This whole situation is making me more and more worried.
I doubt that IOI can give us eg. Server Emulator DLC, or whatever, which would allow us to keep progress on localhost.
One hopes they will patch out the online requirement for escalations and such when the game's servers eventually go down, but I also wouldn't be surprised if they don't. The core story experience is available offline, and that might be all they care about "preserving." Similar to how it's all GOG seems to care about being DRM free. Also very few companies care about preservation anyway, it's usually left to the community.
Not defending this at all really, just saying how things are.
Would be nice if they could make a "Server emulation" file so players can do some of the user-made missions, Escalation stuff, and Elusive Targets stuff offline.
But, as companies keep learning further into say proprietary stuff (Steamworks for MP; GOG Galaxy for MP); central servers (like MMO's do); and/or their own stuff - this is the non-sense we will have to deal with...especially when games might need to be re-worked for different stores and their services. Preservation of a game goes out the window, when this stuff happens - as these games are built from the ground-up w/ certain aspects to be only able to work when online and connected.
While it was great when there was middle-ware for MP (Multiplayer) portions of games like say GameSpy so that games w/ that support on Steam and GOG could use the same middleware on every PC version, so they didn't have to re-work the game to work w/ each version. Problem is: when GameSpy away, everything for the MP portion basically goes away...on every store.
Now, you have some games on Steam use Steamworks for MP; and then that same game on GOG might use GOG on that version. Great way to split the fan-base. And also, who knows who'll stick around longer? Will Steam stick around? Will Galaxy? Yeah, I want them all to stick around forever - but, who knows, right? [shrug]
That's why Multiplayer should always support LAN/TCP/IP - like the old days. It's up to the players to figure this out w/ their friends, when all the crap might hit the fan way down the road, when proprietary stuff like Galaxy and Steam might unfortunately go away...just like how GameSpy went away.
This is why MP w/ Skirmish modes should have a section, where it also works offline w/ bots - like say Q3A does; or say Battlefield 1942. Will Battlefield 2042 be preserved, if it's still tied to EA's servers and requires EA Origin or EA Desktop? COD's MP portions and all of those maps probably won't really ever be preserved, as...well, you need to play those online via Activision's servers as there's no offline mode for all these Skirmish modes and maps; they hold all the cards.
This should also go for games w/ inverted multiplayer (like say Dark Souls games) or single-player games with online stats/leaderboards/achievements/etc (like Hitman GOTY 2016). These games and portions should work offline, if I can basically play this...without any other players online. If I want to play offline and not deal w/ online stuff - I should be able to...period.
It all feels like slowly but surely, everything will unfortunately go online-only; especially if streaming services try to be like NetFlix & GeForceNow; and/or online-only for games just become the unfortunate norm.