Okay, few updates and some more info:
At level 100, Skirmishes and Battlegrounds will award Strongboxes as the primary reward mechanic. You'll get some Honor from a win, but the contents of the Strongbox will be what you're really interested in. Those are obviously not available at level 90, which is why PvP gearing feels slow right now.
That said, we agree that 18 Honor is too low as a base value for a Skirmish win. We're going to bump that up to 36. That amount will still increase based on how long a match goes, starting at 45 honor past 1 minute and increasing from there. Again, keep in mind that we want shorter matches to give more Honor per time spent, so that players don't feel obligated to drag out Skirmishes for better rewards.
As to why it's not a higher number ("this gear won't matter in a few weeks"), there's a few key points to keep in mind. First off, there's the relationship between Skirmishes and Battlegrounds. Battlegrounds take longer and often have longer queues, which makes them a much larger personal investment to participate in. We want to make sure that extra personal investment feels worthwhile, so we're tuning Skirmish and Battleground rewards so that you earn slightly more Honor per time spent in a Battleground than you would in a Skirmish. If an average Battleground takes 15 minutes, and an average Skirmish only takes 2 or 3, the Battleground should reward significantly more Honor.
Also, keep in mind that there's no weekly cap on Honor gains. It's okay for a rated Arena match to reward 180 Conquest points, because after you get your 10 wins (or reach your catch-up cap), that's it for the week. You might earn Honor a little slower, but you could earn your entire Honor set in just a few days if you really wanted to.
Finally, we don't want to set unrealistic expectations for Warlords and level 100 PvP. We're okay with letting players gear a little bit faster right now in preparation for Warlords, but we don't want you to feel like you've had the rug pulled out from under you once the expansion launches and you start gearing at level 100. We want Skirmishes and Battlegrounds to feel rewarding in the interim period, but we don't want them to be some kind of loot piñata either.