This. It’s all about building your deck. Getting levels allows you only to replace the basic cards in your deck with slightly better ones. Your really good cards come from the equipment you find. Then your deck is refined by powering up equipment and dropping the dead weight cards from your deck. Which you do using the crafting materials you get.
So, I think it’s worthwhile to takes chances and visit as many locations as possible, especially early in a run. Sure you may end your run early but if you get good stuff, it can become far easier to complete.
This is the first time I’ve played this in about a year and they’ve done a great job of fleshing out the game and making it more interesting and challenging. Time just flies by when you’re playing. Great game and I hope they sell enough to keep expanding and supporting it.