The Far Journey. Before ever arriving on the Isle of Refuge, you were on a ship called The Far Journey, with a Captain Varlos. This was an introduction of sorts to the very basic mechnics of the game. More than that, it was the set up for how you arrived on the Isle of Refuge, in the first place. Also, Captain Varlos would later take you to the cities of either Qeynos or Freeport. If you were a good-aligned charcter, you went to Qeynos, evil, Freeport, and if you were a neutral race, you could choose which. The voice acting was surprisingly good and, frankly, it was just a fun bit of fluff. It also made a heck of a lot more sense than simply popping up in the middle of nowhere for no rhyme or reason, the way new characters do now. Missed.
The Isle of Refuge. This was the very original starting island, even before it was changed to Queen’s Colony and Isle of the Overlord (which, incidentally, was when Captain Varlos and his Far Journey were replaced by a very boring bell.) The original island had interesting NPCs, a small crafting instance, and some very tough encounters. It encouraged players to socialize and required them to group in order to complete every quest and be eligible to leave the island. It was a different era of gaming and a very different type of gamer, back then, but I think more of us are still around than companies give credit for. Missed.
The racial starting villages. Well, these were removed, and in my opinion, it was for the worse. The reason they were removed was that, because of the removal of the previous 3 items above, there was really no lore or reason to maintain them as they were, and it was deemed that, along with the Islands, they would be removed, so as to force new players to start in one of the other 4 cities, and not in Qeynos or Freeport, at all. The villages still exist, but only as instances, since the cities themselves were revamped. I do enjoy the new quests, but I wish they could have allowed the quest line to work organically with the game — when you complete it, you then again have access to the original villages. All of the NPCs who were in the villages and who gave quests that expanded to the outlying burbs (Graystone Yard connected to Oakmyst, for example) have been displaced into the city proper and most of their original dialog changed or nonsensical as a result. It really just broke up the entire early charm of the game. Missed.
The citizenship quest. Originally, after you left the island, you landed in one of the starting villages, based on your race. You then encountered a number of NPCs who sent you on small chores. In order to progress beyond level 6, however, you had to complete a citizenship quest. This quest granted you official license to reside in Qeynos (or Freeport) and was an interesting bit of character background and lore, besides. It, combined with the Far Journey, the Isle of Refuge, and your class quest, really helped to fully flesh out your sense of character as being a real inhabitant of the city, rather than just another “toon” running around. Missed.
The class quests. When the game launched, you began as one of the four archetypes, then graduated at level 10 to your chosen Class, and then at level 20, your final Subclass. All of this was accompanied by an interesting chain of quests that had their base in your home city, Qeynos or Freeport. Long gone, now. Missed.