I have played DOTA with friends before and it gets quite competitive. The overall game of HoN and DOTA is a bit harder than LoL in my opinion. Due to the ability to deny and slow down creeps and etc.
The weapon shops are located all over the map which makes it hard for new players to get use to. Even with practice no one really wants to carry a noob around on a team match. So i would say that they are not very noob friendly.
Yes, secret shops are harder for noobs to find, but I personally prefer being able to just buy from one place. I see no real advantage here except it makes it harder for noobs to play. HoN is definitely not noob friendly.
In other news, I've been trying a little of Brand; I've got mixed feelings so far. Some games I have great games, and others I feel like I'm constantly dead. You definitely don't want to be the target of attacks with Brand... try to lay low.
Edited by whitingnick - 4/20/11 at 12:03am