Blizzard has built a reputation of paying attention to details when it comes to Overwatch; but the current Lunar New Year celebration event has to be the most work its ever done. Among the new cosmetic items are a set of four legendary skins inspired by the Chinese guardians of the four cardinal directions.
Chinese mythology has the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) associated with a particular element, and guarded by a specific mythical beast. In Overwatch’s case, these are represented by the Zarya as the Black Turtle, Mercy as the Vermillion Bird (or Phoenix), Pharah as the Azure Dragon, and Genji as the White Tiger.
The only thing to note is that the Chinese have five directions and elements; leaving out the Yellow Dragon representing the earth element. It’s not entirely clear why Blizzard left this one out.
This isn’t the first time that the Overwatch Lunar New Year has drawn inspiration from Chinese myths. The first one that was released last year took the time to reimagine four heroes as characters from the Journey to the West. Although, that one also came with a very interesting motion comic to bring clueless westerners up to speed on their significance as well.
It also sees the return of a reworked Capture the Flag mode. The developers have designed an entirely new map for CtF, and removed draws from the game. Instead, flags will slowly move towards the centre of the map after the round timer hits zero; making them easier to grab. This mode also sees the first map set in Southeast Asia; Ayutthaya is located in Thailand and shows us what this side of the Overwatch world looks like.
The event, which runs from today until 5 March, is specifically designed to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year sees the addition of 50 cosmetic items to the game. Interestingly, Blizzard has also made this event run longer than any other. It says that this is to compensate for the time where some players would be unable to play due to travel and actually celebrating Chinese New Year. Which is a nice touch for those of us who are out visiting relatives.