I am not going to defend EA. They completely f-ed up. They made an internet-enabled (er.. required) game without establishing a basic competence or understanding of that medium. Predictably, as soon as their servers saw significant loads the game stopped working and EA/Maxis was caught with their pants down.
It's not, as many have surmised, an issue of not having enough "servers" to handle the load (Simcity is hosted on AWS -- so scaling is a matter of clicking the mouse). The problem is clearly something in their server code, something not revealed (or not addressed) by their flawed beta tests. It's a shame that their network architecture didn't receive the same attention to detail as went into the city simulator.
I do believe EA is frantically working at this. They are getting hammered in the press (check out the reviews on Amazon) and that's real money so they need this fixed as much as we want it fixed. But IMHO, their issues involve huge rewrites of crucial sections of code. Yeah, they're burning the midnight oil now (and possibly making things worse), but fixing this stuff takes time.
They'll likely get it sorted in the next two weeks or so.
However, I have managed, by the grace of the gods of the internet (and European West 2), to spend ~10 hours playing the game and I have two things to say:
1. The execution of the basic Simcity game (once you get on) is utterly flawless. The game is fun, it's beautiful, it has a great learning curve, and provides a bevy of options and challenges and incredibly open-ended and rewarding game-play.
2. The incorporation of the region view is really slick and is a killer feature. Sharing a region with friends, getting to look at their city as it hums along, coordinating your strategies and watching the cities grow is (so far) really really cool. That wouldn't really be possible without the constant-connection requirement.
None of this excuses the disaster that is the Simcity 2013 release. If you, like me, can no longer even log in, it's egregiously bad. It's appalling. And it makes the problems with WoM here at Stardock seem quite insignificant by contrast. Sure simcity, the game, is a hell of lot more polished and fun than WoM was, but at least we could play WoM.
Should there be an offline mode for Simcity 2013? Yes. Just like there should be multiplayer for FE. I doubt we'll ever see either.