Player Character Edit
1. ALWAYS put your best stuff on yourself. This lets all of your sworn swords benefit from it.
2. Assign your talent points right away.
Sworn Swords Edit
1. Buy the most expensive ones you can afford. I can't put my finger on it, but the more expensive ones always seem to perform better, even when the visible stats are otherwise equal.
MAJOR EDIT Edit
2. So far, I have found 0 value in the sub skills like Harass, Swindle, etc. As nearly as I am able to tell, the only "points" that seem to count during the quests & adventures are the ones assigned to the general skills of Battle, Trade, or Intrigue. AvA or PvP may not be the same.
After reading JaySun's comments on this, I did a bit more digging and yes, peeps, make a note on your Newtons, I wasn't entirely correct. After ending up with some SS that I had to sell back to the store (they pout a lot when you do that) and others that didn't survive (RIP Edda, Gelmar, and Bryce) here's what I have learned so far...
2 - UPDATED INFO: Once your SS has picked up 10 ranks or 20 points in what ever major skill (Battle, Trade, or Intrigue), start alternating between the major & minor skill. Since none of this latest batch are currently past rank 20, I'm not entirely sure how it is going to play out as they continue to grow, but this certainly bears experimenting with. However, they are MUCH stronger than any of my attempts during my previous incarnations. They can complete most of the Level 1 Adventures sans major injury. They seem to be leveling effortlessly.
3. Stop every so often and unequip all of them. See who has the most battle points and give them the best sword, breastplate, and battle companion. The do the one with the second most points. Do the same for your traders and your whisperers too.