Tier 1 relic packs (settings gems and runes) are virtually free at the Skirm Camp. You can buy a pack of 5 for less than ten marks. Hence, everyone has access to them.

At the present time, the strength of T1 settings relative to T8 relics is about 45%. Hence, T1 relics are quite powerful when slotted in comparison to not slotting any relics. This was no always the case. When LIs were first added to the game, T1 relics just raised two stats by 10, which was less than 5% of the strength of the then best relics (T6). But they changed that almost three years ago.

Therefore, there is no reason, ever, to go into battle without relics slotted in your LIs. Now, I understand some people are trying to save up there relics, so they can combine into a higher level relic. That is a very good reason to no slot a T3 or a T4 or even a T7 relic. It is not a reason to not slot a T1 relic, since T1s are essentially free.

If you are trying to get into a group instance with a group outside your Kin, you may well be inspected. If you don't have relics slotted in the LIs that you have equipped, others may not want to group with you (because you are underpowered, and separately because your lack of taking this basic action indicates that you either do no value other people's time, or that you are very uninformed about the mechanics of game combat). This is not the same thing as being excluded for not having level 16 virtues (a practice which is not justified), because level 16 virtues are not free. T1 relics are.

Therefore, whether you are grouping in Kin or in Pug, please be considerate of your fellows. Do not go into battle without relics slotted in your LIs.