The skills you choose to specialize in will go up slowly with time. (The free skillgain is ONLY for these skills you have listed in your spec book.) The higher your skill is the slower the skill gain will be. You don't have to exactly do that particular skill to get points up in your specialization. There is no useage based skill gain (except combat). You only get the free skillgain and stats when your character is online. There is no overall skill cap. You can have your three primaries (100) your three secondaries (80) one trade skill (100) and EVERYTHING else can go as high as 60. A skill check will run every 15 minutes.
Stats do not go up according to your skills. They go up at random. The higher the stat is, the slower it will raise. At lower stat levels, you should gain rather quickly. It has nothing to do with what skills you choose. Only time in the game will give you stats. Your stat caps are determined by what skills you choose, and this is shown in your spec book.
You may purchase training, where the skills will raise faster. Give the vendor some gold. A menu will pop up showing the skills you can choose from. Each skill will show the amount of skillgain you would get for the amount of gold you've given him, and how long it will take. The ammount of skill that you will gain is not affected by any skill buff items that you may be wearing. This would also depend on what your current skill is. You can practice as many skills as you like at the same time. If the amount of money you give to a merchant for training will take you to or above your skillcap for that skill, the amount of skill that you will gain will be displayed as '(MAX)'. If you're already training a skill and give more money to a merchant to train, the amount of skill gain displayed the second time in include the amount from the previous practices (Unless its the previously mentioned (MAX). (Example with completely random numbers: You give 5,000 gold to a merchant to train healing, and will gain 5.0 skill for that. Then you give the merchant another 1,000 gold. Previously, it would have said, say, 1.0 skill, which would be for just the 1,000 gold, not taking into account what you're already practicing. It will now say 6.0 skill, the total sum.) You can not train a skill if you have an item equipped that will give you a skill bonus in the skill that you're attempting to train. In addition, after you've paid for training, you won't be able to equip any item will a skillbonus in a skill that you're training. If you give the merchant more money to train that it takes to take you up to the maximum, the merchant will refund the difference (rounded down to the nearest 100th.)
It will cost you 6600 gold to buy a skill up to 60%. Beyond that, it will begin to cost more and more to buy the skill up. The table below shows the costs of skills per 10% starting at 60 skill.
|Skill Level||Per Step||Cumulative from 0 skill|
|0 to 60||6600||6600|
|60 to 70||6600||13200|
|70 to 80||13200||26400|
|80 to 90||26400||52800|
|90 to 100||52800||105600|
Thanks to Antimony and Lara for generating the numbers
It is best to just buy the skills you want (outside of combat skills). Work for gold in whatever way you choose. Smithing, hunting, fishing, tailoring, going on fetch quests, it doesn't matter what you do. Then you drop gold on the appropriate vendor (see Training List by Vendor or Training List by Skill) to get skill gains that you need. No, barding or taming is not a combat skill. These are fencing, mace, archery, sword, tac, and parry. These are the only skills that will go up through use.