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I know EA has come out and said that Simcity will have features that ultimately requiring that you must have an internet connection all the time while playing.

I know the game is less than a few days away, but is there a secret setting that would allow you to play offline with limited features?

I really want to get it, but this is a really holding me back from buying it.

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It's better to ask beyond yes/no questions - if the answer is yes, the obvious next question would be "how?", so better ask "How can you play SimCity offline?", even though the answer seems to be "You can't"... –  Zommuter Mar 7 '13 at 15:59
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You will need an Origin account and be online in order to start the game. Once playing, you will be able to disconnect from the internet and continue playing in offline mode.

Source

Edit:

Unfortunately, you won't be able to play for long periods of time in this way. This Digital Trends Article says:

Maxis responded that players who lose their connection mid-game will be allowed “to play for as long as we can preserve your game state” a period that will “likely be minutes.”

So it appears that the answer is no, any offline play would only be possible to preserve your game during a temporary disconnect.

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That article only says you won't be kicked out if your connection is interrupted. From what I can tell, the connection to the server is asynchronous, meaning you won't get kicked out if you lose your connection for a few minutes, but more than that and you will not be able to continue playing. –  Kareen Mar 6 '13 at 18:21
    
@Kareen Hmm... I'll have to remember where I read that it kicks you into offline mode, and you don't need a persistent connection. –  Coronus Mar 6 '13 at 18:31
    
Yes, they keep your cities on their servers with minimal save game on the local machine that keeps recording latest state (sort of like CCTV footage). It is done not only for DRM purposes, but also to facilitate multiplayer, and server-wide economy. –  theUg Mar 6 '13 at 19:03
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I wouldn't really say this is an offline mode like what's being asked. It's sort of like D3 but instead of being kicked instantly, it allows you a very small amount of time to reconnect first. –  Katustrawfic Mar 6 '13 at 21:19
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@DomenikVanBuskirk our EA overlords are truly gracious. –  kotekzot Mar 7 '13 at 16:03
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Yes, now you can!


SimCity Finally Gets Offline, Single-Player Mode

It took Electronic Arts and Maxis over a year to make it so, but starting now, you finally no longer need an Internet connection to play SimCity.

Source

SimCity Offline Play Now Available for PC and Mac, New Details Inside

Single-Player Mode for SimCity that enables Offline Play. Starting today Offline Play is available for all PC and Mac SimCity players worldwide.

Players who choose to play Single-Player Mode will not have access to Online-only features such as Multiplayer, SimCity World, Leaderboards, Achievements, dynamic pricing of resources in the Global Market and Cloud Saves. I also want to point out that saved Regions cannot be transferred between Modes. This means that if you play a Region in Single-Player Mode, you will not be able to play it in Multiplayer. We want to keep the competitive aspects of the Online game intact.

Source

Play SimCity Offline! Gameplay Tutorial


PS: As Coronus said in his answer. About you playing an online game and going offline (usually by internet issues)

Unfortunately, you won't be able to play for long periods of time in this way. This Digital Trends Article says:

"Maxis responded that players who lose their connection mid-game will be allowed “to play for as long as we can preserve your game state” a period that will “likely be minutes."

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