I've never had a ball pythong, but from reading about them, I "knew" it wouldn't be my first snake, or even third. They sounded more finicky than corns or kings.
I ended up 2 corns, which behaved like perfect angels, almost according to the book. They'd be great first snakes IMHO. However, now I've got a Ruthvens kingsnake. He makes the corns look like something for advanced keepers.
Like I said, even without ball python experience to compare, I still think (at least some) kingsnakes should be on the beginners list.