The purchase of runes and rune pages remains a popular point of contention among players. So much so, there is a petition to make runes free. Here is but a small sampling of what players are saying, and why they want rune costs lowered or removed. In sum, runes are necessary to enhance and complete the stats a position, role, champion, and build require. Since every level thirty player uses a full rune page going into a match, every other player must also use a page to keep par. Going without runes is the equivalent of going without masteries: playing naked on a champion’s low base stats versus armed and armoured opponents. Unlike masteries, however, runes are not a free resource for all players, and create inequity between players who can and cannot afford them.
All summoners begin with two free rune pages and zero runes. Players must surrender between 205 and 820 IP per tier three rune, 515 and 2,050 per tier three quintessence, and a whopping 6,300 IP for one rune page (or 2,600 RP for seven). That means, for example, a basic AD or AP rune page, with nine scaling magic resist glyphs, nine flat armour seals, nine AD or AP penetration marks, and three flat AD or AP quintessences costs 10,455 IP — 16,755 with a rune page. Considering that many players think the minimal acceptable number of rune pages a player should own is between three and five, runes are a huge — and necessary — investment.
For players like me who play less frequently, building up that amount of IP takes time. A lot of time. League’s support page outlines how IP gain works. (100 IP for a 37-minute win? I need to win roughly 104 37-minute-long games to afford one rune page, or, put in over 64 hours of play time — and that’s just counting the wins!) When I’ve finally saved a good amount of IP, I have to decide whether I should expand the number of rune builds I can have (rune page), modify or create new builds (runes), or increase my champion pool. Which choice gets my IP? Each has its downfall: I can buy runes, but not have the space to use them; I can buy space, but not have the runes to fill it; or I can buy a champion but not have a good matching rune page. IP does not accumulate quick enough to fill a player’s basic needs.
I propose a few different solutions that could run together with the current rune purchasing system:
- Eliminate or make free tier one and tier two runes (and get rid of that silly rune combiner).
- Every seven champions purchased through IP unlocks one additional rune page.
- Every 25 matchmade wins (50 for ARAMs) unlocks nine tier three runes of your choosing.
- In addition, every 50 matchmade wins (100 for ARAMs) unlocks three tier three quintessences of your choosing.
- A set of the same nine runes can be purchased in bulk for 75% of their total cost.
- A set of the same three quintessences can be purchased in bulk for 75% of their total cost.
- Or, make runes and rune pages free!
Whatever the approach, Riot needs to do something to put all players on equitable ground. It is unacceptable that Riot gives an advantage to those who play League an inordinate amount of hours (or who purchase IP boosts). They already have the advantage of experience — they don’t need more resources as well. Free the runes!