People are assuming right now that skill points earned are related to damage done. Hence, better gear = more damage = more skill. It's not a horrid theory, but like so many other things that tend to get stated as fact early on in any new MMO, it needs more thorough vetting before it can really be taken seriously.
It was sort of like me yesterday running around Skull Valley fighting puk hatchlings and dodos. I've gotten into the habit of rotating around them 90 degrees after almost every action to get a head start on avoiding rancid belch/backflip and I had a string of shield skillups. Not "kind of more than normal". It was more in the magnitude of "every hit I've blocked while moving". This went on throughout several fights and it just seemed like I would get shield skill points any time I took a hit while I was rotating clockwise around a mob. I had fights where I pulled down 200-250 shield points. It was crazy.
Then I remember the goblin shoulder tackle from FFXI and how, for a time after NA release, common wisdom held that if you ran your character into a goblin's right shoulder when it started a bomb toss, it would cause it to fumble. So convinced were people that this was true that any time someone tried and it didn't work, they assumed that they had done it wrong. After more testing of my shield theory, I became convinced that what I had seen previously was not more than a string of good luck.
Point being, people make a lot of assumptions based on superficial testing and then hold their conclusions up as fact when the reality often ends up turning out very different. Fact of the matter is, mobs are only in the "sweet spot" for skillups for a couple of ranks. After that, the frequency and size of skillups will start to diminish. If you've been grinding the same mobs (solo or in groups) for 4-5 levels, you ought not be surprised that things have seemed to slow down.
Edited, Oct 10th 2010 1:31am by Aurelius