1- It is versatile and players can tailor gear and item effects to suit their build, style of play, and creativity.
2- Almost every ingredient is completely unbound. This allows players to trade freely with other players and does not require one to run something hundreds of times to be able to craft some desired gear. If I pull a lot of ingredient A but need ingredient B, I can trade or transact with other players to get ingredient B and vice versa.
The old Rube Goldberg epics (all the shard/seal/scroll stuff) have drop rates so low to the point that it just isn't worth the time to worry about them.
Mauls. There are tons of great axes, falchions, two-handed swords, but no really impressive mauls that I can think of.