Hope is a wonderful DM tool. Keep it alive in your players and you can end up with incredible situations. Let it die off to soon and the epic encounter turns into the frustrating downer ending. It's all about the management. Keep them looking to the dawn, keep them on their toes, and don't drop the castle off the cliff until someone says "at least it can't get any worse".
On a different note, I'm going to be starting a series here on my blog about the 101s of running a tabletop game on the internet. Seems like a silly thing to put on the internet but I don't want to assume everyone out there knows all the ins and outs of RPGs on the internets. Hence my introductory series. That and I want to collate all my thoughts on the subject into one place outside of my brain.
Art from concept art for Epic Mickey,