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I recently started a new game and am going the route of the mage. Before visiting High Hrothgar I decided I wanted to do the Winterhold questline to get some spells and levels under my belt. The first part of this involved demonstrating a ward spell. I personally found it annoying that when I put up my defense, Lydia drew her weapons while the trainer threw a spell at me. I found this detracted from my experience so I am thinking of telling her to go cool her heels while I do this questline.

*Will I regret not bringing a companion with me on the Winterhold questline (either for inventory space or tough encounters?

*Are there other questlines in the game that having a follower really doesn't make sense?

Maybe I'm way off base here and I've never played far in my previous playthroughs, but I can imagine there are stealth missions where you probably wouldn't want/need a follower. Then again, maybe their awkwardness is just something you've got to put up with.

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Honestly you can do any, all or none with a companion. In my experience, there are no specific questlines that should be done without a follower, but there are obviously some story quests that have to be done without a follower. In those cases a message appears saying "Lydia has headed home", or in some of the Dragon Born quests when you enter an alternate dimension, she stays with your body, while your mind wanders the alternate dimension.

As there is no real flow in the story in Skyrim, (quests can be halted every time you want to go fight a dragon or hunt some bunnies) a follower can be picked up at any point in the game. I personally have played once with Lydia, obtaining her at the expected point if you follow the first quest through from start to finish; once with no follower at all; and once with (the only) Argonian follower which I headed out for as soon as I got out of Helgen.

The only immersion-breaking experiences I have had with followers is, well, really all of them. Their AI is not completely stupid, but it still leaves something to be desired. They get in the way, whip their weapons out in all the wrong places, (sometimes going on rampages when you're on an assassination quest) and get themselves downed just as you loose a spell or arrow in their general direction, effectively forcing you to reload a save just to keep them around. (Huzzah for the Companion's Insight perk!)

That being said, they are excellent packhorses.

So it's really just down to personal opinion. It's nice to have someone who has your back, and likes to chat every now and then, but if you can deal with all the stopping and starting and awkward shifting around in narrow hallways.

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    You should not bring a preferred companion in the quest where you must sacrifice the person.Besides that every thing is opinion.
    – The Man
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 3:41
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You can always set the follower to stand there and wait, when needed. That's what I do when stealth or other factors require to do something. At first I had the follower always, using this trick. Later on, I preferred to go alone, as is more handy to me not to be worrying about follower.

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If you ask me, I am not using any kind of followers, only Cicero sometimes. There is something to notice your followers are like you if you hit someone and he will turn to you hostline follower won't stop until he/she wont kill him.

I really not recommend to use follower on thieves guild and dark brotherhood quest because there you need to sneak and some things like that, your follower can get you caught.

But followers are really useful for companion & college of Winterhold quests because there are too many enemies and also follower won't die if you won't kill him/her.

And also if you had done too many quests for thieves guild do not use follower because on one quest mercer tries to kill you (that is quest part) and follower will attack him and that will make not good since this glitch does not always happen, but it happened to me, so...

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