We review Mobile Legends to see if it has a chance to become a big mobile MOBA eSports title.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a bad game but not in the way that you think. Developed by Moonton, it’s currently one of the most popular games on both iOS and Android. Though it has a ridiculous name, this mobile MOBA offers a lot of promise as an eSports title. A lot of this has to do with its gameplay as well as its ever-growing roster of champions.
MPL – MY/SG Singapore Qualifier is about to start!
MPL – Indonesia Qaulifier will start later tonight as well! #MPL2017 #feelthepassion
portal to MPL – SG:https://t.co/csNiJAx99ghttps://t.co/lZIQAC2FNehttps://t.co/koPF46RAqb pic.twitter.com/hVrhNZRbAj
— Mobile Legends (@MobileLegendsOL) December 3, 2017
Easy to get into
Anybody who has played a MOBA like LoL or DoTA 2 will find themselves at home with Mobile Legends. With that said, players new to this genre won’t really find themselves at a disadvantage. This is thanks to the game’s easy to understand controls. The lower left hand side of the player’s phone screen serves as the directional pad. Then opposite the d-pad, players will find the attack and skill buttons.
— Mobile Legends (@MobileLegendsOL) November 22, 2017
More than its control scheme though, Mobile Legends has great tutorials for beginners. By following these, players can get a better understanding of the game. These tutorials cover everything from the control scheme, basic laning, and even jungling. In addition, there is a custom game mode that allows players to go up against AI. This is extremely helpful in getting players up to speed with their heroes/champions.
Steep learning curve?
Now, players should find it relatively easy to get kills and wins with their Mobile Legends hero/champion. However, things are going to get relatively difficult once players unlock Ranked matchmaking. On this game mode, players just can’t choose a hero/champion in a willy-nilly manner. Instead, they’ll need to ensure that their choice has great synergy with the choices of other players. Yes, it’s possible to field a team without a tank hero. The thing is, this decision will result in a very squishy team that’s going to get crushed in team fights.
— Mobile Legends (@MobileLegendsOL) November 23, 2017
The learning curve isn’t with regard to individual skills. Rather it’s more of a player’s knowledge of matchups and hero synergies. I learned this the hard way when I first started out playing a couple of Ranked games. Initially, I started out playing exclusively on Classic Matchmaking. At that point, I had no problems stringing win after win. With Ranked games though, I constantly found myself having a hard time. Players seemed to be more skilled and I was getting ganked a lot. Then I realized that the problem wasn’t necessarily my laning or jungling skills. It was just the fact that the teams I faced all had good tanks on them.
Things gets rewarding eventually
Once I accepted the fact that I was going to have to choose a tank hero though, things got easier. While I still struggled against other players, winning became much easier. As a tank, my role was to soak up damage. A lot of the time, this resulted in me dying during team fights. Thankfully though, my teammates usually manage to take advantage and get free hits of their own. This has then resulted in me getting through the Ranked tiers a lot faster than I imagined.
Hero balancing issues
As with any other game, Mobile Legends has its fair share of issues. Chief among these would be hero balancing. Tanks are woefully challenged when it comes to offense. Not to mention, a lot of the tanks in the game are rather difficult to play as. Thanks to this, you’d have a hard time looking for players who main tanks. Usually, you’d get a match (especially on Classic matchmaking) littered with assassins or marksmen.
Mobile Legends as an eSport
— Mobile Legends (@MobileLegendsOL) November 8, 2016
Moonton has continually worked on making Mobile Legends a viable eSports title. With that said, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done for it to succeed. Right now, most of its playerbase is in the SEA and East Asia region. In order for it to get more cred as an eSports title, it’ll need to capture the European and American markets. While this isn’t an impossible task, it’s also not that easy. Hard-core gamers in Europe and America tend to frown down on mobile titles. If they manage to win these players over though, Moonton will undoubtedly have a cash cow on their hands. As for whether it could unseat LoL as the top eSport, I feel like it still is going to take a while (even for other mobile MOBAs like Vainglory).