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I have noticed that there is an armor progression for each of

Kormac (Templar),

Kormac

Lyndon (Scoundrel)

Lyndon

and Eirena (Enchantress).

Eirena

What triggers the progression? Is it purely a visual effect or does it have some purpose beyond eye candy?

All images taken from http://diablo.wikia.com/wiki/Diablo_Wiki

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Can you elaborate, please? I don't understand what you mean. –  Frank May 23 '12 at 16:56
    
As the follower levels their armor changes in appearance and I'd suspect quality. I can't provide proof at the moment but I suspect it's level-based (every 10 levels maybe?) –  Chris May 23 '12 at 16:58
    
It most likely scales with the way the Armor Tiers scale in appearance. –  Emerica. May 23 '12 at 17:09
    
Ok, that makes sense. Difficulty level, maybe? Testing required! –  Frank May 23 '12 at 17:18
    
Do you know if their entire appearance is overhauled at once, or if they gain new pieces of gear gradually? –  Rachel May 23 '12 at 17:40
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5 Answers

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It triggers based on difficulty level. Inferno is same as Hell, so you get the last follower tier when you reach hell difficulty.

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I've been wondering this myself as I noticed the change shortly after a level up, all my followers changed appearance when they hit level 28. At least they did for me.

As for any effect on combat I haven't noticed any, they seem to deal and receive the same amounts of damage as before.

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I'd say this one is more accurate, as my Templar was at the highest tier at level 48. –  SaintWacko May 24 '12 at 4:37
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The follower armor appearance changes based on level. The first change happens at level 30 (I think, might be 20) and the second change happens at level 50.

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Where did you find this information? –  Frank May 23 '12 at 17:35
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My followers reached level 48 and that marked the 2nd appearance progression the first was at 28, also what another poster stated above me

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There armor groes by the strength of the items u give them. I tried it at my scoundrel and enchantress who both had their standard items. I gave them amulet, 2 rings, new wep eand a follower special and their armor has grown. It doesnt grow by level, i tested it, test it by urself if u dont believe

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Btw i am in nightmare with my demon hunter and their armor was just the way u get them as follower! –  TabThaOwn Aug 15 '13 at 23:08
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Do not attempt to vandalise other answers. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 15 '13 at 23:39
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