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Simply put, I don't see any way to gauge how much health a follower has so I know when to heal them. In Oblivion, a health bar showed up when you placed the crosshair on either an enemy or an ally, why would they leave this out?

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Step 1. Shoot follower with arrow Step 2. Look at enemy health bar... You now know your followers Health Level! –  Outlaw Lemur Apr 21 '12 at 18:50
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Their health bar will show up only when you are in combat. Specifically, you and your follower need at least to hit an enemy or receive some damage for it to work.

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Thanks for the answer, I guess I have just been too busy during battles to notice. –  Finzz Nov 15 '11 at 22:51
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Seems like this only works in combat. (or maybe only when they are damaged?)

I have seen the health bar when I put my cursor over them, but it only works when we're in the middle of a fight. Not sure if it is triggered by the combat, or by the fact that they have less than full health.

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I can't seem to figure this out either, I'm assuming they are still missing health after the fight and the game doesn't automatically heal them. So I'm thinking it only shows during battle. –  Finzz Nov 15 '11 at 22:50
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Given the usual caveats regarding using computing systems and variances of results...

In my experience so far, from release through the 1.2.12.0 update, I have not noticed any consistent pattern at all (sometimes it appears but normally does not). This includes:

  • the bar appearing when in combat or not
  • when their health is not 100% or not
  • when they were recently damaged or not
  • whether the player's char is in combat or not (I thought for a while I saw a pattern here... sadly it was not repeatable)
  • when I am healing them, buffing, etc... or not, lol

Note: My rig is fairly high end and the settings are almost all set at the highest levels. As mentioned above, this has not changed at anytime though the different versions from final release which also includes before and after the "evisceration of larger address space, including use of more than 2 gigs of memory" as well as using the 4gb launcher.

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Their health bar shows up when they're damaged. My follower (Lydia) seems to regain her health really quickly so you won't notice it unless they're really hurt.

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