I can't recall a worse product launch. It's the pits. I had an order with G2Play and apparently EA haven't supplied enough english only codes and ended up delaying some of the last preorders 72 hours. I got a refund and bought from a Bricks and Mortar store this time, but some people are saying 3 hours to get online!
Yeah, 'Always-online' DRM basically requires a constant connection to the server in order to play. Your cities are then saved to the server for next time you play.
I'm sure you can see the flaws in this. Currently EA are having extreme issues with server overload meaning some players can't connect at all or are having to wait hours on end in order to finally join.
Those players who are lucky to get on are playing for several hours only for the server to drop out and have to fail to save the city (meaning start again from square 1).
The next step for EA was to try and free up some server resources so they have patched the game and get this... removed some features of the game in order to make it work.
It really is a joke and hopefully like Ubisoft did EA will move away from this stupid always-online DRM.