I also scored an MES 30 Gen 1 for MY birthday last month. So take my comments as a fellow MES newcomer, not a seasoned veteran.
The AMNPS is certainly something I've read about and am interested in. I am going to do as you suggest and give a go with the factory wood chip loader on the MES first, to see if I find it suitable. The idea of the AMNPS for long cooks like pork butt or brisket is appealing.
I don't know about doing the chips the 'hard way' at first. I bought the MES specifically because I don't need to babysit it. I just closed my eyes, visualized "the look" my wife would give me when I disappear every half hour all day long to reload chips. And then asked Santa to bring the AMNPS. I never looked back. Ditto the Maverick 732/733. The remote two-probe thermometer is fantastic. No running out to the smoker to check temps for me! All told, I was $210 out the door for everything, delivered, with 5 lbs of pellets.
No it is not necessary to foil. Many folks swear by naked all the way. It will take a little bit longer.
A little bit longer? Holy wah, my first shoulder stalled forever and I finally foiled it. My next one is an overnight affair. Note my prior comments on the Maverick (on nightstand) and AMNPS (10 hours worry-free smoke). And my $0.02 on foiling shoulders is that it as trades time for bark. Yea, it's faster, but it kills most of that nice bark. Both ways work well. [It is, after all, smoked pork!]. I'm a scientist in my day job, so I like to do experiments. Try two shoulders side by side. Foil one, don't foil one. Take notes. Eat. And remember 'more research is needed.'