This is one of the things that have always slightly annoyed me. Not enough to go into a rage, but enough to probably cause companies some financial loss here or there. The problem is that there are games that I can’t update if I don’t have a current subscription. Example: RIFT. I have to log in first, then I can update. But if I don’t have a subscription, I’ll get an error message when I try to log in. So if I wanted to play the game again, I’d have to resubscribe first, then update the game, then play. Seeing how I have no idea how much of an update that would be, I skipped the resubscription on more than one occasion because I feared that I’d spend all night updating. Same with SOE’s games (though with EQ2 now being subscription-less, this isn’t as much an issue any more than it used to be).
In fact, the only game I can think of that has a monthly subscription, but allows you to update regardless of your account status, is WoW. Blizzard got it right, yet again.
I don’t understand the reasoning behind the “no update without a subscription” policy either. Companies save some network traffic, but I would strongly assume that’s negligible compared to people creating traffic by a) playing the game, or b) downloading the whole several-gigabytes game (which you often enough can do without a subscription).
I regularly update my online games, even those that I haven’t touched in a while. Actually, especially those. Because I don’t want to have to wait through 3 hours of updates when I get the itch to play them again. Game companies, mark my words: if I want to play your game, I don’t want to wait through hours of updates.
Give me the option to update when I don’t want to play, so I don’t get discouraged by updating when I want to play.