The Agency Q&A with Lead Designer Hal Milton, we learn a bit more about operatives and how they will work. If you missed the first part of this Q&A from last month, you can find it here. Also be sure to read all of our continuing coverage of SOE's upcoming spy MMO.
The Agency's operatives seem to be the largest RTS or micromanagement angle of the game. You can collect them, upgrade/level them and send them out to do their own specialized dirty work for you. This includes everything from stealthy assassinations to investigative reporting to filing paperwork. There will also be an item-based aspect of the operatives where you can gain the rarer ones after especially extensive quests. Hal even touches on the possibilities with operative-based PvP, which could essentially be very comparable to Guild Wars' Hero Battles.