I love Zwift, but I have a lot of gripes with the application in general and wanted to share my thoughts

(Nathaniel) #1

I have been a member for around 2 years (I think) and Zwift is the app that got me biking. I felt uncomfortable going out in the real world at first and it was a way for me to push myself without having to deal with feeling like a fat guy on a bike.

I’m a developer as a profession so the tech side of setting this stuff up was pretty easy for me and overall it’s been a great solution. I’m running a tacx neo these days and even though I’m biking outside more now, I still use zwift from time to time and I’m not about to cancel my sub just yet.

Here’s the deal.

  1. The UI is ■■■■. I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a UI that is less intuitive and also being so low featured. Complicated apps like Adobe are sometimes not super intuitive because they are so powerful and have so much they can do. This, however, is a biking game. Why is it so hard to do anything? The initial connection of devices is fine, but after that, it all goes downhill. The menu controls are weird and stuff like pressing “T” to enter the outfit menu is really weird.

  2. 30-day limits on personal bests. What? This is data that could probably fit on a thumb drive… Why are you clearing records on a 30-day basis? What am I paying for? Half the time you only ever get to try the same segment a few times a week before the course changes.

  3. Course restrictions. What? Why? I don’t care if there are not a ton of people riding on the course with me. If anything that would help me keep track of the people I’m actually riding with. Course unlocks are fine, that’s something you can earn. However, limiting my courses and rotating them is weird. I could see rotating the default or something if you want to push people to try stuff, however, if I know what I want to play/ride, why do I have to ride the UCI course for the 10,000th time?

  4. Social features. Setting up a ride and having less “noisy” communication while riding with a small group or just one other person would be really nice. It’s odd how I will “Join” my buddy and when I’m biking with him, the UI gives zero preference to his name or kW/hr or anything. It treats my riding buddy like any random person. I think there is a star on the minimap, and that’s it. Also, if we get separated, I can’t “warp” to him or anything, I just have to stop and wait and use text outside of the game to communicate because the chat is area based… Social features need to be enhanced.

  5. I have seen almost no changes except a change in the monthly price (despite being previously grandfathered, I guess you can only be a grandfather so long?). 2 years. I work for a startup that has literally built a mobile bank in that timeframe. What’s going on? I understand new software… I understand that things take time but omg… why has almost nothing changed? I see that now I have sweat points? I don’t know what those are but aside from a few more courses (great) and more skins etc… nothing has actually gotten better. The progress feels stagnant. UI and social features have stayed largely the same and they won’t even store my 30-day records? Store them on my device if you’re that worried about data… geez. What are they even doing?

  6. Linux support. The Dot Net requirements make it hard to run on Wine and I haven’t figured out a way to virtualize Zwift on Linux and not have it fail. I know this is probably just me and a few others so whatever, but it’s something I would like.

I think that there is room to disrupt this market but making an open-source version that supports group rides hosted on personal connections (no central server). I’ve been looking for a passion project. Maybe the time has come.

That said, there are already so many Zwift users… It would be kinda cool if a paid dev team could just make some enhancements…

Final Note: I’m aware that there might be workarounds to some of my concerns and I would love to know about them. However… If I’m unable to figure out this very simple stuff without reading a manual or going to the forums… it only supports my first point.

(larry) #2

I think you bring up some good points I hope you get some answers

(Lin) #3

I’ll bite…

You state that the initial connection of devices is fine. Well, that is usually the part that confuses most people. After that, you select your World, select your route, and hit the “RIDE” button. I would argue that is both extremely intuitive and simple. As for the Menu once in game, if you do not want to use the keyboard shortcuts, you have options: mouse if using a computer, finger if using iPhone or iPad, remote if using Apple TV, etc…

I would love to know the logic that went into the decision making process that yielded a 30-day limit. Maybe it was arbitrary. Maybe there is/was a good reason :thinking: While occasionally annoying, I look at Strava if I want to see such segment information. If you don’t use Strava, well :man_shrugging:

This has been discussed ad nauseum. Jan 2019, Zwift gave us the “Guest World” option. If that isn’t sufficient for you, you can always check out ZWIFT-PREFERENCES which will allow you to select any world you want.

  • In the Menu | Settings, you can disable/hide group chat from your main display.
  • You can use setup a Meetup via the Companion app if you want ride privately w/a buddy or buddies.
  • You can use the Companion app to private chat w/anyone in the same World (e.g., Watopia, London)

That is a bit of an exaggeration. This year (2019) alone, not including bug fixes, Zwift has released the following major updates.

  • Jan: Guest World
  • Feb: Drop Shop
  • April: Desert Expansion
  • May: Giro Bologna TT world/course

Last year (2018)

  • Jan – London Leith Hill
  • April – Watopia Alpe du Zwift
  • August – Innsbruck
  • October – NYC

Doubtful this is going to happen. Too little market share!

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(Rob) #4

You bring up some great points. I agree that the pace of updates appears to have dropped this year compared to last, despite the 50% increase in subscriptions. Maybe too many subscribers left at the end of the grandfathered period. It seems that the priority is the ability for endless choice of socks and other kit, but very little on correcting and improving the riding. It is crazy that the UI is so hard to use when riding, a phone / tablet with Zwift Companion is almost obligatory as a second user interface. The workout dashboard on the companion app is actually very useful, but not even an option on the pc. Sad that the known defects never seem to be fixed. Frustrating that nothing seems to have been spent on effective improvements in quality control, judging by the number of reports of bugs in updates and personal experience. I suspect that the code has already become too difficult to maintain with sucessive updates. I fear that Zwift shall become the MySpace of virtual rides. Maybe there is a good opportunity for an open source cycling environment. Alternatively, there are actually a number of other options out there which could become truly great with some investment.

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(Z Kryder) #5

I am amazed at how much Zwift has grown. Sometimes I do wish we had more insight into what’s coming. I do but then i don’t at the same time. i like the surprises, just wish a few things came faster. lol

(Nigel) #6

IMO, it’s great that they keep adding stuff, I just wish that the stuff they already have worked consistently. There are so many threads in the forum about things that are broken, but it’s pretty much crickets from Zwift. If they want to keep people for the long term they need to fix this stuff, and not break something else in the process. The overall concept of Zwift is great, but if they don’t get it together someone else will come along with an alternative that does.

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