The first online game I played, Essex MUD circa 1982, gave it’s highest level players seemingly god-like powers. These were the Wizards. They differed from today’s GMs in that it was just a rank you could achieve.
I can’t begin to tell you what I imagined their powers to be… You’d have to think Matrix/Neo/Airbender or something.
When I finally met the game’s creator a few years later, I was desperate to see what it was like to be a “Wizard”; I actually expected to see the game represented with graphics rather than text.
Of course, it wasn’t anything more than gaining a few more commands when you reached a certain rank, and those commands were mostly pretty mundane.
So you’ll have to forgive me for the giggle/smirk that I break out into every time I read someone describing the evils beset upon them by the GMs in our game. Someone sent me an excerpt where a guy using a cheat had tried to justify his use by saying “I could see the GM screwing with me when I used it”.
Infact, our GMs have only a few abilities. They can monitor (and thus record) with the Buzzard vehicle; they can warn, kick and ban players (they cannot unban a player tho); if a player is clipping, they can bump the player a few meters, sending the player a WARNING message saying “GM changed your position”.
The upper echelons of the GMs have access to some strat tools (by which I mean tools for manipulating the strat system) for changing town ownerships in emergencies etc.
But they don’t have a “kill” command, the Buzzard has no weapons so it can’t shoot at you. Killed by Unknown means you got smacked by AI or killed yourself. They can’t modify your ammo, increase or diminish how much of it there is, jam your guns, block your rounds, or in any way affect your firing. Nor can they set you on fire or flip your vehicle over, alter it’s speed or suck the gas out of it’s tanks. They can’t adjust the spawn lists or secretly move brigades. And they can’t make you visible (or invisible) to the enemy.
They don’t need any of those abilities, and the few abilities they do already have are plenty enough for us to worry about on a daily basis.
See, in WWIIOL/Battleground Europe, GM stands for Game Monitor, not Game Manager.
While it is true they have a different version of the client than you, the version is called “the buzzard client”. Because the standard client can’t handle the buzzard as a spawnable vehicle. Beyond that, the GM “tools” are a handful of host commands and some web pages.