I have ridden manitou for a couple years now, and the one thing I have continualy been impressed with is the dampening. At least for dh racing. I have ridden the 888 and travis on dh courses this year and although the 888 feels decent, I was really impressed with the travis. It had all the small bump absorbtion of the tpc+ but the bottom out feeling of spv. I was actually amazed at the job manitou had done, especially with the quality control issues they had last year. That being said I have never had an issue with Manitou as far as warranty either. It always seems like I am trying to jump through hoops with Marzocchi. That is just my experience, I'm sure others feel differently as far as the customer service goes.
the 06 888 will have some added adjustabilities that should put it back toe to toe with the likes of the 40rc2, except it will still have the weight handicap. However if you like to freeride or sit around in between runs you might want to ride zokes cause all of the manitou experience I've had says they require a bit more maintanence.
well i really like my manitou fork. no one can really say much about the travis. its has only been ridden by a few and most of the people that really have time on it are manitou sponsored and are most likely biased towards it. but as far as my past experiences with manitou i would suggest gettign a fork from them. they feel nice and aren't too heavy and they work well.