The game Silkroad Online has a very uncomplicated way of getting skills. Each skill is part of a skill tree, called a Mastery. Chinese characters have eight masteries, four weapon masteries and four force masteries. You need at least two; one weapon and one force. European characters have only six masteries, one for each class of character and you only need one. You can mix and match these masteries however you choose, taking some skills from each to build your unique set of skills. There are some restrictions to be aware of. Chinese characters have an ultimate cap of 300 mastery levels and European characters can have two mastery levels per character level. So for a Chinese character, any combination of masteries totaling up to 300 will work while a European character has to start with one mastery and build up as they go.
Now for the complicated part: Within those masteries are skills. Each skill costs an increasing amount of skill points. The higher the skill level, the more points it needs. You earn skill points while you train your character by killing monsters and doing quests. Each monster you kill gives you both experience and skill experience based on your level vs. the level of the monster and based on the level of your masteries. 400 skill experience totals up to one skill point, which can be confusing so I'll only refer to Skill Points, or SP, from now on. If you just go out and train your character you will soon be unable to raise your skills and masteries for lack of SP. So what do you do? You farm.
Farming is the unofficial word for the method of gaining more skill points (SP) over experience points (XP). Here is how you do it: The greater the spread between your character's level and the level of their highest mastery the more SP you gain over XP. As a rough example, if you are level 10 with level 10 masteries when you kill a monster you might get 100 XP and 1 SP. If you drop your Mastery to level 1, making a 9 level gap between your character level and your mastery level, you might get 1 XP and 10 SP per kill. That is by no means completely accurate, but that is basically how it works. The larger the gap, the more SP you earn but you also earn less XP. Another tip is, less skills and masteries, less farming. The picture here gives you an idea of how gapping works.
How do you know when to farm? You should do it at regular intervals while you train to make sure you get the skills you want. If you have a Seal of Star or greater weapon, it's a good time to farm because your lowered skills will have some damage loss that the more powerful weapon can make up for. You should also make sure your gear is of good quality with decent stats to protect you. Plan ahead and buy a nice set one piece at a time so that when you are ready to farm, you have all that you need. You can also choose monsters that are easy to farm on because they have a good spawn rate, are intelligence or strength based, you have a repeating quest for or you just like the scenery where they are located. Scenery is important because you may be looking at it for a while.
To begin farming, you just need to make a gap between your character level and your mastery level. You can either stop leveling your masteries and slowly increase your level as the easiest method. You can plan ahead and do the "Cursed Heart Quest" available at any Potions dealer and lower your masteries all at once. It does cost gold and time to do it this way and you lose 20% of your SP as you use the Cursed Hearts to buy back your skills and masteries. Easiest way is to go with the item mall "Skill Potions" and lower them without the 20% loss of SP that the Cursed Heart Quest gives you. While a 9 gap is considered the golden rule, there are other ways to go about it. You can train at a constant three level gap and just gain small amounts at a time. Another way is to let your masteries get to a 5 gap, close them up and update your skills and then let them get behind to a 5 gap again. I call this "Leapfrog Farming". These last two methods are good for maintaining 2 masteries. If you have more than two, you need to do the industrial strength 9 gap method. This gives you fast SP gain but even with a premium ticket, it will take you days to level just once.
Knowing how much to farm involves a lot of guessing, math or using a character builder online. http://nivlam.igamelegit.com has several tools to help you calculate. It pretty much depends on your build and how many masteries you wish to maintain. At high levels, some European characters need to farm 1 million SP to be able to level all their skills just from level 90 to 100. The higher the level, the more SP you need so trying to do all of your farming at low levels isn't that efficient. You just don't earn enough SP. If you have a group to party with regularly on monsters that are about ten levels higher than you, it's a good time to farm. Because of the drop in XP gain, farming is slow and takes a lot of patience. Having a supportive group is probably your most important factor for a European class of character. Chinese characters don't need to party but they do need more patience because solo leveling with a 9 gap can be downright gruesome and it's what separates the hardcore pros from the weekend warriors.
Despite the hardships, farming is rewarding when you are done. You often hear people ask in Silkroad, "Are you FF?". "FF" stands for Full Farmed and it's one of the hallmarks of pro players. The number one excuse for dying in a player vs. player match is under farming so plan ahead and make sure you do your homework. Don't overextend yourself with too many skills or masteries so you find yourself weaker and weaker as you level. It's far better to have less masteries and skills that are farmed fully than to have many skills that are not. Silkroad Online is heavily based in PVP and strong skills are an essential factor in how well you stack up against your opponents. Even in group based PvP like jobbing, wars and Capture The Flag, support and offensive classes need every edge they can get to succeed.