I wasn't going to weigh in on this topic because there has been much said already, but if it might be helpful in any way...
What I want are relative benchmarks to guide me in framing a contest. Thus, a detailed colorful description of the NPC's abilities with some sort of relative benchmark would be useful. What I DON'T need are exact ratings. I would be perfectly happy with descriptions like "JarEel is one of the most skilled blade-masters in the Lunar Empire", since I can use that to describe a contest.
In my game I use NPC ability ratings as benchmarks for describing contests, not as the actual resistances. The actual resistance is determined by the needs of the story. For example, if a typical bandersnatch has Rend With Claws 10M, then I know from the sample resistances in the HQ rules that it should be about as hard to beat as a typical professional warrior. Now, I want this encounter to be tough because I need to increase the dramatic tension, but the hero is a clan champion with Spear and Shield 5M2. I therefore assign a resistance of 10M2 and describe the contest accordingly - "This is the largest bandersnatch anyone has ever seen!" or "The bandersnatch has been enraged because it is defending its young!" or "You face three bandersnatches!" (with a collective rating of 10M2).
As for advancement, I cap the maximum PC ability rating and increase it every game year. The rate of advancement is set so that the heroes can be in the JarEel/Harrek range (M4) when the Red Moon comes down if they choose to increase their best ability every year. The players accepted this limit with grace and use the extra points to flesh out their character's other abilities.
Now, this is a house rule so I agree that there is a problem with the published advancement rules. It is a catch-22. If you allow ability ratings to increase in an uncontrolled manner then sample resistances are problematic. If you use sample resistances as benchmarks then the published character advancement rules are problematic. One or the other needs to change. I chose to change the advancement rules because it seems to me that otherwise (no benchmark sample resistances) that PC ability ratings become largely meaningless.
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