Last year, Overwatch began its first ever Lunar New Year event, rolling out a huge amount of content in celebration of the Year of the Rooster. This included skins, sprays, voice lines, achievements, and the crown jewel: a new game mode, Capture the Flag. Set in a re-skinned version of the three Lijang Tower maps, the arcade mode was largely successful but eventually faded from view due to a lack of unique maps and a prevalence of tie games. However, tomorrow begins the Year of the Dog celebration, and the Overwatch team has something good things cooked up.
Launching tomorrow is a dedicated, four-week competitive season for Capture the Flag, anchored by a brand new, CTF-only map: “Ayutthaya.” Set in Thailand and split into an ancient side with temples and a side with more modern architecture, the new arena is “absolutely gorgeous,” according to Overwatch Lead Designer and mascot Jeff Kaplan. Much like the Lúcioball competitive season from the Summer Games event, players who rank will receive unique sprays and player icons, as well as animated versions that can be attained by placing in the Top 500.
A couple rule changes have also been devised to ensure that CTF games are more engaging and less likely to end in draws. “Sudden Death” will now trigger if the score is tied when the clock expires, giving extra time, moving the flags closer to the center, and shrinking the size of the map. Additionally, many abilities are now “restricted” in CTF, meaning that using them will cause the player to drop the flag. This includes Winston’s Jump Pack and very likely other movement abilities such as Reinhardt’s Charge.
Capture the Flag is exciting, but it’s a holiday event, and that means the public is just itching for those new cosmetic items. Like other Overwatch events, all items from the last iteration will be available again, as well as the new additions. The video preview shows what is either an Epic or Legendary skin for Widowmaker, but Jeff promises six Legendaries in total. While generally tight-lipped about who will be receiving them, he did reveal that “some of our least-played heroes” will be getting new outfits—and by “least-played,” he’s referring to Mercy and Genji and totally kidding.
Starting tomorrow, the Year of the Dog content will be available for four weeks. It’s a longer period than usual, as Jeff notes that travel arrangements for families during the holiday kept players from experiencing as much of the event as they would have liked. Now light up some firecrackers and enjoy the festivities—and make sure you don’t drop the flag.