Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is among the most popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games. With over 70 million monthly users, Mobile Legends has been one of the most downloaded cellphone games in the world since its launch in 2016.
Like League of Legends and Dota 2, MLBB pits two teams of five players each to protect the base on the map’s opposite sides. With three lanes and six classes of heroes to choose from, ML tests the strategy of individual players and the teamwork of virtually unknown players.
Since one match usually ends after 10 minutes or so, it became a favorite pastime for many people. If you’re one of the 70 million monthly users of ML, you’d probably know the ins and outs of the game.
However, do you know that there is a story behind every character? Even the map where the battle takes place, Land of Dawn, has its unique story.
Mobile Legends: From Zero to Billion
Before having 1 billion downloads, Mobile Legends had a rough start that involved lawsuits from Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends. Chinese company Moonton started developing ML in 2015 after successfully releasing their first game, Magic Rush: Heroes.
Based on their experience, a key to a mobile game’s success worldwide is featuring the different cultures and traditions of its target audience. When ML became a hit in Southeast Asia, Moonton developed several heroes that featured the rich history and folklore of the region.
The game then introduced heroes inspired by real-life people – Lapu Lapu, the first hero of the Philippines; Pacquito, inspired by Manny Pacquiao, and Minsitthar, based on Kyansittha, the king of Myanmar in the 2nd century.
Mobile Legends also paid tribute to the folklore of several Asian countries like Kadita, based on Indonesian folk legend Nyi Roro Kidul, and Badang, the legendary strongman of Malaysia. India is also well represented in the game with Gatotkaca, inspired by the character Ghatotkacha in the epic Ramayana.
However, its sudden rise in the esports community did not come overnight, as Moonton faced several challenges, including two lawsuits and pesky bugs.
Moonton vs. Riot Games: Copyright Infringement
A year after the release of Mobile Legends in 2016, American company Riot Games filed a lawsuit against Moonton for a copyright infringement of the game League of Legends, which they launched seven years prior.
In the case, Riot Games alleged that Tencent stole the characters, designs, and artworks of League of Legends, which is only available on computers. Responding to the lawsuit, Google Play Store temporarily removed Mobile Legends from being downloaded.
Yet, in 2022, Riot Games again filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Moonton. However, a Los Angeles-based judge dismissed the case.
Moonton’s Headache: Bugs and Bugs
Aside from the suit of Riot Games, ML also experienced hiccups with several bugs. In early 2020, some players of ML installed third-party plugins and scripts that allowed them to see the enemy team.
In response, Moonton publicly published the account details of the banned players. The company also enabled two-factor authentication to avoid hacking incidents when logging in on a new device.
Mobile Legends: Seven Years After
Seven years after its release, Mobile Legends have made its mark in the Esports industry. As of writing, seven Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League (MPL) in the Asia-Pacific Region serve as the qualifiers for the Mobile Legends World Championships.
With the rise of esports in Southeast Asia, Mobile Legends is one of six games with esports in the Philippines. It was also introduced in the first esports competition of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in the Philippines.