I use both dumb and smart trainers, and while it is nice that the smart trainers like kickr have power meters, the ability to have a change in resistance (sim mode) going between climbs/flats/descents is really over-rated. I don’t get anything out of having to rapidly switch between big and small chainrings, I still have to put out the wattage if I want to go at a particular speed for a given incline, cadence, and wind resitance. Plus, some of these climbs in-game would require people to be in the lowest gear and still pushing 200+ Watts to avoid moving so uncomfortably slowy that you might lose balance or be spending more time wobbling left and right, if it were the same incline in real life. The game is much more forgiving in this respect.
So Instead, I put my kickr in standard mode or erg mode and have all the power range I need just staying in the large chainring and working with the rear shifting.
And I know I’m not looking for more “realism” since I don’t expect an online cycling platform to be able to help improve my piloting/cornering skills, or to stay in a peloton without bumping people and causing crashes. And there is not the same thrill you get from descents in game vs real life.
The feedback/criticisms about the social elements of the game seem very valid though these are straightforward features that someone just needs to write code for and test. I tend to give Zwift more lee-way since the game’s target audience is a fairly narrow demographic of cycling enthusiasts, versus other games that can rely on vast masses of sedentary gamers to support a team of 100 developers.