Scott might try to argue that he is speaking in terms of members of the evolutionary tree of the current-gen of MMOs and that WWIIOL isn’t on it.
WWIIOL might not be on the radar much these days, but it’s been here 7 years without having to resort to AOs pay-by-ads, despite a similarly KT post-launch. And its worth noting that WWIIOL is a second generation online 3D MMO for much of the core team – that’s probably why, like AO, it’s still here.
You could argue that hardly anybody has heard of WarBirds but what counts is who has heard of it.
When Richard Garriot wanted to put UO on the nacent Internet he visited the WarBirds team to see how they were doing it. And the initial launch of WarBirds takes us back to where Windows hadn’t yet got its TCP/IP stack and PPP was still little more than a concept – the game was essentially a 3D MMO built ontop of a telnet session.
WarBirds is a good place to look when you’re looking for MMO firsts – email addresses (email@example.com), guilds (aka squads), guild hosting (http://yoursquad.warbirds.org/) – though I get to take some credit there ;)
And former ICI/WarBirds/WWIIOnline people are all over the place – Blizzard, Gearbox, Microsoft Games, EA, LucasArts, SCA, NetDevil, etc…
Only claiming precedent, not derivation ;) As Scott summarizes, Sanya was the first one to do these things in a successful game and in ways that have lead them to become mainstream – and the challenges she faced were on a different order of magnitude than the guys who did them in WarBirds and WWIIOL.