I've been playing tabletop RPGs online since 2006. I have gone through nearly every pay product and user creation that's hit the internet in that time. I would like to think that if there’s anyone that could compare the products available right now, it would be me. That being said, Fantasy Grounds is my client of choice. Let me give you a few reasons…Rules Automation:
In other Virtual Tabletops (hereafter VTTs) when you roll the dice that’s the end of it. You have to go look up the AC of the target, check it vs. the roll, make sure if there is cover, or if the target is prone you add those in to see if you hit. There’s room for error and everyone is waiting on you to give them the result of the roll.
In Fantasy Grounds when you roll to hit, the program tells you immediately. You’re not waiting, there are no math errors, it’s immediate, it’s correct, and you’re on to the next turn. Faster rolls to hit, means more gaming, and more fun.System Libraries:
Again, in other VTTs you’re face down in your books or PDFs looking for what Burning Hands does. Did they save? How much damage does it do? Does your character even have it.
In Fantasy Grounds you know your character has it because it’s right there in the game on your in-game character sheet. You know its range because the in-game library you dragged it from included that information. It also included how much damage it does, what the save DC is, and how many times your character can cast it. In fact, if you include what I said above about Rules Automation, you can just click on it and it casts it on the enemy, tells you if they saved and then you can roll damage with again, just a click. Easy, Fast, and Accurate to the rules you are playing.Professional Developers
Some VTTs are community projects. Amateurs banding together to make a program. The energy is great when it's new and everyone has input and it feels great to be a part of it. But once things are done and it's out, someone needs to do the boring part and support it, answer nagging questions and be the guy that all the newbies turn to. This isn't nearly as fun as making the game, so some groups just don't do it, or turn it over to other users. It's also at this point that all those little bugs those users are telling you about need to be fixed. This is maintenance and its not fun either. People tend to let that go, and just run it with the problems and work around them. Worse yet, many VTTs are based on another platform they don't control, Java, or a web browser means some other software could be causing the problem with your game. Java, and The Browser makers don't care about your game problem, and the VTT makers will just say it's Java's fault... or it's your browsers fault, and shrug when you have a problem.
Fantasy Grounds is a professional team that stands by their product. They have an excellent bug testing procedure and plenty of people willing to run the betas before a patch comes out. The developers are given enough time to test thoroughly and they are good at debugging. Even the other pay to play VTTs have companies that just patch, patch, patch and end up with bug forums filled with customers with problems after every buggy patch. Fantasy Ground's patches are clean and professional. Also, Fantasy Grounds is stand-alone. Everything Fantasy Grounds needs to run is made and maintained by Smiteworks. There is no passing of the buck when you have a problem.My Work is Mine:
When I make map in some VTTs it becomes theirs. I have to keep paying subscription fees to keep that map… I MADE. This is unacceptable. It is my work, I should always have that available. If I make my own adventure. I should always be able to run it for my friends. It’s my creation, you can’t keep it from me just because I didn’t want to pay my subscription, again… (and again, and again)
The art, story text, tokens, and everything else in Fantasy Grounds is YOURS. It’s your creation, it’s your Intellectual Property (I.P.) and every law in most lands respects that. Did you know if you create a story you automatically have it copyrighted? It’s yours it came from your imaginative brain. You own it. Fantasy Grounds respects that, other VTTs don’t and hold your creations ransom for more subscription payments. With Fantasy Grounds you’ll ALWAYS have access to your creations.I Control My Wallet!:
You should decide when you want a new feature, you should decide when you want a new ruleset, or adventure, or art pack, YOU! There should be no subscription. You shouldn't have some company reaching into your wallet every month controlling your finances. You shouldn't have to tell your group that the game is on hold this month because you got a new credit card and there was a problem with moving your subscription over to the new card. Don’t you have enough subscriptions as it is? TV, Internet? Phone? MMOs? Now even single-player computer games are getting in on this? Enough is enough with the subscriptions!
With Fantasy Grounds whatever you buy, you can use in perpetuity. There will be no recurring fees to continue to use what you already paid for. Nobody will be reaching into your wallet deciding when you need to pay them money. That is entirely up to you. For example, if I had bought another web-based VTT that charges subscriptions back when I bought Fantasy Grounds in 2006, I would currently be $960 in the hole with them, and if I ever stopped paying them, all my work would be gone.Conclusion
$40 (on sale now for $30) for a lifetime of gaming fun isn’t such a bad deal after all, is it? Free yourself from fees, pick Fantasy Grounds run the fastest, most professionally made game and say no to VTT companies digging around in your bank account every month.