Id's lead design chap, Tim Willits, has been talking to Eurogamer about the "always on" thing. He said this: "Diablo 3 will make everyone else accept the fact you have to be connected. If you have a juggernaut, you can make change. I'm all for that. If we could force people to always be connected when you play the game, and then have that be acceptable, awesome. In the end, it's better for everybody." Everybody except those people who aren't online for whatever reason.
"Imagine picking up a game and it's automatically updated. Or there's something new you didn't know about, and you didn't have to click away. It's all automatically there. But it does take juggernauts like [Diablo 3] to make change. I'm a big proponent of always connected. I'm always connected. Our fans are always connected."
Except when they're not, eh? I think he's right about Diablo III being unstoppable, but it's not going to make it any less annoying or intrusive. Also, I totally love it when an app or game I click on tells me to hang on for a moment, because it has to update before I can use it. That's super, really. Great stuff.