Well, how I see Tribes Universe playing out is that your progress would be accumulative from the day you start the game until you stop playing. For example, when you first start the game you would work your way up through levels that then allow you to take advantage of higher end stuff. So you might be an infantry with a booster, but not a full on jet pack. Now of course your clan could provide you with higher end stuff, but there would be levels associated with those items, and so for example, someone starting out wouldn't get to use the equivalent of a lights T2 armor/Jet pack/Weapons.
This would all come into play for random skirmishes (pubbing) that would happen as clans bump into each other in this world.
There would be a matrix of sorts, that would be used for tournaments. This would operate much like Tribes as we know it. Each team would wager supplies/money on the outcome of the match. Also this would be a fast way of leveling up your character.
Outside of this tournament matrix, you would have the real game world, where if your armor is destroyed, its permanently gone, at least until repaired, or replaced. Clans would have basis where they would keep their goods. Lower level clans would be in protected cities, but higher level clans would have these basis that solely rely upon their own defense mechanisms, ranging from turrets, to force fields, to bots.
Anyway, that gives you an idea where I'm going with that thought pattern.