To give you a bit of a perspective what is happening right now with the plugins, and to show you what situation I am in right now:
There is a recommended and stable build of the Carftbukkit, version 440, which seems to work quite well with everything.
The world-edit plugin is still in Beta-mode (v.8). It is mostly only updated on the weekends. The current version seems to work however. This plugin is required for the World-guard plugin
The WorldGuard plugin is in alpha. they only patched it up to work with minecraft 1.3. There are some great functions coming, some by my request, but the dev speed is not encouraging right now. They are finishing functions on the issue tracker but there is no workd when a new release will be out. I can only hope for this weekend. This new version will make it much easier and faster to reserve lots (and I will be able to charge for them in Unc’s if I want to :-)
Now the trouble. There are currently 3 plugins that manage permissions. The original currrently version 2.1, a replacement that advanced to 2.5, taken over from another guy because it was abandoned and then groupmanager that fakes to be the old one in version 2.0.
The Warpgates plugin was abandoned too (same guy) and replaced with something that is too alpha for me to use. It seems to allow the gates but no edit them in-game. So this is broken right now.
The Chat is messed up too. There is HeroChat that I have been using so far which is requireing the replacement permissions in version 2.4 (2.5 being the current one) and nevertheless throwing errors at me. There is iChat which is supposed to simply handle the prefix/suffix along with the original permissions plugin but also throws an error. Then there is the Chat component of the Esssentials Plugins which required the groupmanager plugin but at least works with it.
However the groupmanager switched to a different file format which is not really manageable for me. The old one was writable with the Horde:YAML component under PHP to give people permissions. So I can switch to the old permissions, loose the chat indicator who is what level and keep my web interface to give people permissions if they apply for a lot. Or I can dump the chat functions and people cannot register online for a lot anymore without me going and editing the file manually.
I have sent several messages to plugin authors to report about the issues and errors. I can only hope that stuff will get fixed. The result however is that I will keep running 1.2 until I have a clearer pictures what is working and what not.