Hex is about 1.25 units of dps, with one-handed weapons at 1 unit and two-handed/dual-wield weapons at 1.5. So you will definitely be giving up a lot of dps (about 1/6th down from a 2h weapon). In my experience with solo hard mode, the main thing is that you have a hood, body and two attack styles, because ranging everything is going to suck bad.
I'm really liking the idea of HHB with Sag coif, body, and chaps now. Desperado + Sniper or Tank, as well as shield abilities and having about equal DPS to other Ranged weapons I think as well as the LP and almost the Def of a Sag shield?
Only considerable now of course since HHB can be effectively hunted for on hard mode floors...
Ah... Good to know about HHB I suppose. Related, but I saw someone with the "of Daemonheim" title today, and asked what binds he used for hard mode. He said SSH, Primal Platebody, 2H, and on- and off-hand Knives. Apparently Knives are better than they should be, but I haven't investigated.
How does hard mode even work? As in, how do you activate it? Someone on the RSOF insinuated that only the party leader needs to have access to hard mode for the entire party to enter it. Being no where close to the Divination level required and with no intention of grinding Div soon, I doubt I'll be finishing Elite in the near future.
Knives are better than the hexhunter bow, and slightly worse than the sagittarian shortbow. Knives also force you to give up either the blood necklace or hood, both of which are far more useful than knives.
You're prompted to select hard mode when you first attempt to start a floor. Only the party leader needs to have access - anyone can do a hard mode floor so long as the party leader has the elite diary done.