Feedback to boost mode

Boost mode is a fun alternative mode in the game. I am not a huge fan of the artificial speed boost in general (even though it is your earlier watts), but it will make for fun and more game-like races on courses like crit city. On most other courses with longer descents it would probably be too easy to charge.

It would be nice to see which powerups people used in the results afterwards. Also the amount of charges used could be interesting.

The boost button is a bit small and difficult to hit towards the end of the race (at least on a touchscreen), maybe make it bigger or slide to activate. To me when the hands get sweaty, the finger slides very easily.

I haven´t tried the biggest boost yet but if it work like the others it will probably be very tough to hit the button and get the power in before the timer runs out. Especially since the sprints tend to start way before the all out finish. My suggestion would be to make a 5 second countdown after the button is pushed.

I will definitely participate in boost races when it´s released.

I took part in the 8PM PDT test ride last night! My experience was mixed, I suspect mostly due to the learning curve. For context, I race cat C, and typically can finish in the top 25% in shorter races, often near(ish) the top in an 8-lap Crit City.

First off: I appreciate the invitation to test it and provide feedback! The feedback screen after the race barely had space for any meaningful comment; it would be nice if they offered direction to a better platform (here?) to do so.

I chose the “balanced” boost option, mostly arbitrarily since starting average seemed to make sense - I might try doing the ride again tonight & try the 50W option.

The Start:
I was holding on and relatively comfortable with the lead pack for the first lap or so of the race, and then I decided to charge - a poor timing decision on my part. I got dropped very quickly and there was no chance of catching back up. This is pretty demoralizing, especially when you were feeling pretty good - I can’t help but wonder how long I would have held onto them otherwise.

The Middle:
Throughout the next few laps I tried charging/boosting, and felt like it wasn’t really helping or hindering me that much - just sort of introducing arbitrary, self-induced sprint efforts into the race. As far as a workout goes…it certainly showed, my HR was above-average!

The End:
The second half of the race I chose to forgo using boost mode, aside from filling both “charges” going down the hill, to save for the end of the race. I was curious to know how this would affect my position relative to other riders - and it didn’t really! For the most part I managed to hang onto others when they used their boosts, and either catch up or take a rest when they seemed to be charging.

Final Sprit
When it came down to the final sprint (usually I perform decently here) I used both charges and easily crashed through the finish line as intended. I suspect without them I would have lost a couple places - but I also am not sure I was sprinting to my max, rather I was sprinting hard enough to keep ahead of others.

The Result:
I ended up 9 of 20 on Zwiftpower for Cat C. I forget the number, but Zwift said I was in the top 18% in-game I think. Overall my average power was a bit lower than I expected - but I have to admit I was more fatigued going into this ride than I would have liked. I suspect there might have been some mental aspect of thinking about boost mode too much which caused my power to drop at points…

In the end, my 8-lap segment record on Strava was a bit slower than other efforts. This could definitely be a variety of reasons, of course, but I can’t help but wonder if I would have stuck with the lead pack if it wasn’t for my poor decision early on…

Functionality Feedback:

  • The buttons on the companion app are small and very close together. When your fingertips are sweaty, you’re trying hard, and out of breath…looking down and aiming a finger at something finger-tip size is tough. Especially if you were to pretty the wrong button at the wrong time! Also, I wish they weren’t on the left-right slider menu - I find even in normal riding, I can have trouble sliding this left or right…I can absolutely see myself fumbling trying to slide it over to get to the right button, etc…
  • I would like it to display both “real” watts and “modified” watts in the HUD.
  • A small in-game (or Companion App) reminder of what choices you made would be nice. I couldn’t remember the details (watt drain or charge/boost duration) of what I chose.
  • The weight penalty seemed unclear. During the race some people commented it felt like they were heavier with charged batteries, some people said it felt like there was no penalty at all.
  • I’m a bit unclear on the benefit/usefulness of the weight penalty at all. If it’s for some sort of balancing, could this not be achieved by modifying the charge/burst watts themselves?

My Takeaway:
As someone who is stronger at short bursts of power rather than long sustained efforts, I feel like I could just follow others - sprint hard when they activate, and take a break or catch up when they charge, and have a similar experience, without having to worry about my own strategy as much.

I look forward to trying it again with an open mind, but my first effort didn’t completely sell me. I totally see the appeal, but for me it was one more thing to think about (and worry about messing up) instead of simply making the legs spin. I suspect over time as we all get more used to the mode & it’s strategies, I will come to enjoy it more!

Thanks for reading my giant wall of text - I hope you find the feedback useful!

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Did the 7pm BST one today (25th) and have a couple of bits of feedback having done the “balanced” mode. Worth noting it was 27C and I was cooked going into my longest ever race, but hey ho. Sorry this is a long one, but here’s some thoughts:

Companion app:
As noted by others, the buttons were quite small, close together and near things like “U-turn” which made me a little nervous… Also I accidentally double tapped a boost and charging that up again took time.

In game/ride feel:
I thought I’d use the boost up the climbs on the volcano circuit and recharge on the downhills. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I kind of expected to feel the boost charge/discharge through the trainer resistance, so boosting would feel noticeably easier to pedal, and when charging I’d feel something intercepting those 100W, but I didn’t. This meant I still naturally increased my wattage as I felt the hill kick in, and recharging in the bunch/on the descents I didn’t have as much to push against, so I had to consciously click it up/down a couple of gears when I boosted/charged to bring about the feel I expected.

General UI thoughts:
It would be really useful to understand which boosts are being used by others when it shows up in the feed, maybe 1 chevron for efficient, 2 for balanced & 3 for the power burst?
Also I would have loved to have known when riders around me were charging, as whenever I misjudged my moment to charge, I was spat out the back of the group, likely to never be seen again. Some of that might be down to me not being at my best today, but still.

Mechanical suggested alterations/additions
It would be quite nice if riders could pause/cancel a charge midway through, even if you lose the progress you’ve made, as it might help alleviate the “shouldn’t have charged then, out the back I go” issues. Whether it would lead to riders spamming “micro-charge” cycles of a couple of seconds I’m not sure, but you could always disable charging for a few seconds, or having incomplete charges empty over time.

Finally, I really felt that the 100W penalty was far too big for me today, when I ended up on my own I found myself not boosting & charging because the over-under style effect was slower and more tiring than holding steady.

This may be a bit nerdy/out there, but could you internally represent the charge cost per segment in terms of Joules and then give me a few different rates of charge for each mode, which I can swap between mid race?

As a worked example, balanced gives you 2 charges, which equate to 200W for 8.5s a charge, or 1.7KJ a charge. I could then have let’s say a long, balanced & short charge times, with say 75, 100 & 125W penalties, which would take 22.6, 17 & 13.6 seconds respectively to charge a block (assuming output = charge cost). You can still arrange the charge rates so that efficient is always a lower penalty than balanced, and balanced is lower than burst. But this would give me an option to maybe stay in the bunch better, or drop a big effort because I need that boost right now.

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The ability to charge pausing is great idea! It would have probably let me re-catch the main pack in my race, but instead I had to suffer through the duration watching them get many seconds into the distance, regretting my button push…

It seems totally reasonable to allow one pause every 15 seconds or something, to avoid possible abuse - if there even was any?

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