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Blizzard details 2018’s Overwatch Lunar New Year event

New skins, new CTF rules and a new map set in Thailand

Overwatch’s Lunar New Year seasonal event returns to the game this Thursday, Feb. 8. In a new developer update video, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan detailed what players can expect, in terms of new skins, a new map and a new version of last year’s arcade mode, capture the flag.

This year’s Lunar New Year event will introduce a brand new map set in Thailand — a map built specifically for Overwatch’s capture the flag mode.

“This map takes place in Thailand is absolutely gorgeous,” Kaplan said. “One side of the map is ancient and shows some temple that’s very gorgeous and the other side is bright and beautiful and very modern. We think you’ll enjoy it, but the coolest part, in my opinion, is it’s the first map that we’ve ever built specifically for Capture the Flag.”

Kaplan says the Overwatch team is tweaking the rules for capture the flag for this year’s event in some important ways.

“First off, there’s no more draws anymore,” Kaplan said. “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; 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.

“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.’”

Kaplan said that Winston’s leap, for example, will cause the flag to drop if he’s holding it.

And similarly to how Blizzard handled Lucioball in last year’s Summer Games event, capture the flag will also get a four-week competitive season.

On the cosmetics side, Kaplan promised “six amazing legendary skins,” including one for Genji and one for Mercy. And based on the above video, Widowmaker will get a new seasonal skin too.

As previously announced, Overwatch Lunar New Year will celebrate the Year of the Dog in 2018. Last year’s version of the seasonal event celebrated the Year of the Rooster, and introduced a new Arcade mode, Capture the Rooster, which eventually become a regular capture the flag game mode.

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