Content of the article: "How to level up companions – a practical guide"
Disclaimer: this won't get your specialist scout any better at scouting!
It may, however, get them from not levelling at all, to levelling slowly.
TL;DR – The easiest way to level companions is to make them use skills that they don't know how to use. You want to find a low-level companion, with attributes and focus, but not skill in the skills you care about, then equip them with weapons they don't know how to use.
It is all about unrealised potential!
The problem is that all of the potential companions have their primary/specialist skills maxed already wrt. the attribute and focus points associated with them. They also have their focus and attributes assigned to different skill sets. e.g. My "scout" has 8 VIG, 3 CTL and 2 CNG, but 135 in Bow and 70 in scouting.
A focus point increases your learning limit by 30 skill ranks and an attribute gets you 10 in each skill (after the first point) – so another 30.
So my 3 CTL "scout" with 2 focus in Bow means they have a learning limit of 80 – but they already have 135! No chance of advancement there.
On the other hand, all of that VIG, means they have tons of room for advancement in melee skills.
I took that scout, gave them a horse and sword/lance, made them my company surgeon, got them to smith for me, etc. (Of course, it was a sumpter horse to start with, because they couldn't ride at all.)
Once you have levelled them and have focus/attribute points to spend, spend them on skills that will let them level further. When my "scout" reached level 12, I increased END and focused on riding, for 40 more points of potential, rather than putting them into CTL and Bow, leaving them with 120 potential in bow, which is still less than their current skill level.
It also helps to find the lowest-level companions you can, since they are easier to level up and won't have their focus/attributes so incredibly out of whack with their skills. A level 7 companion will get both an attribute point and a focus point at level 8, so this is a good option. A level 16 companion will take 4 long, gruelling levels before they get an attribute point.
Riding and Bow are easy to level. You can shoot far more quickly than you can swing a sword and shooting from horseback gets you XP in both shooting and riding.
If they can already use a bow, but cannot ride, giving them a bow and a horse, lets them level their riding rapidly, because they will hit frequently – although the XP in bow will go to waste, since they will already be at their potential.
Smithing is also an easy way to farm some early XP for most companions. Find some cheap hardwood and get them to refine it to charcoal and smelt the weapons you take from the looters they ride down for you. This can also let you focus on refining the top-end materials for max XP.
You get the idea – it's all about having them practice skills where they still have potential for advancement. So you need to choose them for their potential, not their skill.
I hope this helps someone. If you have more tips, please bring them! 🙂
- Current Maximum Level 1.4.1
- The skill system seems great at first glance but, like Oblivion’s, it forces you to awkwardly metagame just to build a decent character.
- The true power of Smithing on current patch
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