Hi whoever maybe reading this!
My name is Andrew and I’ve been Zwifting about 1 month and I absolutely love it! It’s gotten me riding so much more and am keen to continue building fitness and meeting people as the community grows and the experience evolves.
As I have just jumped in the last month I’m sure I’m missing a few things and I don’t have much of a feel for how quickly and in which way updates happen in Zwift. Even so, I am constantly wondering when riding in Zwift, “Why does it work like that, why doesn’t it work like this?”. Last week I started a little text file on my computer to note these down and I thought I would list them here. I’m sure most, if not all of them, have come up in dev meetings at Zwift HQ, and I’m sure you guys have a lot in the pipeline already and have a good idea of what needs to be prioritised, but I thought I’d air my little list anyway.
Anyway, in no particular order:
- Give Ride Ons and send message post race from results screen. During races you’re really too busy to make friends and socialise, but they’re actually very social experiences, you make a real bond with people you’ve worked with and are competing against. At the moment in my experience this is mostly done through Facebook/Strava in the 15 mins after the race. The race screen is quite important as it gives meaning to everyone’s names by showing their times/places/efforts. Once that closes you forget a lot of names, so it should stay up, and you should be able to chat and give kudos while it’s up.
- Change results screen to 2min up instead of 30s. I watch a lot of youtube videos of Zwift, and the same thing happens in them that I do. You sprint at max heart rate and collapse across the finish line. By the time you want to check the results the screen is gone, and there’s really nothing to do but close the program and you don’t even know where you finished. Very anti-climactic.
- Change workout, events and name without logging out. The current disconnect between functionality in the menu screen and in game is a bit silly I’m sure everyone agrees. You shouldn’t have to be constantly opening and closing the Zwift application to be doing stuff.
- Proper chat feature. The barebones chat in Zwift doesn’t cut it for a proper online game. Half the time you don’t even know who typed the message, you don’t know who saw your message, and it’s a pain to send messages to people, especially if they’re a long way from you. I would prefer a proper MMORPG chat window but I guess that’s not going to happen with mobile dev.
- Proper map. The current map is interesting, but it pretty useless. You don’t know where you are, where you’re heading, when or what hills are coming up, where the other people in your ride are, and it constantly changes even though you’re on a set route that Zwift knows.
- Grade support in game. There’s no reason for grades to be a community construct that is just a letter put on the end of their last name. Put the upgrade strike rule in, put it in the UI and in events/races, put it in profiles. Yes, you’ll need a few support people to answer dodgy setup tickets.
- Grade/handicap setups for races. At the moment you can sort of do this, but it has to be set before ride begins and you can’t talk between groups. ZHR H&H and similar doesn’t really work because you can’t rely on people to follow instructions. It should be in the game. One race with the same start time for everyone, leader selects who can talk to who, who can draft off who, if you can use powerups. There should be a button for Zwift to workout good group handicaps depending on group size and recent performance. You just select 4 groups, and Zwift splits your 120 riders into 4 groups that go at different times that will end at the finish together if they all sit on FTP.
- Stats in profile. At the moment practically everyone uses Strava/Zwiftpower.com to check their results, stats, history and stalk other people. I get that you like using the other social sites, but a lot of that should be giving you clues about simple stats/profiles/histories that should be in the game. If you are going to rely on Strava/Zwiftpower.com, at the very least put out a great open api to alleviate a lot of the currently going on with data mining and sync silliness.
- Team support in game. Again, these should be more than just a word people at the end of their names. People are very clearly keen to create, join and be a part of teams. They should be in the game to join, in the UI to show. They should have their own chat, their own monthly leaderboards, daily message, calendar, officers, private events, challenges etc.
- Proper marking of segments. I don’t know if it’s just my settings/setup, or if I’m blind, but some segment lines on the roads are completely invisible to me. Segments are pretty cool and have good support in the game except I have no idea where many of them start (sprint on London?).
- Ride leader options. More social rides are really fun but it’s such a struggle at the moment for ride leaders to keep things together. For a start make the beacon really noticeable. It’s good at the moment but it’s still possible to lose. If you had an awesome map that showed exactly where you are on your route and showed exactly where the beacon is on that, that would be ideal. There should be a regroup option that puts a progressive drag and boost on people ahead and behind the leader. 1 minute of that on and everyone should be all bunched up again. Maybe an option that does the same thing but at a point 50m behind the leader would be cool for espresso/after party laps. People love doing that but it’s a pain at the moment both for the leader and the riders. Finally, there should be officers or promotions or something for rides where leaders can set other people that can take over beacon/group chat if the leader d/c’s or has to leave. Probably they should by default have a group chat function as well. Possibly have the ability for leaders to boot people from the ride. Possibly could be abused, but 99/100 will be used properly so easily worth it I think.
- Visibility issues in UI. I assume a lot of people like me play on a TV or monitor at some distance, and find some of the most useful information on the screen the hardest to see. At the very least remove the transparency on w/kg and rider list ahead/behind times. Often during a race, I actually give up and just ignore these because they are so hard to see. Ideally you’d have a customizable box up the top that has a garmin-esque option for putting whatever you want in any box.
- Profile photo. This is a bit of a random one, but when stalking everyone I race against, one things that really helps humanize their numbers and make the feel like people that I want to meet and know instead of gamers I just want to beat is their Strava photo. I think if you can put that in the game like flags at the moment that would be pretty cool. I mean at the moment the flag is a very defining and gives people a lot of personality, but it’s just a bloody flag. If that was an actual photo or image like in Strava it would help create a social atmosphere so much. I know it’s shied away a lot in games because of abuse, but in Zwift there’s a pretty positive culture and people usually use their real names so I think it’d be pretty safe (like is with Strava).
Anyway thanks for reading if you got this far I know it probably sounds pretty negative reading through a long wish/complaint list like this, but I honestly love Zwift and am keen to see it grow however it does in the future.