I am a long time user of RPTools and have tried many (most) VTTs out there. RPTools is, and continues to be, my “old reliable.” I use it for my convention events as well as my weekly games (even when all the players are local). When I saw this on their site, I thought the title was so appropriate:
“She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid. I’ve made a lot of special modifications myself.”
And that line really sums it up. You’ll hear all about macros and what not… I just don’t use ’em. I find they get in the way of play. I mainly use it as a virtual map, and nothing more, tracking damage/states of tokens manually. When playing online I prefer to have the remote cameras pointed at dice trays rather than the remote players so that we don’t need to use virtual dice and I don’t have to look at their ugly mugs for hours.
Best off, it’s free.
Anyway, the learning curve on it isn’t steep and the program is very reliable. Written in Java, it runs on every platform (although with the security restrictions on some computers you have to set it up properly which can be a little annoying — that’s the platform’s issue, not MapTool’s).
I feel a lot of the other VTTs get overhyped for all of their automated features, especially things like attack and effect resolution. Sure they are cool — when you have the characters/tokens configured properly — but improvising, adapting, or accounting for special circumstances often makes them not work appropriately or accurately. I try to keep as much of the game in my head as possible (which is why I avoid the macros) and MapTools handles that really well.
That said, the macro functionality in MapTool is amazing and many authors have built out killer libraries in support of all of our favorite games: D&D of various versions, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, HERO System (my favorite), and more. If you like automating your VTT, it’s all there.
Personally, I just want to make stuff up and roll dice.
I hope this helps any of you who are looking for a VTT.