-For my abilities it looks like the circular aoe's are good and the forward slashes are pretty bad (still need piercing wave though). Not sure how correct this is
Yep, aoes like Earthquake blade / Inferno Blade / Lightning strike will help you to lv up faster, our server has a higher XP / TM base, so grind is a good way to lv up. Sonic Slash or Tempest strick are awesome skills to get in the future, but it's not so good to lv up. NOTE: All these skills can be stronger with attr %.
-Should i just be using the set weapons and compounding them with attribute % so i can level faster? Or is there a better use for my attribute stones (30-40%)?
Since you're a buffalo, it's always a good choice to get some attr % so you can get higher hits even in basic attacks.
-Do i just ditch all quests and afk in CT forever once i can 1 shot for best xp?
I dont know why you would "afk" in CT. Quest is really nice either, but some players just prefer to lv up doing grind (killing monsters) and CT is an awesome map to do that. It's kinda of a personal thing. I really like to do Quests, but after a lv I love to do grind too.
-I tried to find the smelting thing on the forums and trickster webpage but i couldn't find it.
It's in Auction House, just under the "pet compound" and "temper" but if you click there and the page still empty, it's 'cause you don't have anything "necessary" to smelt. We can't slelt ALL items, some are impossible.
-Looks like the good attribute 2nd job skills are inferno blade and earthquake blade and the rest look pretty meh, is that correct.
No, it's not. I'm buffalo too, I have both, gladiator and mercenary, for both I always use the same combination:
To grind = Earthquake blade (earth) + Lightning strike (eletric)
To pvp = Sonic Slash (water) or Tempest strick (air)
Well, welcome back to our server. I hope you enjoy your time here with us.