Will the episodes on the disc require online activation?Well, it's heartening to know that in some cases the consumers are demanding standalone games and the developers & publishers are responding with the a proper alternative.
No, they won't. You'll need your disc in the drive to play, but that's it. See, we do listen to you guys!
DON'T MIND IF I DO! mwwwwwooooo hoooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
As an aside, company of heroes (a very recent THQ game) doesn't check for the cd, which is great since then I can leave my Battlefield 2 disc in.
This is also one of the reasons why I can live with steam. Though I share your concerns about even valve going away...
Did the downloaded versions of the episodes that were GameTap independent require authentication each time you played? I've only played them via GameTap, so I didn't realize there was a reason to worry about authentication issues.