Planet of Heroes, you’ll find yourself in a new environment consisting of 1 short lane, 1 short with a jungle to the side, and 2 long lanes with a jungle between them. Offhand, which of those sounds the most ideal to you?
I like the idea of 2 lanes because it doesn’t make the middle area a total cluster area. The thing is, in Planet of Heroes, when you’re playing around you’re always going to the same location and there isn’t much strategy, its usually just a bloodbath. That is OK, but I think having a second lane to let people explore where they want to go and adopt their strategies is good. Maybe have buffs or something near each lane (similar to dragon and rift herald in LoL) to promote certain play styles or rune choices. Keep in mind that in LoL the “position” is very important. Most players identify based on their lane.
Q4: Why is that? What team size are you imagining when you think that?
I’d imagine 4 players or so. Probably 2 top, 1 bottom, and 1 bottom and jungle hybrid. I think that sounds like fun.
Q5: With 1 short lane, the action becomes much more condensed, allowing small teams to have a very fast & intense battle where you’ll always be in someone’s face. How interesting do you think this sort of match would be, due to the average player needing to completely change their playstyle to match a very condensed area?
I feel like the fast gameplay is rather interesting for a few games but after a while it may turn a bit boring since the amount of effort you put into the character feels a little unrewarding for such a short game. People generally like to see their efforts become fruitful rather than quickly disappearing after a quick game. I understand the need for a fast game in the mobile market but feeling like they have accomplished stuff makes them less likely to give their accounts up. Having a longer game will make their accomplishments feel more prominent.
Q6: One short lane with the addition of the jungle mixes things up, allowing players to obtain bonuses from within the jungle itself and even sneak around the opposing team if they’re feeling adventurous. With the action still being just as condensed, but allowing a bit more freedom of movement, how significant will the tactical possibilities of a team become after this arguably minor layout change?
I feel it is an all-around positive change since this will allow players to feel like they have a position on the team rather than just always being in the same area all the time. I also feel some “cheesy” playstyles will open up from this. Strategy is important to players, I think a lot of people enjoy “theory crafting” and in your game if you do not have options such as items it is hard to make theory crafting a reality.
Q7: Two lanes with a jungle between brings us closer to the standard layout, but is still overall smaller. With smaller teams, what noticeable difference in playstyles relative to the 5v5 3-lane maps will appear most often?
I mentioned it earlier what I was thinking with this playstyle. Most likely there will be 2 people in the important lane and a hybrid lane as well where the “jungler” moves in and out.
Q8: Keeping the action constantly moving is important. Taking into account these layouts, is there anything that could be done to ensure players are always battling it out while keeping it just as fun?
I think keeping the maps small while putting objectives around the map will make action fun and quick. Snowballing SHOULD NOT be that important since if a game feels lost people will want to move on. Comebacks are always exciting and having objectives and things to capture is what makes the game the most interesting in my opinion. I do feel like having more players is important to the game (maybe 4?) since that’d open up more player interaction. I just feel like having people to play with is interesting. The problem however may be queue times.
No matter what your thoughts are, we want to hear it – Let us know what you think!