I just wanted to clear up a few things about EZ Pad and DirectPlay 8.2 for the IC stress test (in an unofficial capacity).
The multiplayer stress test is a time limited beta for 20 000 participants. In order to ensure that the time limited nature of the demo works as expected (and isn't easily worked around like some time bombs), EZ pad is used to control access to Internet games *for the stress test only*.
Let me reiterate that this is only used by the multiplayer stress test, it will not be used in the final version of the game, and it is not used in any of the current single player demos.
So, if you wish to try out IC without this feature then you can try one of the single player demos that have been / are being released.
On to DirectX requirements... DirectPlay 8.2 addresses several issues with various network goodies (i.e. Firewalls & NATs). It is *required* by the IC stress test, so if you try to connect to the multiplayer server and have no buttons active - then please ensure that you have 8.2 installed. The DirectX download page unfortunately does not mention DPlay 8.2 (from what I saw), so as other posts have mentioned you have to search their download site for it - or you can click this link:
Hope this helps!