A lot of people ask me what the most important piece of advice is.
I say to have fun and not let the game play you.
But, the second most important is hard to explain, and that is the base value of your skill runes.
Look at this example:
The rune on the left is from a dropped lvl 95 weapon.
The rune on the right is from a lvl 95 crafted weapon (post-5 starring).
You'll notice that there is a HUGE difference! Other stuff you do matters a lot, too, but if you don't have "up to date" weapon runes, it's hard to do a lot of damage (or healing), especially in scaled zones like EZ, dungeon, or blighted isles. So, what can you do? every 5 levels, update your runes with runes made by someone who has 5-starred the recipe. (There is even a smaller variation in the rune value even after you've 5-starred, so even better would be to make 10 and pick the largest rune)
What you’re describing is the ‘rune variance’ and it applies to all runes, not just crafted vs dropped.
Each time a weapon is crafted, or a weapon drops, or an elder weapon box is opened the runes are rolled independently of the weapons quality. What I mean by that is that you may find a rune that is the exact same skill, on an item with the exact same level, but the rune on the common quality may actually be much better than the rune on the epic quality weapon.
Here’s another little tidbit... if you’re crafting the weapon, you can save the 3 best runes and gnom them onto the best weapon (presumably a legendary, with the stats you like best, even if the runes aren’t) without costing any sockets to upgrade the runes.
I’m not sure it’s the most important piece of advice, but it definitely leads the list of “things I wish I’d learned a lot earlier”.
Yeah enjoying your build is the most important part, 2 players with the exact same build can still have big performance gap, if one of them is not comfortable/enjoy using it.
More general min maxing tips,
Crafted gear get better active rune as if the weapon 1 level higher starting from 2 stars and increased by 1 level for each star after that, so when possible always go for the 5 star crafted variants
Active rune at the same level from the same source only have 4 variants so if you found 4 different variants you found the best possible rune
Augmentation rune (rune with +symbol), especially the stat increasing one is pretty insignificant so don't bother with it. The feat damage boosting one is decent
for level 95 gear the best possible stat reinforcement rune have 3338 stats
Weapon base damage scale consistently with power rating, increased every 2 power rating on the even number, so for weapon try to have as high as possible power rating.
For stats after reaching 3rd arrow, other then vitality don't increased it further, rather try to balance out your other stats, since after reaching that point the increase in your actual "power" is really low, so it's not worth increasing them further, unless you're sure with what you're doing.