I guess other MMO were starting to feel the same. UO was certainly a unique game. It still is even now. Housing without zoning, free PvP, nice backlore with Lord British and all.
Everquest was the hot 3D stuff back then but I didn’t quite like it. I was an enchanter, so shit load of people were asking for “clarity” spell which was MP regen.
My reason for disliking chat is it’s hard to control / hide emotions. You usually have this one guy who don’t like in a party. With text, you can control the mood. With chat, once things start to misfire, you end up swearing and thus verbally fight.
I didn’t mention it but I also play Eve online for 12 years from its Beta stage.