I was at all the E3s, too, until a few years ago. Name dropping: feh. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> I've met the people you speak of. To the best of my knowledge, they were just as human as everyone else on this board--though I have my doubts about Garriott. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />
When I was last at Microprose, under their third owner, they had some stuff up on a blackboard clearly showing MULE development. I quizzed 'em on it, and they admitted to working on a successor. But then they were bought out again, and things rapidly went downhill. Too bad. I especially liked the chocolate chip cookies that Sid's mother used to bake.
Darklands *was* buggy, incredibly so--for the time. It went through 8 patches, large and small.
Sacred has gone through 12 patches, 6 of each.
But no one thinks twice about that, anymore. Makes you wonder.