Taxman thanks for the kind words.
The Q boils down to one of comfort and riding goals.
If your goal is to become a highly proficient rider, smooth through extremely rough technical terrain, I would suggest minimizing the amount of suspension you bring to your riding.
The downside to that approach is that it's less comfortable while you are learning how to be smooth.
On the other hand, if all you want is to be comfortable while riding dirt, a full suspension rig is your best bet... IF your terrain is rough enough to warrant it.
Something that most folks don't realize or consider is the effect of larger volume tires with thicker casings. Such tires add effective suspension to your ride and can smooth out quite a lot of trail roughness. But as with all cycling-related things, there's again a downside. These tires are heavier and take more energy to overcome their inertia. They can feel tiring to climb long, steep climbs.
Also, FS designs tend to carry an engineering penalty in the price tag. An affordable/inexpensive FS bike is not going to perform well. You have to pay enough to get a good design before the true benefit of FS makes riding and economic sense.
Those are some basic thoughts on MTBs generally.
As to components, if you ride where it's relatively flat and you don't encounter wet very much, stick with V-brakes. But if you ride lots of hills or through adverse weather or even lots of wet/mud in trail, discs are far superior. The price of a good Avid Mechanical disc brake is comparable to V-Brakes. However, the wheels must have disc brake hubs on them for this "comparable" comment to be true. If you have rim brake hubs you will need to buy new wheels or at least new hubs to build into new wheels.
Suspension forks are getting so darned good at performing even at the less expensive models that I would urge you to get a suspension fork on the front of the bike.
Any specific frame, frame design, or component Qs feel free to ask back here or send me a PM.
also, don't forget about http://www.MTBR.com