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For certain characters I pick, I am often told by teammates to go to the safelane.

Why is it called the safe lane? What's so safe about it versus the top?

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note its only considered a safe lane when you are on the radiant side, for the dire the top lane is the safe lane. – l I Apr 24 '14 at 16:32
@z Ahh, good to know. I guess then I can see that the safe lanes have the sideshops, and the unsafe ones have the secret shops. But I'm guessing that's not what makes it safer. – Louis Apr 24 '14 at 16:37
I answered this here, though this question isn't a duplicate. – Decency Apr 24 '14 at 16:51
@Decency Thanks, I see @z has answered my question there as well. – Louis Apr 24 '14 at 17:49
up vote 14 down vote accepted

I think there are a few reasons with these two being the main ones:

First is that the safelane generally has the creep closer to their tower. They did change the location where the creep meet in 6.80 (I think?) by making safelane creep walk faster and longlane creep walk slower but it's still an advantage to the safelane. This makes last hitting much safer.

In the following picture, you can see the point where the creeps meet up without outside influence. Notice that the creeps meet up very close to the dire tower on the top left and radiant tower on the bottom right. You can further cause the opponent to overextend by pulling from a camp (red arrow):

Creep intersects

Second being that you have your jungle as kind of a buffer between you and the enemy. You can move away from the tower with a lot more safety if you are in your safelane. The person in the offlane as soon as he goes past that river is in danger zone. He can easily get enemy supports right behind him that come from the jungle. The safelane has room for your supports to be near and still get xp by stacking and pulling or kind of just being near.

Some content borrowed from Z's answer here.

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There needs to be a way to vote up the edits. He converted my answer from okay to awesome. – Aarmora Apr 24 '14 at 18:39
Purely out of curiosity, know any reason they decided to not make tower placement symmetrical across sides? – Waterseas Apr 24 '14 at 19:42
@Waterseas I really have no idea. I'm fairly new to the game (~18 months) so I'm not sure of the original designs nor how it the map came to be as it is. It would certainly be a different game if they were symmetrical! – Aarmora Apr 24 '14 at 21:02
1 word dude: BALANCE. – Ulfric Stormcloak Apr 25 '14 at 9:52
It is intentional that the Dire and Radiant sides of the map contain tactical and strategic differences. In the most common competitive format, picking a side is considered as important as having first go in the pick and ban phase. The numerous asymmetrical elements of the map serve to provide specific, unique advantages. The tower proximity of creep waves and access to Roshan pit / Roshan cliffs are often cited examples. – CoryTrese Apr 18 at 5:17

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