Sony Online Entertainment has said it wants newcomers to stand a chance against veterans in its MMO The Agency.
Speaking exclusively to Eurogamer MMO, lead designer and writer Matt Staroscik said the game was a shooter first and foremost, so would use skill to level the playing field rather than time invested.
"Less experienced characters will be at a disadvantage, yes, but we are not like a traditional class-based MMO where your 89th-level Dark Paladruid can defeat an infinite number of noobs," Staroscik told us. "In The Agency, the noobs are going to get you - but you'll make them pay dearly."
The Agency is in development for PC and PS3 and is based on a secret agent theme. You will choose to play as either the UNITE spies or ParaGON mercenaries and tackle your missions using guile or gunpower.
Eventually you and your friends will be able to set up your own agencies and collect "living loot" in the form of operatives. This, Staroscik believes, will add the game a unique twist.
"The operatives system is a grand multiplayer game of resource management and risk vs. reward - with hundreds of cool, collectible characters," he added.
"You'll send them out on assignments to gather intel, make them build things for you, and even have them help you in combat. As they work, they'll gain experience and new abilities. They'll also suffer health and morale hits, which you'll need to manage."
The Agency is yet to be given a release date, but should be in shape for a beta test later this year.
Look out for our full interview with Matt Staroscik on Eurogamer MMO later today.