Simplifications and consequences

Even in 4th edition, I can not think of one person in games I have taken part of or characters I have seen the writeup of (used in actual play, rather than just built) who has kept their Parma at 1. The normal range I have seen is 4~5 overall and higher for those who engage in magical fighting (they are also more likely to have things like Puissant and Affinity).

My current Magus has an 8, which brakes down to less than 1.7 XP per year of play. The Flambeau has 10, though he also has Affinity. Granted the Magi in my game are pretty high powered since it is a long running game with fast time.

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I have had plenty of characters whose parma stayed at one while they spent years in the lab, then they went on an adventure and suddenly started trying to get their parma up...