Personally i havent played the game, but i have read about it 😛
The demigod forums mention that on retail release day there was ~140k connections of which ~120k were from pirated copies of the game. Considering the infrastructure they had implemented was only designed for about ~50k this caused some problems.
No matter what you do there will always be a point of failure with online gaming. Be it the logon servers or the key authentication servers or the chat system, the instance system. But pirated copies of the game shouldnt get far enough along to make those requests..Sure there’s no DRM, but…there has to be something? an account?
A solution i can come up with would be to put in a version check, update, and have the version check server run independent of the actual login server. Maybe put in a simple self CRC Check to prevent against modification or version spoofing. Some people might consider that DRM, i would considering that to be game integrity testing. Nothing as intrusive as a NT Service running on your computer checking the signatures and parameters of all your devices and running programs just to make sure its not an ‘evil’ Disk Image or Virtualization tool that the ‘industry’ doesnt approve of.
..anyway. The Demigod blog is available here