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I'm concerned with the information I've gathered about followers, namely the tidbit about how a follower's stats and level are set to yours when you acquire them. I've heard of console commands that supposedly reset a follower, allowing you to level them up with you as you progress through the game, but I don't play Skyrim on PC.

That being said, I got Lydia when I was level 3-5, I don't remember, and I really like her. I'm not sure why, and it's not important, but I'd like to keep her with this particular character at least, for his entire playthrough. Is there any way playing on Xbox 360 or PS3 to allow her to level with me? I'm aware I can continuously upgrade her gear, but I'm concerned as I reach the end levels that won't be enough to keep her up-to-date with the encounter scale.

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"I really like her." - Sounds like someones in love... –  Coomie Jul 25 '12 at 8:17
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8 Answers 8

up vote 17 down vote accepted
+50

Yes, you may absolutely use a strong and powerful Lydia for the entire game. I'll explain below.

Problem

As mentioned in the other answers here, the game locks followers around the level you are when you acquire them. Because of Lydia's typically early acquisition in the game, she is leveled extremely low and will become useless if nothing is done while you become stronger.

EDIT: As of patch 1.6 this problem has been fixed. However I am not positive if the fix affects current saves, so this solution may still need to be used for your currently under-leveled followers from games started pre-1.6

Solution

The Wabbajack - A staff granted for completing the Daedric Quest: The Mind of Madness

The quest is extremely easy and doable at any level. You must have access to Solitude. I'll let you do your own research on the quest itself. To the point:

  • Important: Release Lydia from your service first.
  • Use the Wabbajack on Lydia until she morphs into a another creature: A goat, bunny, daedra, whatever. It's important that she morphs.
  • Use the Wabbajack again to morph her back. If she returns wearing her default armor, the attempt has been successful and she will be re-leveled to your current level.
  • Re-hire Lydia as your follower.

Why? The act of morphing her to another creature, and then morphing her back resets her stats to your level. Yay.

Notes

  • Defintely quick save or save before attempting to use Wabbajack on Lydia. The wabbajack is random and has many effects including Instant Death.
  • Take any rare items from her before the transformation attempt, as she sometimes loses them on her return to a human state

That's it. I've put in over 200 hours in Skyrim and I've had Lydia the entire time. Currently on Master @ level 55 and Lydia is basically her own demi-god. Have fun.

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@tiddy will this remove all items from her inventory? –  Joe the Person Jul 25 '12 at 19:15
    
Not typically. I've done this probably 15-20 times and she'll lose the occasional sword or shield. Possibly some armor. It's never her entire inventory. Just save and see how it goes. –  tiddy Jul 25 '12 at 19:41
    
I have to try this on Faendal. –  Biff MaGriff Jul 25 '12 at 20:16
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I should note that some followers are actually level capped, regardless of your level when you first acquire them. Lydia and all housecarls I believe cap @ 50, with the mage J'Zargo being the only one that levels to 81. A lot of followers cap @ 30 –  tiddy Jul 25 '12 at 20:39
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While I can't find specific string in patch notes, many users reported and UESP wiki notes that followers level as intended post patch 1.6.

In case you still have problems with old followers or somehow unable to upgrade, you can either regenerate follower with console commands on PC or use wabbajack on other platforms to make follower transform to creature and then back, thus re-rolling their stats (this will be noted by follower reverting to their original gear). Stats will be updated to their current level.

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+1 for up-to-date answer. –  David B Jul 25 '12 at 20:47
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No, followers won't level with you (see this question). This means she will rapidly lose effectiveness at combat. You can still take her with you, but she will be crawling around on the ground most of the time simply due to her low level.

Instead, if you purchased the Whiterun house, you can just leave her there as a "second wife". Just dismiss her and she will wait in your house until you return.

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And amazingly never get in a fight when you drag Aela back. –  Alan B Feb 15 '12 at 16:50
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Technically, saying that followers don't level with you is incorrect. Their level increases, but their stats don't. This is an obvious bug, hopefully Bethesda will fix it in future patches. –  kotekzot Feb 15 '12 at 17:10
    
@Kotekzot can you source that this is a bug? –  Ender Feb 15 '12 at 17:21
    
@Resorath I know I can keep her as a pet (I mean wife!) but I like the idea of her joining me in my adventures. :( –  Ender Feb 15 '12 at 17:22
    
@Ender, no I can't, but it stands to reason that stats would increase along with a character's level, otherwise it's nearly pointless for their level to increase at all. –  kotekzot Feb 15 '12 at 17:31
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It is entirely plausible to use lydia for the entire game. While certain other followers may have better stats a followers true worth is determined by the gear you provide them with and as long as you give her good gear she can be fit for endgame. Since all followers will not die unless you yourself kill them they are all worthwhile. The only exception to this is if you play a mage character, in which case you should avoid melee followers such as lydia unless you make sure to take away her sword so she uses archery. Although that seems counter productive it will prevent you from accidentally killing your own follower when using AOE spells.

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The only way I know of involves using console commands. (See UESP for those commands.) However, depending on your playstyle, you might be able to stick with Lydia anyway. She tends to run into combat and draw attention, so if you're a ranged or melee character you can wail away on enemies while she distracts them. This will obviously be less and less effective at higher levels, as she start dying more quickly. Also, I like to give her any staves I come across, so she may decide to stand behind you firing chain lightning and ice bolts, which I think is pretty fun.

If your character is stealth/melee-oriented, however, keeping Lydia around is probably a bad idea. I have a stealthy archer that does OK with her, but if you're planning to sneak up to enemies to backstab them, leave Lydia at home or tell her to wait a few corridors back.

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I used Lydia for the whole of the main quest. Just upgraded her armor and weapons when I got better stuff. Had no problems. Got bored with her dialog so eventually dismissed her (I was about level 20 at that point).

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Well, since you can play the whole game alone, and it is pretty easy (depending of the character, ofc), having a follower will only help you.

I don't know if having a follower will make all that difference, but, for sure, she will die eventually. Also, there is a chance that she will just "disappear" as it was reported here before.

About the gear scaling with your level or her level, i know nothing about it, but as i said, having a follower, most of the times, will only help you. The amount of help varies, but there is always a help.

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Unless you're playing a stealth character. In that case, most followers are a huge burden. –  kotekzot Feb 15 '12 at 17:11
    
While I do appreciate the attempt, this answer doesnt fit the format of my question. –  Ender Feb 15 '12 at 17:23
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Just enchant her daedric legendary weapons with absorb health and her daedric legendary armor with health regen and fire/frost/shock resistances. And there you have it. An invincible end game Lydia.

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