Listen, I’m not going to refute the strong evidence that you, and folks such as @hazeleyes have present in regard to the lower participation in Vainglory.
It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as AoV and ML. SEMC has made it’s fair share of mistakes. With that said, in my humble opinion, a big reason why a game like ML has grown and VG has dropped is simply because ML is easier. It’s an easier game. From everything I’ve watched (RumblyYT, L3on, XenoTek, Excoundrel and many more) it’s an easier and quicker game. It provides a handicap/skill cap. Yet, it’s still easy for folks I listed to “out mechanic” and just “bully” the competition.
Vainglory takes a lot more mechanical skill and patience to be successful at. It’s a more pure MOBA, and I for one am very glad it exists. I don’t own a gaming desktop/laptop. I can’t play Dota2 or LoL. I believe people who play Dota2 and LoL likely prefer VG’s gameplay, but, why would you not play a polished PC MOBA?
ML is successful because it’s far more of a brawl mobile styled game. Again, this is just my humble opinion, but I don’t think VG and ML can really be compared; they’re different games.
I think SEMC’s ultimate mistake was starting as a 3v3, believe it or not. That, or it was introducing 5v5 in the first place. I feel which ever one they started with, that’s what they should have stuck with. 3v3 made it different from AoV and ML, while staying true to MOBA core components. As @Guest_78 has mentioned many times, the base of VG’s population was 3v3 - obviously, that’s what it started as. To make such an altering change has huge risks. Those risks seem to not have been worth it in regard to the bottom line for the game/company.
Again, personally, I love having the option to play both ranked 3v3 and ranked 5v5 in a MOBA game available on a mobile device that requires skillful gameplay.
On another note, I’ve actually felt an uptick in energy this patch/season - anyone else? I’m seeing names climb the NA Top 100 that I haven’t seen for a while. Chuck has registered a handful of wins (last season I think he has 2). Oldskool has several wins on his main account in NA (also almost nonexistent last season). It’s not all bad, folks. It’s just harder to find the good.