Only 3 worlds? Should it be more? What do you think?

This is just an opinion question.

I am a new user and I am positively surprised to see 30.000+ users at the same time (at peak hours). Considering that quite a few of those only do a 20 minute workout or something, that is quite a large number.

I really like Makuri Island (and the new Urukazi part is just amazing) and I am going to be a little bit sad when the calendar shifts and we get two other worlds.
I was lucky enough to be one of the very firsts who managed to log in to the new maps on the live server(s) and I didn’t mind to see a few less people around. I do not need to have 200+ avatars around me to feel engaged.

So I was wondering. What do you guys think about the world limitations? Do you think it is good to only have 3 worlds at the same time?

I am sure Zwift has it’s reasons and they have internal and scientific tools to decide what number of open worlds is the right one… I was just wondering what you think.

(I know there is a world hack out there, but I am new, so I still have plenty of routes to explore).

All worlds are available all the time if you initiate a workout or meetup and you can go badge hunting. And if Makuri isn’t on rotation, just join a Makuri pace partner to get there which is even easier. Doesn’t need the world hack, very simple and a lot of people do this.

Back when only the world hack was available, it was fairly easy to find a relatively isolated world, but these days, not so much.


Did you actually answer the question?

If I understand it correctly your answer is: you can bypass the limitations. But you didn’t answer what you think about the limitations. Should they be removed? Is it a good idea that we have it? Should the number of worlds that we can visit without bypassing increase?

My opinion is I’m very happy with the limitations. Yes it is a good idea to just have three worlds, I like that the three worlds are relatively well populated.

Those who would like to ride wherever in unpopulated worlds may do so.

Those who like to ride in populated worlds would not have the ability to ensure they can if everyone was spread around all the worlds.

I hope that actually answers the question you have asked.



How many other riders do you need to have the feeling it is well populated?

Four would be better now; