I can't even play softcore anymore. I mean, pretty much any five year old can get to P100 softcore. Hardcore just seems to require more skill to play.
Last week I lost my highest 60 yet(p16) to a DC(though I didn't have a shield on). I think that makes 4 60's, 1 DC, 1 trying a higher MP, and two to waller/arcane.
Now I'm doing an MP10 self found monk. That is maybe a little more masochistic than most would like I think though.
The items on the AH are lower in price because:
there is significantly less money in circulation in hardcore
you are going to lose your char at some point, so is that item really worth 90% of your savings?
The gems are more because:
lol, do you know how many flawless squares it takes to replace all those gems I've lost?