On September 21st 2010, RuneScape lost one of the six quests that were part of the game when it originally opened up to the public on 4th January 2001. The Romeo & Juliet quest was removed from the game. For years players went through a Cliff's Notes version of the classic Shakespeare play. The quest was notable for its unusually high reward of five quest points, for being written by Rab, who is widely accepted as the first Runescape player, and for being a quest that was almost entirely based on dialogue rather than combat. The quest was removed from the game because the development team felt it "didn't age very well".
I personally have trouble accepting this explanation. When you compare Romeo & Juliet to other quests from the game's opening days, the quest actually stands out positively, mainly for its witty dialogue and the fact that it's an alternative for the whole "go there, kill that" standard of questing. I think the reason the decision was made to remove Romeo & Juliet boils down to the simple fact that by today's standard, the quest went far beyond the line of well-intentioned tribute. It was essentially a blatant rip-off.
However, there is another part of the game, a whole area in fact, that's one big literary reference as well. I'm talking of course about the castle Camelot, which was added to the game complete with Sir Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, Morgan LeFay, the Lady of the Lake and Excalibur. During various stages of the game's development, the entire castle either appeared by magic, or the knights were just on vacation in Runescape. In the current version of events, the castle was given to them by the Sinclair family.
The release of Camelot on February 27th was part of a much more massive update. Runescape was upgraded to P2P, and the world map was given a major expansion to the west. For most players the release of the Hero's Guild and the first pieces of Dragon equipment was far more interesting than the addition of Camelot and Merlin's Crystal. Camelot was given a second major update on July 23rd of that year, with the release of the Holy Grail quest. The area would not receive any significant updates until almost exactly five years later, when the King's Ransom quest was released, along with the unlockable Chivalry and Piety prayers.
To be honest, I have far more fond memories of the Romeo & Juliet quest than of the whole Camelot area. I can understand why Jagex chose to remove one and keep the other. After all, while Romeo & Juliet was just one quest involving a handful of NPCs, the Camelot area plays a role in far more parts of the game than just the Romeo & Juliet quest does. If Camelot were to be replaced like Romeo & Juliet, it would involve the rewriting of at least half a dozen existing quests, plus plenty of treasure trail clues, the Seers' Village achievement diary, the dialogue for dozens of NPCs and plenty of other minor titbits. On top of that, there's also the graphical design that's necessary for such a big part of the game to be replaced. Of course the Romeo & Juliet quest had the added disadvantage that it was far more forgettable. Players generally rushed through the quest to get their 5 quest points, then never noticed Romeo or Juliet anymore. The area of Camelot however becomes interesting at around level 30 and is still important for players as high as level 90, because of the aforementioned unlockable prayers.
Still, I would applaud Jagex if they replaced Camelot the same way they replaced Romeo & Juliet. After all, if you look at it objectively the term 'blatant rip-off' can apply just as easily to the whole Camelot area as it can to the Romeo & Juliet quest. Of course replacing all of Camelot would be a far more massive undertaking than removing a single low level quest, but I still think it could (and should) be done. By modern standards, the Romeo & Juliet quest is definitely a reminder of Runescape's rather humble and unprofessional beginnings, but the same could be said about the Camelot area, especially when it comes to the Merlin's Crystal and Holy Grail quests. I would consider it a major improvement to the game if I logged in one day to find Camelot replaced with a whole new area, designed to the game's current high standards, with matching quests, NPCs, dialogue and graphics.