MLBB is popular in South East Asia and is an official sport in the SEA games since 2019. It grossed $9bn in 2022 (*cough* gacha *cough*). There's no concrete data on how it dominated the region, but the simplified mechanics and social nature are probably the main factors... or perhaps of the very familiar look.
The graphics were optimized for smartphones. The skill mechanics like last hit gold, denying, and creep blocking were not added. You can buy items anywhere from the map. Item and emblem building is easy to understand. Overall, it's a fast-paced game and you can enjoy a competitive scene without investing too much time learning it.
Like any online games, it can be toxic. Playing as a hero with unique abilities and roles, the primary objective of MOBA games is to destroy the enemy base and defend yours, which requires strategy and team work. You'll mostly play in matchmade sessions, so losing because of trolls and stupid teammates can happen. Losing means time or points (Ranked) wasted, and this usually induces toxic actions. I'm not immune to this problem.
It's more fun with friends. My team at a previous work held friendly tournaments. We formed two teams of random members (most were beginners), in which me and the other skilled player can't be together. My team won the first cup and lost the second. Eventually, some members left the company that made a third tournament impossible.
I probably have stopped playing this game if not for my favorite hero, Ruby. I was a Kagura main before Ruby came out in 2017. Kagura is a mage and her skill set was very different at that time. Mages are typically squishy and important in damage dealing, thus requiring more timing and coordination skills.
When I realized mage isn't for me, I tried other heroes and found out that Ruby perfectly matches my playstyle.
I've chosen Ruby in more than 3,400 matches with a 61% win rate and made it on the leaderboards several times. Overall, I've played 3,611 matches (1.5 matches/day).
Ruby closely resembles the Little Red Riding Hood and Ruby Rose of RWBY. She is a melee fighter with all crowd control AoE skills, strong sustain and dash abilities with an overall balanced damage output. A viable choice if protecting or setting for the team is your priority.
The best items for Ruby are those with cooldown reduction and spell vamp effects. The technique is to make best use of her lifesteal abilities by casting skills that will hit the most units. Her passive also grants additional physical and magic defense (up to 3 stacks) upon dashing.
Some game modes like Ranked are draft pick. This means your hero can be picked or banned by your opponents. It's important that you can play other heroes or roles for a good game and to protect your rank points.
Mobile Legends is a fun game to kill time. If you're into MOBA games, I recommend trying it out! However, don't expect many good players outside SEA. It may not be available in some countries either, like India that have banned the game because it's Chinese.