In most MMOs, we're used to our time investment leading to a character that is overwhelmingly powerful, compared to a player that is fresh out of the gates. For example, a level 30 is going to thrash a level 10 in World of Warcraft or Warhammer Online, barring gross incompetence from the higher level. However, The Agency's developers are making sure that a ranked-up character isn't guaranteed to beat down a rookie in PvP combat, as SOE Seattle game designer and writer Matt Staroscik detailed in a recent interview.
This doesn't mean that there's no point to leveling up a toon -- Staroscik reminded us that players will gain new skills and weapon techniques as they play, and the ability to equip different gear. These perks will make an experienced player a tad more deadly, but a newcomer that takes quickly to the shooter gameplay should be able to hold their own. It sounds quite similar to Call of Duty 4's multiplayer advancement.
Staroscik also mentioned the "alias" outfits that we've heard about in the past. The system sounds like it could provide a nice change from being a heavily-armed bad-ass, provided that there's some variety to the missions that come up.