As great as Steam is for browsing games and saving money with sales, there's always been one really irritating thorn in the distribution portal's paw: it require players to go online every two weeks or so to verify their account.
Some have considered this a draconian precaution against piracy, but as it turns out, this is actually just a bug. A bug Valve is actively trying to fix.
"Offline Mode is designed to be indefinite," wrote Valve staffer HenryG on the Steam user forums in response to the accusation that Offline Mode was designed to fail every fortnight. "You can't access any of Steam's online features such as friends lists or saved game synchronisation, of course, but the client should allow you to run in Offline Mode for as long as you like."
"That said, there are many components involved in Offline Mode, and some of them have known issues and bugs which we are continually working to improve. We're aware that it doesn't always work as flawlessly as we want it to, but please keep reporting bugs with Offline Mode. It is not broken 'by design.'"
So why hasn't Valve spoken up about this before? According to HenryG, it's due to a lack of PR reps, and the staff of Valve being too busy doing things like fixing Offline Mode to tell people it's fixing Offline Mode. "We have been working very hard on upgrading the underlying technology in Steam," added Henry G. "We have no community managers or PR people, so all the time that we spend on forums is taking away from development time. That said, I know that it's frustrating to get no response, and it looks like we aren't doing anything about it."