Fantastic link, Redrobes. I appreciate the chart, as I'm still comparing. Tomorrow will likely be my last game via standard chat.
jfrazierjr, I will be sure to ask for help if I feel I need it. Thank you so much for the offer.
Some questions I have about Maptool: How integrated are the other RPTools? Can we load characters into the system for HP tracking and saves and things like that? How easy is it to make maps on the fly during a game? It looks like no download is required, but is it preferred? Is the only requirement Java 6 as far as system specs? It looks like Fantasy Grounds takes care of most of that, but I really don't want to pay or pirate if I can avoid it, and I love the open source community.
Right now my biggest concern is ease of use and getting my players to adopt it. We started on Yahoo chat but that system has major flaws in a conference chat (such as some players not seeing the text entries of other players) and have moved recently to Chatzy but we don't want to pay for a premium room that would store our conversations better, but we do want a log of the games for future reference (especially helpful to me running the game so I can see what BS I came up with last game, I have to make up crap on the fly all the time because my players are insane, as most RPG players are.)
Maps on the fly.. can be done, you just have to stock up on image resources from the net to use in your maps. However, maps can be made far prettier if you make them in advance, especially out of "stamps" (premade objects from .png files). Check out the video tutorials (do note though that they may not contain the latest features!!!).
Download: well... no matter what you are downloading the Maptool code, it's just a matter of control over where it is going to be stored on "your" machine. I prefer the download so I can make subfolders for each build I download and then can choose which version to use as I build my campaign, but that's just me...
Welcome to the Guild!