I have been riding Zwift for about 2½ months using Wahoo Kickr Core and running Zwift on Windows and sometimes also using the companion app on Android.
In these first 2½ months I have ridden:
- A total of 2000+km, incl. 24+km elevation over 67 hours
- 20+ workouts (including building my own workouts)
- 1 group ride event
- 5 race events
I have only done 1½ week of a training plan (FTP Builder).
My riding experience in Zwift is overall very positive. I am completely overwhelmed by the realistic feel of riding up hill, in groups and declines, the engaging experience of doing programmed workouts and the really thrilling experience of racing other people.
So even though this review might seem quite critical that is only because I am focusing on that could be better (because I care) and the truth is I am really enjoying my time in Zwift.
Lastly for transparency, I just want to mention that I am 35 years old and have been playing computer games all my life (this may be reflected in what I am expecting).
Ride with a friend
I have seen several places where Zwift is praised and advertised for being a social experience. And that might be true compared to other training software, but is lacking a lot compared to online gaming.
can follow other people and additionally mark my best friends as favorites. But there is no way to see a list of these people if they are not online. Especially, if I want to plan a “meetup” I have to search for my friend among all the other riders or go through recent activities to find him/her.
And Meetups, why are they so rigid? If I am 1 minute late for a planned meetup with a friend it is cancelled. And if I am 5 minute early I have to sit on a virtual trainer and wait. This is not a race, it does not matter that one rider rides a little longer than the other, the purpose is to ride together. And no way to do a workout together?
We ended up the last one online joins the other one, and we then start the same workout coordinating over Skype.
I am missing a form of party function were, you can create a Meetup on the fly without having to specify the end point in advance.
I find it very strange that you cannot see where on the map you currently are. The mini map is just too small (even in the zoomed-out mode) to get a feeling of where you are.
And where am I going? It took me quite some time to figure out how to see where my route that I had chosen would go when approaching an intersection.
Sometimes it would suggest (the timed figure in the bottom of the screen) the other option, sometimes the option I was already going. What? And no indications on the mini-map. To the best of my knowledge there is no difference on the figures/countdowns.
Accidently, I find out arrows appear behind the riders to show when they plan to turn. Including one self. But to my knowledge you cannot see what the current plan/route is if you’re in 1st person view. And for some intersections it seems a little bit random what is considered to be straight/no-turn.
The profile map in the bottom of the minimap is quite useful when you do not know the route and want to plan effort ahead.
It seems like you are not meant to just join an event when you start Zwift, even though that is what seemed very natural for me to want. The start-up screen lists future events, and ask if I want to join, but do a join? No, I sign-up for them, then I need to start a random ride for then to be reminded to join the event. This feels very odd to me.
I still don’t get the categories in races when everybody is starting at the same time, riding the same route and finishing at the same location. For races with staggered start it make sense, but otherwise it is pointless.
For a game that tries to be competitive, it is strange that there is no official ladder, no “points” or anything for riding a race and I expect it to be the same if you win (I must admit I am not good enough to have won anything … yet).
Oh man I have been tricked by the distance countdown. And more the once. When I am in a race this should be the primary information, I cannot grasp why you would want to distance countdown to the end of some arbitrary subsegment of the route.
Inconsistency between platforms
The user experience is very different when using the Windows application, the Android app as well as the website. It feels like three different companies are making each of these products. E.g. activity history, listing/filtering future events, searching/following other riders are examples where the experience and the information available are very inconsistent. But things like achievements/badges and inventory/garage is only available in Windows application…
Where is the keybinding menu? At least have a screen in the settings where you can watch the keyboard shortcuts.
The only graphics settings is the resolution, what? As a minimum I would expect that you had the ability via the menu of changing all of the settings that are currently located in:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Zwift\data\configs”
But optimal the player should be able to change the UI a lot more. Like, rearrange the position and size of all the element on the screen. I ride with a 24" monitor ~1m in front of me and chat messages are only barely readable.
I might regret writing this later. I hate most microtransactions as much as the next gamer. But I believe they do have a place. Personally, I would be perfectly fine with Zwift having a number of vanity items to be sold for real money. Optimally, the system would make it possible to earn these items without paying additional and it should definitely only be items that have no performance effects.
I seriously think you are missing out on some possibilities here. And I would love if the sales for stuff like special clothing, bike colors, lamps e.t.c. could sponsor some of my feature requests