Runes in Rise of Kingdoms are a great way to get boost. There is a rune for almost everything. If you are not using runes before upgrading or going to fight you are missing so much. Runes in your kingdoms map and in KVK map are different
Runes are very important if you are planning to grow faster and get your tier 5 units faster. But you must know how to use them, when, how to find them, etc.
Where to find Runes
All runes will be near holy sites. To get them you must kill guardians that are protecting that holy site. Now there is a different tier of holy sites.
Best runes are in the middle of map near lost temple. But that does not mean that you can not find good runes zone 2. In zone 2 you can also find good runes. The worst runes are in zone 1 ( end of a map )
But my advice is to go and kill guardians in every zone, you will get a nice amount of experience and they have a chance for blueprints. Usually, your kingdom will set time for killing guardians near lost temple so ask them at what time they will kill them.
If you are on an active kingdom most of the guardians will be killed as soon they spawn so you can zoom out and look on the map for a rune that you need. Start looking from the middle of map.
If you are do not have access to that rune just see who owns pass and join that alliance to get that rune.
On the KVK map, you will have no problems in finding rune. Almost all runes are top tier with max boost.
How to use Runes
If guardians are not killed then send commander that you want to upgrade to get that nice experience from guardians.
You must know how, when, and how to use rune. There are so many different types of runes.
You will have runes that will give you a boost in building and research. Get those runes before you start researching. They will work only when you are starting to build or research.
If you are going to get research or building rune you can use option to hold the position of troops after gathering rune. Why? Because after you are done with research or building rune you can get different rune fast.
If you do not need research or building rune you can find action points recovery rune or gathering rune.
If you are going to farm barbarians use experience rune. Especially if you are a new player it will boost your time to upgrade commander.
If you are going to war or kill barbarians get damage or defense rune.
You have also healing rune so if your hospital is full it would be nice to get healing rune to reduce your time to heal troops.
On the KVK map, you will have a lot of runes and some are different from runes on your kingdom map.
My advice is to get action points recovery rune so you can kill more barbarians and get more honor points.