New Courses

I love Zwift and am currently very much enjoying myself.  However I’m an average club rider and I can see that without additional stimulation I’ll get bored.  It’s logical that the more hardcore athletes who have trained for years in sheds will have a far higher boredom threshold but I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping for some more variety very soon.  The hardcore also have races to join and many groups rides to tag onto too, also helping.

When Zwift went live I believed that new courses would zwiftly follow, however they haven’t.  There is a sign on Watopia put there to tease us and even then it potentially only leads to a flat track, which although vital for some will be of no interest to many.

I’m now starting to use TTS4 for the variety (even though the quality of graphics and physics is inferior) and also for the excellent Real Life Videos.  I’d like instead to be able to just use Zwift, have serveral great courses to choose from and all my training logged in one place.

And that leads to another point.  Choice.  We still can’t select which course to ride.  Personally I don’t enjoy Richmond very much so I avoid those days where I can.  Which is a shame.

New courses are coming, but too slowly.  They are probably being modeled maticulously before being released to us but I’d be happy with just a simple track not even attached to the ground, let alone all the trees, bridges, houses, etc.  Could course creation be greatly sped up by doing the basics, releasing to us as “beta” to test and then adding all the pretty touches later ?

Eric Min has said that new courses will only be added when there are enough riders around that the place doesn’t feel too empty.

I see his reasoning for that but I think it’s a mistake, like you I just like riding for the sake of riding tackling the terrain, having other riders there too is cool but it’s not everything.

Zwift has the potential to be the only indoor cycling tool you’ll ever need, after all it’s got the simulation, group riding, workouts, but there’s the massive gaping black hole that threatens to suck in everything around it in that there’s the crushing lack of courses and variety. 

It’s been said in the past (I think by Eric M) that Watopia could be a theme park of everything you like about cycling, which to my mind means a big network of roads to choose from going every which way, some with steep climbs some flattish or a variety, however recent comments on the Zwift podcast seem to suggest he’s rowing back from that position, which is a massive shame, as no matter how good the group riding, races, workouts, graphics, physics, interactivity, if it’s just round and round the same loop then it gets boring - and boredom is what Zwift is supposed to be solving not adding to!

Well - I don’t know. I guess even tens of courses wouldn’t make a big difference for me - I’m still in my living room afterall :slight_smile: And after few days watching Zwift on big TV screen while riding I moved it back to laptop screen and got back to watching TV or listening to music.

What matters to me are numbers and my numbers are always better when I’m around better cyclists - that’s what I’m looking for in Zwift. I believe just watching Watopia scenery cannot hold anyone on a trainer for more than few times - you better find your motivation to suffer (other than enjoying digital scenery :slight_smile:

@Mark.  Regards the comment - Eric Min has said that new courses will only be added when there are enough riders around that the place doesn’t feel too empty.

I think that this ultimately will mean the end of my custom at some point and I’m not sure where this logic comes from.  I appreciate that riding with others on the course can be fun / interesting, but when it comes down to it this is training, it’s not World of Warcraft. Whilst riding in a group can be fun noone else is pedalling for you, noone else is feeling that pain, it’s very much a single effort.  In fact there are times as a cyclist you just want to head out solo and undisturbed.

Even if we had 1,000 wildly different tracks to choose from (like the huge universe of WoW) then people would simply arrange groups via tools Zwift would provide.  Following the WoW analogy you would simply use the LFG tool, find a group doing something you like at you pace want and join (or create one).  Wow has lasted so long because the scope of where you can go and what you can do is practically limitless and still expanding, had they stood still they’d now have a vastly reduced hardcore remaining.

I too loved the sound of a Watopia themepark of different courses, so to hear that this is being backtracked is quite heartbreaking.  From our current limited schedule I vastly prefer Watopia, which is strange because in theory logic says the longer and less hilly course should suit my riding style more.

That’s the thing isn’t it, there’s no reason why Zwift can’t cater for everyone. Longer courses which will probably be less busy, but that’s fine, or shorter ones where more riders will be around. Shouldn’t be too hard to display ahead of time how many riders are on which course or a series of upcoming events to choose from.

I totally agree with Eric Min’s logic here.

Look at previous attempts at multiplayer trainer workouts like Netathlon and Tacx TTS Multiplayer.  Both offered a variety of different courses, but ultimately weren’t very popular because you were lucky to find two or three people riding on any of the courses at any one time.  The thing that makes Zwift unique is that there are usually hundreds of riders on the course at any one time, and that makes it always possible to fall into a group if you desire anytime without having to schedule rides, signup, and start at a specific time which the other multiplayer training software basically had you do. Quite frankly, the hundreds of other riders on the course is what makes the Zwift experience unique.  I can always just ride Tacx TTS or BKool’s software if I want to basically ride by myself or against my previous rides.

Adding too many additional courses that users are able to select would water down the experience and probably turn Zwift into Netathlon and then ultimately suffer the same fate.

There are many options to “train by the numbers”, but Zwift is the only option for a true MMO experience,  I hope Eric sticks to his guns on this.

And I would love to see them bring back Jarvis Island every now and then. 

All valid points. But I’m still getting bored with the same course every day. There is middle ground - have a few courses to choose from showing the number of riders currently in each - letting us decide how busy a road we want to join. Want to make one course more active? - schedule group rides.

