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It's the little details that make the game what it is. You play and you get rewarded.
Sounds like making it free would help, but if you had everything unlocked from the start you lose a lot of players that felt good when they bought something new.
I got my runes the hard way. And I would not at all feel bad if runes were made free at this point, even after I'd put my effort into getting them. I had fun playing the game during that time; I wasn't playing it for the IP, or the runes, I was playing it for the game.
Riot has decided that all it takes to get used to the game (enough to play Ranked outside a 5-man premade) is getting to level 30. I would much prefer to see new people at level 30 with a full rune page, so they'll know that any performance problems are genuinely things they can improve on by practice, rather than feeling lost and confused as to whether their problems are due to lacking runes or due to lacking skill (I ran into a similar issue myself around level 20).
So I, at least, wouldn't be going anywhere. In fact, I'd be glad; maybe the Ranked talent pool would be improved a bit, if we could remove one source of new player failure (not being able to compete due to not having adequate runes).