Apparently there is a lot of hate from HON players for this. Perhaps I wasn't clear. HON sucks not because it is different, but because it is bad. It is the same as DOTA and that game is ancient. The gameplay, champions, itemization, denial, all needed improvements, enhancements. Change is good, not just better graphics, but improved play. HON falls short of LOL in terms of play. I like collecting runes and choosing masteries. I like choosing summoner abilities to the combat separately from which champion. It is elegant game progression and exactly the kind of innovation the genre needed. LOL is trying to be bigger then a multiplayer game, they are trying to be an MMO service with continuous content updates, long term progression, and ranked play. As far as I can tell HON is way behind on all of those.
I also completely agree that my perspective is that of a new player. Then again perhaps that is the only one that matters. League of legends is growing very fast (server issues anyone?) and HON seems stagnant. If the folks over their are wondering why, then perhaps they should read my post. Walking back to base sucks, the UI is confusing, itemization is confusing, lack of matchmaking during the demo is unforgivable. In a world with free to play dominating (LOTRO, DDO, LOL) they are making a game with far less potential for success. When DOTA2 comes out I predict everyone in HON will move on (they are hardcore right?) and it doesn't even matter. LOL will dominate because they did things differently. They made an MMO instead of a game, and made the game better besides.
But you want me to be fair so let me go after LOL for you.
1. Their website information is terrible. Champions and items are out of date often, there is no item builder like leagecraft, no search for items. Some of this is getting better (IE is already updated with 25% crit).
2. In addition there are three clients. One for updating, one for chating / creating a game, and one for the game itself. At least one of these should be removed -- preferably the terrible adobe air chat/matchmaking one. The first time the client minimized to start the game I thought it had crashed. This is pretty poor behavior.
3. The sever stability seems pretty bad right now. I think it got better for a time but this needs to be fixed. The queue is helping for logins.
4. Somehow when the severs go down the website / forums do as well. This is is crazy, and shows poor programming design. Scalable games are hard, websites are much less hard and shouldn't be on the same servers.
5. Some of the champions they release seem poor to start. The blind monk, cassiopeia, trundle, caytlin, karma, they all started out weakly. The skills weren't super fun or they seemed similar to other characters or the champs were just plain ineffective. Clearly they have buffed some (but definitely not all) of these to be more viable, but it is strange how bad they seemed at first.
There you go. Lots for LOL to improve on. I hope this clarifies a few things.