Overwatch's holiday events are, no pun intended, legendary.
Blizzard has a great habit of making a huge deal out of the year's biggest holiday seasons: Halloween, Christmahanakwanzakuh, Independence Day and, acknowledging their global audience, the Chinese Lunar New Year. This year's Year of the Dog celebration will start February 8 and last through March 5.
Last year's "Year of the Rooster" event introduced a Capture the Rooster game mode, which became a more permanent fixture after the season event, staying on as a standard Capture the Flag mode. The Year of the Dog festival this year will keep the flag (sorry, rooster fans), but get rid of the possibility of a draw. Overwatch's game director, Jeff Kaplan, spoke to some of the changes in this event's developer update.
"First off, there's no more draws anymore," said Kaplan. "We know historically every time we've had draws in Overwatch, there has been discontent in the player base and we want to get rid of draws. We know that they're not very exciting and they can feel very anticlimactic. So, we've added a Sudden-Death mechanic if the two teams are tied at the end of time."
This "sudden death" basically means a speed-round until the next team scores. "What will happen is both teams flags are moved closer to the center of the map and then the map resumes at that point and the teams will go for the flags and then they only have a very short distance to cap," Kaplan added.
Kaplan also commented on the limiting of certain character skills that would be over-powered in Capture the Flag (i.e. Winston's super jump and Tracer's dash): "The other thing that's very exciting is we've changed the flag pickup roles. So, now picking up the flag is instant, but if you use certain abilities and these abilities are limited to things that either give you invulnerability or give you great mobility, those abilities will drop the flag. We call these 'restricted abilities.'"
The new map is specially designed for the Capture the Flag and it's named Ayutthaya, after the real world city in Thailand. Like the Thai city, the new map will feature a hightech urban district, beautiful temples and interesting flora. The distinct sectors of the map should make for quality shotcalling and capture the flag strategy. This goes hand-in-hand with the new competitive ladder for Capture the Flag, which will have a ranked season throughout the event.
The new cosmetics are nothing to scoff at, either. Most of the characters get the Lunar New Year redesign, which include mostly fireworks, dragons and Chinese characters. However, the best of the bunch are Zarya's new dragon warrior look, Genji's robotic swordsman 'fit, and Mercy's festival formalwear. The new skins are available for purchase for 3000 points, whereas last year's Year of the Rooster skins are also available at a discounted 1000 price point. There are also new sprays, including a celebratory Doomfist and a pensive Symmetra.
The best new skins defend a flag on the new map Ayutthaya.
Zarya's new look is absolutely beast.
The new map, Ayutthaya, is based on the real world city in Thailand, home to both beautiful temples and urban sprawl.
The new Genji skin is a ghostly, robotic swordsman.
The new Mercy look appears to be based on festival formalwear.
Pharah received a similar treat to Zarya with her dragon warrior armor.
Genji in action.
New skins on the new map
Mercy in the urban district of Ayutthaya.
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