Legends of the Sword coast doesn't have a good DM mode worth emulating. It is a bizarre annoying thing that isn't conducive to a fun PnP style experience. NWN however does.
A DM mode isn't the place for a bizarre competitive round robin mode, it should be attempting to emulate table top as much as possible, and through that desire the DM should have as much power and ability to change things as possible, the more editor functions they have access to in game (not to mention console commands) the better it will be.
"But Raith, building a big detailed area in game would be time consuming, what about that?" That's why you should be prepared and have the major areas built if not populated in the editor before even loading it up for your group little one. Simple, no?
"But a DM should have a skill tree and gain levels and stuff to get more crap to do in the game!" Why? The DM isn't in competition with the players, he is facilitating their story and game, now if this story kills them oh well but that isn't a success for the DM, it is simply the way it played out.
But if the DM can do anything from the start, what's to stop him from winning? ...The DM isn't in competition with the players, and if you have a DM (or you are that DM) that think that killing the party is "winning" then you shouldn't play with him/shouldn't be DM.
"DMs should be able to control the monsters directly to fight the party!" I'm not against this, but it shouldn't be mandatory because personally I would be using that time gained in battle setting up the next area if it needed it.
Totally agree with this. As a P&P DM I believe it is the DMs job to facilitate the story. I think the true focus should be on giving DMs the tools to make a fun adventure. Dropping in items/npcs/monster at will, changing the weather on the fly, buffs and debuffs, etc.
It would be great for DMs to be able to make custom lists of enemy groups so they can drop them ahead of the party without needing to hand pick every enemy to place in each spot. You could even have CR type system where the DM picks the difficulty of the desired "mob" and the game spits out a grouping based on the list you made and the challenge level desired.
Also, something that I haven't seen mentioned yet... I would REALLY like for DM mode not to force the DM to write all of this dialogue beforehand for the NPCs to interact with the players. I would like to see a system that is user-friendly with groups that would roleplay out their adventure over voice chat.
Ideally, you could handle skill checks in a live setting as such... (again, all of the chat is via voice chat)
NPC Guard (DM): "hold up there, what's the hurry? you aren't allowed in there!" Player 1: "Oh, didn't they tell you? I'm supposed to be inspecting the grounds today..."
It would be great in this situation to allow Player 1 to just make a bluff/lie check vs. the npcs opposing skill. If successful, the appropriate rolplaying is done, and the DM clicks the gate to be unlocked and they are on with the story!