I find myself spending all of my money on jewelcrafting / blacksmithing upgrades and crafting gems. Not sure how you guys are making hundreds of thousands of gold. I've only sold a few yellows and a legendary on the AH so far.
Hell is hard for a monk, getting stepped on like an autumn leaf. I still haven't found a build that I'm in love with.
Any difficulty is tough for all classes unless you're geared right. Monk is a pretty strong class from what I've seen and read. Keep working on upgrading what you have and it'll get more manageable.
Gold is king so far for sure. I break and open everything that's available on screen. No stone gets left unturned when I'm in a game. Rize and Ashane are the same way. Gold has a lot of value (for now), so I don't mind taking the little bit of time to make sure I get every gold drop available when we're running through an act. Not sure how good leveling the artisans are just yet. It seems like more people are getting into it now, but I know it's real expensive and you may be better off upgrading your gear through the AH before the RMAH goes live.
Speaking of, I definitely agree with what you posted Rize. I'm still of the thought that speculation is useless for now though. We really won't know how the RMAH affects anything until it's up and running for a while. On top of that, they are supposedly addressing drop rates in the same patch as the RMAH. I will say that since we hit 60, valor has made a HUGE difference in my drops. I need to search for mf tables and see how it compares to the D2 numbers. I wouldn't mind knowing what breakpoints we should be looking at, and at what point we start getting diminishing returns on a stat like that. I'm around 180 with 5 charges of valor right now, but it seems like 250ish is the number I keep seeing in forums around the interwebs (a similar number to the target mf for D2).
Of course, this is all tied together. One of the problems I think we'll see with the RMAH is how ambiguous item values are right now. I've seen several posts discussing cookie cutter builds and how runewords ruined customization in D2. That every elite character had mostly the same gear. Of course they did, isn't that what we want when evaluating empirical data? D2 was a game of numbers. Formulas and probability ruled. We inherently gravitate to what is considered the best because we can objectively see that one piece of gear is better than another. The variable stats on uniques vs. affixes and prefixes of rares/blues was perfect and helped set the market for trading. Now we have a legendary that is the same in name, but literally may have 4 completely different base mods. It's kind of stupid honestly, and really jacks the market up. Not only do we need the actual item to drop (which is a miracle in itself), the mods have to be the RIGHT mods, AND those mods have to be excellent relative to the min and max for that item. It's pretty unrealistic. Meanwhile, retards selling stuff on the GAH are unbelievable with their pricing. I don't expect everyone to have a degree in economics, but have you seen the price tag on even some of the more average high level stuff? The disparity between items of similar stature is amazing. In the end, I think all the tinkering that Blizzard is doing will lead to less transactions on the RMAH because prices are not going to be well thought out at all. I absolutely agree with you man, if they just focused on making the game fun, the RMAH would take care of itself.
All this said, I did want to make a point that I've been meaning to mention. I do enjoy the AH. For anyone that hasn't used a third party trade forum, or didn't play D2 long enough to dig deep into trades and gear hunting, trading on bnet was a nightmare in D2. Something like the AH has streamlined 'trading' and I think that's a good thing. If they can balance drops out vs being too driven by the RMAH then I think this will be a success. I will say that I too will not be afraid to quit playing this game though if it moves into territory I'm not happy with. Here's hoping they get some of these issues fixed.