Blizzard Entertainment has officially kicked off its Year of the Rooster holiday event today, with the event ending on February 13, 2017. Inspired by the Chinese Lunar New Year, the event features new costumes (shown below) for Mei, D.Va, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Zenyatta, Winston, Junkrat, Bastion, Ana, Mercy, Tracer, and Symmetra. In addition, there are a host of new player icons, sprays, victory poses, emotes, and highlight intros hiding in those loot boxes.
The all-new Capture The Rooster brawl was detailed a separate Developer Update video released by Blizzard. In the mode, two teams on Lijiang Tower will attempt to capture the enemy's flag. The trick is that both flags are in play at all times, so you have to prioritize resources to to attack and defend at the same time.
"Capture the Flag is a really interesting topic for us to discuss because it's something we mentioned in the past as having had a lot of trouble with when it comes to tuning and balancing around Overwatch heroes. So, to give you guys a little bit of history with Capture the Flag we started working on it before the game was even announced," explained Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan in the video.
"So, we really wrestled with Capture the Flag over the years for a number of reasons. The primary one is that Overwatch heroes are are designed intentionally with really powerful feeling mobility abilities," said Kaplan. "In one of our earliest versions that we had, there was no pickup time on the flag. What our Tracer's would do when we were playtesting these early prototypes is they would triple Blink to the flag, and then just hit recall and be you know 30 meters back to where they were. Literally, untouchable to to get the flag and defenders of the flag didn't even know what happened."
So the flags in Overwatch have a pickup timer, meaning high-mobility folks like Tracer have to remain in the flag area for a short period of time. The Overwatch team also played around with causing certain movement abilities like Tracer's Recall or Reaper's Wraith Mode to automatically drop the flag. They ultimate found that it wasn't fun.
"So, ironically, we set up all the abilities to drop the flag and then we ended up reverting it all and just saying, let's really go to the spirit of what Capture the Flag is to us, and to our players when we mention it to them. So, instead of trying to overly balance and overly tune Overwatch around this concept of fairness, we said 'Why don't we embrace what our heroes do?'"
You also don't need to have your flag back at the base to capture the enemy's flag. It worked for Blizzard's World of Warcraft, but they found it didn't work with high-damage and high-lethality of Overwatch. Capture the Rooster will remain in the Arcade for the duration of the event. The team doesn't feel it's balanced for Quick Play or Competitive Mode, but Kaplan didn't rule out a more-balanced CTF being competitive later.
So, that's not saying it might never be it won't ever be a competitive mode maybe you know someday if we fine-tuned and iterate on it," said Kaplan. "We're not even remotely thinking about that right now, we just want it to be fun we want it to be for those players who have really been vocal about asking for Capture the Flag we wanted to be our way of saying we're listening to you and that you know your feedback is important."