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When I read the role descriptions here, http://dota2.gamepedia.com/Role, it seems unclear to me as to what the difference is between a Lane Support and Support.

Support

"Can focus less on amassing gold and items, and more on using their abilities to gain an advantage for the team."

Supports are heroes whose purpose is to keep their allies alive and give them opportunities to earn more gold and experience. Supports will usually come with skills, such as healing spells or skills that disable enemies; and generally have low damage output (but often with a powerful-yet-situational ultimate). Like Semi-Carries, Supports are not dependent on items (with some exceptions), and thus, most of their gold will be spent on items for the benefit of the team such as Animal Courier, Observer Ward, Sentry Ward, and Smoke of Deceit. Supports are typically paired with the team's Carry at the start of a game. This is because the Carry tends to be the weakest and most gold-hungry member of the team early on, whereas support heroes are at their strongest in the early game. A Support should always forfeit kills to any teammates who are more reliant on items than s/he is, only performing a kill if none of his/her allies are able to do it.

Lane Support

"Helpful in the early-game laning in protecting your team's carry."

Lane Supports or Babysitters are Heroes who help their team's Carry control the lane in the early stages of the game. They are able to either repel enemies from your team's carry and thus keep them safe, or to allow the carry to continuously stay in the lane using abilities that replenish either health or mana. Common traits of Lane Supports are long-ranged right-click attacks and abilities that are highly useful from level 1 and up. They should always lane with the team's Hard Carry, as aside from supporting them, their lack of dependence on gold and levels means said Carry can take all the farm for themselves without running the risk of soloing a lane.

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2 Answers 2

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Lane support is also called a babysitter because the hero will basically babysit the ally carry to help him grow faster and without too much danger. Being a babysitter means:

  1. observer wards close to the lane
  2. harassing the enemy (best done with a ranged support like dazzle)
  3. Denying creeps to disable some xp from the enemy
  4. Not last-hitting any creeps and creating space for your carry to move around without any danger
  5. Using the pulling techniques for keeping your own creeps next to your towers
  6. Using the hero-attack technique (i do not know how it is really called), where you have to stay behind your wave of creeps and right click an enemy hero, so that the enemy creeps start attacking you, and they will move inwards to your lane, leaving them exposed for the carry to dispose of them more safely.
  7. Providing occasional tp's/healing salves/sentry wards for heroes like Broodmother/Rikimaru/Phantom lancer/Bounty hunter,etc

The Support is usually assisting the whole team, and he's not focused on babysitting even though he might do something similar on the lane. Though the support role is encouraged to get some kind of farm to provide certain items (Mekansm, pipe, etc) that will be necessary to the team, where the babysitter or lane support, focuses on sacrificing a support's money and early game towards a fast rush to success from the main carry.

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Hero-attack technique is just pulling creeps I believe! –  franglais Dec 9 '13 at 10:24
    
@franglais indeed but this is used to pull enemy creeps towards you so that the carry can have an easier time farming. –  Edeph Dec 9 '13 at 14:18
1  
I would add to the list: stunning or disabling your lane opponents, which can be excellent either offensively (allows your carry to pick up easy kills for a gold and xp advantage), or defensively (to allow a squishy carry to escape otherwise certain death). Lion is great for this, for example. –  Cam Jackson Jan 11 at 6:54

Roles in Dota2 are very versatile and fluid, so people come up with a lot of their own definitions and meanings. This is nothing more than an artificial distinction.

Judging from the heroes that the wiki has put into each category, the consensus seems to be that "Lane Support" heroes are those whose primary focus is often to help a carry to farm safely through harass, healing, and lane control. The heroes listed under plain "Support" are more often able to focus on other roles than babysitting or securing a lane, such as jungling, ganking, or controlling creep equilibrium.

I heavily disagree with the heroes listed under the categories, and even the distinction between the two categories to begin with. I'd encourage you to focus on how heroes scale with items and with levels to determine their effectiveness in various roles, rather than what someone has categorized them as.

That's one of the nice things about the game, though- there's very little consensus beyond the obvious and so you're free to play most heroes in a variety of roles and scenarios.

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Those are the role listed in-game too. And they are regulraly wrong in my opinion (Like Gyro is not listed as a carry...) –  WizLiz Nov 7 '13 at 8:36
    
While I like this answer and think it's informative, I think Edeph's answer was a little more direct to the question asked. –  Jacob Gardner Nov 7 '13 at 16:46
    
@Rolla. I agree, I just think you're asking the wrong question to gain real understanding so I answered the question to most help you learn. –  Decency Nov 7 '13 at 17:49
    
@Decency, that's why I upvoted your answer, even though I didn't accept it. Thanks! –  Jacob Gardner Nov 7 '13 at 18:41

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