1. Yes, RAW mode is better. Even, when the image is being converted to a 16 bit grayscale. It is especially important if the exposure wasn't right on, and in the transitions from one tone to another. This is after doing a lot of printing yesterday, trying to decide which image to select to go larger with. What I've been doing is making tests of an image that I want to go big with by cropping one or two sections to print on letter size paper.
2. I'm almost settled on a workflow and a "look" for the images. I have one "gray" profile for the Photorag and one for the EE Matte. In ImagePrint you can slightly (very subtle) give the print a warmer or colder tone and I like the slightly warmer look better. I think most people will hardly notice it and see it as neutral photo-realistic look - but it is there if you hold two prints side by side.
3. The biggest difference between darkroom and digital printing for me - is that instead of dreading having to go through the whole routine of mixing chemicals, setup, drying et. al. (I know some people love this process) involved with the darkroom, I actually look forward to printing something new on the 2200. I have three new prints that look great on the PhotoRag, but I'm still deciding what size is best for them.
4. One other boon / bane is that the amount of control you have is incredible. If you tend towards the obsessive perfectionist, this can be overwhelming. I've been working on the Marsh print (Turtle Pond in the smoke of canon fire); and there were always a couple of things that annoyed me about the print, such as this small black rock and some dodging / burning things that were beyond me. I thought, since this print has a sort of Japanese watercolor feel to it, it would be perfect for the photorag paper, which it is. But I spent several hours changing tones in some very small portions of the print. The right corner (which I had cropped from the original print because it was problematic - is back in). The little black rock has been moved up a couple of zones. Part of the sky which was a pure white in the original print, has been brought down two zones or so. I think this will be the first one I'll do large. (Originally shot on Plus-X.)