"Everybody was coming out with their ultimate online clones."
Think he meant Ultima? That's one of those things I can't really be sure about, cause a lot of games out there have very, very little to do with Ultima. But the sentence doesn't really make sense as is.
"What people didn’t realize was that if you’re hard core enough to pay a subscription for a game you’re not going to do it with 2 games or 3 games or 8 games. You’re really only going play one game a year. What we saw was it was kind of stifling people’s ability to –to give them the freedom to go try a bunch of different games like you would normally do."
He's certainly right about that.
"That keeps people coming in the game generationally [SIC] because there’s not this huge barrier entering."
rofl at the [SIC]
"Factions, which is releasing in the next day or two"
... oh yeah! I forgot entirely about that. I should go buy it.
That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell. -Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
As it says at the top of the article the article was transcribed so yeah I think he probably said "Ultima Online". He said he left in 2000 which was when EQ was still the new kid on the block so it would make sense to refer to games like EQ and AC as "UO clones" in the general sense (i.e. in the sense a lay person would understand) since UO came before them.
Interesting he mentions the Z-axis blunder, it really has a negative impact on level design. I assume it done to save server load. I'd like to see them fix it, but I think that would force them to redo almost every map in the game. That chore isn't something they looking forward to doing.
I believe he mentions possibly fixing the lack of z-axis in a future chapter. I don't think they plan on doing more than basic maintenance to any release once they've got it out and the major bugs whacked.