While I am not on Testlive this time around, I can also confirm that it has been that way since the beginning. Or at least it seems that way.
The general rule of thumb was/is to arm your follower with the general class of weapon that they are spawned into the world with. In other words, if you place a follower and they have a two handed sword, it is always best to stick with a two handed weapon. If they come out of the box with a one handed sword, best to stick with that or something that is one handed. A fighter, you can add a shield if one handed. The following are exceptions that I have found, or we (the people I share a private server with), have found. We might be making ‘urban myths’ about it, but it certainly does seem this way:
-Try to stick with an axe for a Bearer, you can add a shield, but the shield doesn’t always work out for them.They actually do very well with the dual wield axes (one handed axe with a throwing axe in off hand and will use that combo over everything else if in their inventory.
- Always use a one handed sword for an archer as their secondary weapon, never give them a shield. Unless you take their bow away, but they don’t work well as pure fighters anyway.
-A fighter than spawns with a spear seems to do just fine with any two handed weapon, but a fighter that spawns with any other two handed weapon, doesn’t do very well with a spear.
-Dancers stink with anything other than daggers or some two handed bladed weapon, like whirlewind blades. Not double axe wielding.
-Never give a follower an extra weapon in their inventory, unless it is an archer. They will get confused at the most inopportune times.
-If you want a follower to switch to a different class of weapon than they spawned with, arm them with that weapon you want to switch too and then do a server restart. Sometimes it works to make them use that weapon like the one that they came out of the box with.
-Some followers will just not want to use any other weapon, other than the type they came out of the box with. A good example is Dalinisa (or however it is spelled), she is a terror with a one handed sword and no shield, but doesn['t seem to like anything else.
Now, like I said, this is just supposition from hours of gameplay and our own observations. There could be nothing in the code or programming that does this, but it certainly seems to be how followers and weapons work.
lol, maybe, the followers actually have feelings and are picky about their weapons, kind of like a cross between the Matrix and Tron and some other movie.