Blizzard has shared more details on Overwatch’s upcoming Year of the Dog seasonal event. In a developer video today, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan started off by announcing that a new map, set in Thailand, is coming to Overwatch in the event.
He said the unnamed map is “absolutely gorgeous.” One side has a more ancient feel to it, featuring a temple. The other side is “bright and beautiful” and more modern, Kaplan explained. Perhaps more notably, this is the first map Blizzard has ever made specifically for Capture the Flag, a mode that is returning in the Year of the Dog event.
Based on feedback from fans, Blizzard is making changes to how Capture the Flag plays this time around. Starting off, there will no longer be ties. Kaplan said players voiced their discontent for draws, adding that they can feel “anti-climatic.” So Blizzard is getting rid of ties altogether. Instead, matches will go to sudden death if the sides are tied at the end of a match. For sudden death, each team’s flag will be moved closer to the center of the map. So when the match restarts, team’s will have far less ground to cover to score.
Additionally, flag pick-up rules are changing. You’ll now pick up the flag immediately. On top of that, some abilities involving mobility and invulnerability will cause you to drop the flag. For example, Winston’s leap/jump pack ability will cause him to drop the flag.
With some abilities restricted, Blizzard found, presumably through internal testing, this leads to more flag captures overall and games that are generally more “action-packed” and offensive-minded. Kaplan added that with these restrictions, games rarely go to sudden death.
Additionally, Blizzard is launching a four-week competitive season for Overwatch’s new Capture the Flag mode. Those who place in the top 500 will earn a special spray and icon. And for the Year of the Dog event overall, there will be six legendary skins; Mercy and Genji are among the heroes getting new legendary skins, though they have not been shown off yet. Additionally, there will be a new highlight intro for one of the game’s heroes, though Kaplan did not say which hero it will be.
Overwatch’s Year of the Dog event kicks off on February 8 across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Keep checking back with more details about this event, as we’re expecting a lot of new skins and other seasonal items as well.