@Buster.  I hear you, but the one thing Zwift has that no other cycling trainer software has is that it takes on a life of its own.  It is almost like a place where you know people will always be riding, and you can join in at any time you like and there will be lots of people to ride with lots of varying abilities.  Want to take it easy, jump on to a slower group, want to really push it, there will be plenty of fast groups to ride with. It is in essence a community that is active 24/7.

Start diluting things with too many courses, and you risk losing that.  I have used multi-player trainer software for 10+ years starting with the early days of Netathlon and Tacx VR.  They would schedule a ride at 5:30PM EST, and three or four people would show up … I am not a fan of the whole scheduling group rides thing.  I like to just show up and find a group to ride with on my schedule.  I think if Zwift ever gets to the point where there are 1000s of concurrent riders, than yes, it would be fine to have multiple course options.  But as it is now, when there are only 200 or so people on Richmond, you can ride for quite a while without encountering any live riders.

Quite honestly, I don’t even notice the scenery most of the time I am riding, I am more concerned with catching the group in front of me, or maybe trying to stay ahead of the group behind.

Maybe one compromise might be to alter the existing courses (Richmond and Watopia) periodically.  Add different climbs, maybe shorten the course some days, etc.  That would still keep everyone in one place, but would add some variety.  But I think keeping everyone in one place for now is key.

Bob - I think we agree. I’m not looking for 10 courses, just a couple - or to your point, variation - or in a perfect world be able to make some ‘turns’ to explore other areas of the map (even single track?).

“new courses will only be added when there are enough riders” doesn’t add up entirely. There could be 100 available courses, but if they’re only available one or two at a time there will always be “enough riders” on them. Even now with Zwift’s 600 riders at typical times there are enough to support Richmond and Watopia. 300 riders on each is still more than we had through most of the time I was on beta. And if only 50 pick Richmond, well that speaks volumes about the type of course the majority of riders want.

Ideally they should add more maps, but keep them on a rotation, so not all maps are available at the same time. Rather let the rider pick from a set of 3 daily selected maps:

  1. Flat
  2. Hilly
  3. Climb

This keeps in variation, whilst still keeping up the player numbers and giving the rider the choice on what sort of environment (s)he wants to ride in today.

Unfortunately rotation simply doesn’t work.  Many people can only ride on certain days and when they can they would like to choose their route. As an example I already actively try to avoid days where Richmond is live.

If there were many courses available and you could see where people are then you can easily choose whether to join the masses or ride with less people on a course that suits your mood better.

Tools such as LFR (Looking for Race) and LFG (Looking for Group) could be easily created by Zwift to help create mass events / groups for those looking for that too.  So it would always be possible to quickly find others to ride with.

@Andrew … that sounds a lot like the Yahoo group that Netathlon used to maintain. You basically had to go to it to find out when the rides were scheduled. 

Personally, I am not a fan of that.  I just want to log on at anytime (due to work schedule, it literally can be any time) and have enough people on the course to feel like it is a vibrant community with many groups to join.  

I am totally fine with many courses being available, but there has to be a minimum threshold of riders maintained on the course(s) to not dilute the community.  I think that number is somewhere north of 200 riders.  I mean honestly, I have a Tacx trainer with their TTS software.  They have many VR courses, but I never rode them.  There just wasn’t anything that engaging about them.  They also tried multi-player, but again, they would schedule rides, and a few would show up, but nothing like Zwift.

Lets not forget, multiplayer VR training software is nothing new, but what is new is the approach Zwift has taken.  That is having everyone on one course at the same time.  So far, Zwift is the only one that has had success, and I think it is precisely because they didn’t follow the failed formula of the others.  



Hi Bob.  My LFR and LFG suggestions are ripped straight from World of Warcraft which is probably the biggest MMPORPG of all time.

These allow players to go off and explore anywhere they wish, but if they ever want to join other players they can simply press a key, select these tools and within seconds be ported to group / raid they wish to be a part of.  So this way people like you feel happy surrounded by other players and at the same time others can choose to ride a course which fits with their mood / training programme.

To a certain extent Zwift can do what it wants right now because it’s the best software of it’s kind by a mile, the hardcore shed enthusiasts will always flock to it because any course here beats looking at the shed wall :wink:  but if Zwift wants to attract and keep the more casual riders (which is a far bigger potential audience)  then choice and variety will be key.  

I think Eric Min’s comment was misinterpreted here. My understanding is the ability to choose courses will only be available when the courses become too crowded. I don’t think his comment was referring to adding new courses.

I suspect that the event functionality will include the ability to select which course an event will be held on. It may take some time until that feature goes live, though.

And the extension of Watopia was promised in december !! so this must be comming i the next couple of days or so

Christmas Present !! Be patient, Santa is on the way.

To keep things simple, I would like to see only a small selection of various distance rides like 30 mi, 50 mi, metric, century. I love Zwift but would like some longer rides to reduce the monotony even further.

Let’s just be thankful that Zwift is here!  I love it.  I just blast the music and zone out.  Sprint when you want to sprint, climb hard when you want to, tag along with a group if you want, or just putt along by yourself.  I would be happy with different choices, but i’m also happy to ride whatever day or course it is.

I think that its all going to be fine on the island. Lots of different ways to get about the island and not just separate courses like Richmond. Choosing the way you go was the best decision. It always seems too crowded on Richmond. with no reverse. The most I have seen on was 1400. that’s OK on the Island but way too many for Richmond.