Sorry Joey, the first free content update for the online fantasy combat game Mirage: Arcane Warfare, called the Gladiator Update, does not actually add a Gladiator class to the action. But it does bring quite a bit of new content, including two new arenas, the powerful Greatsword for the Taurant class, additional magical abilities, and—this is the big one—bots.
"Bot-assisted servers" are a "much-requested new feature," developer Torn Banner Studios said. "On select 6v6 and 3v3 maps and modes, AI opponents will be added or removed as players join or leave to keep the teams populated and even throughout the match."
The studio acknowledged that it hopes the addition of bots will help address the problem of empty game servers, which is obviously a major stumbling block for a multiplayer game trying to build an audience. "There are a few elements that are targeted towards player retention, with bots being a big part of that. Their design is to encourage more players to join lower population servers, in order to bring more real people into the mix," a Torn Banner rep explained.
"This new update has been in the works for a while, so we're excited to see players enjoying some new maps and abilities. The bots are also quite fun to battle against, in group fights they just blend right in."
According to Steam, there are currently 22 people playing Mirage: Arcane Warfare, and so obviously there's a tremendous amount of ground to cover before it even approaches anything resembling viability. But it is a lot of fun, with "interesting classes, engaging melee gameplay, and an exciting arena mode," as we said in our review, and so it's good to see that Torn Banner isn't giving up on it. A full breakdown of the changes and fixes in the Gladiator update is up in the Torn Banner forums.