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Flail snails guys. It's the best way.
Seriously though it depends on the campaign, because different campaigns have different needs. I call it the Marvel vs DC game building. Although the reference is slightly dated, since they've become so similar.
In a "Marvel" style game the characters are interesting, and the world exists to showcase what's interesting about those characters. It's a "characters first, setting second" style of world. So with a Marvel style game the player characters will in some senses dictate the setting. If your group is a Human Fighter, Android Nanite Sorcerer, Elf Witch and Catfolk Alchemist then you are going to have a point of view character, some sci-fi elements, deal with a dark patron's demands and maybe meet the Catfolk race. The characters have dictated the story to tell (Guardians of the Galaxy is a good example of this).
In a "DC" universe, the setting is interesting and the characters are meant to be representative elements of that setting. Most APs run more smoothly if the advice in the player's guide is followed, characters feel more integrated into the setting, the players get to interact with the cool stuff in the setting with minimum dissonance. If you're playing Mummy's Mask you'll come up with appropriate treasure hunters and Egypt themed characters and have a grand time. Show up with a Nanite powered Android sorcerer and you're just begging to have your backstory ignored.
There is no one true way, as a GM sometimes I'm one way, sometimes I'm the other (often I'm a mix of both). As a player I try to follow the GM's advice, but in general am more satisfied with a character that integrates with the setting.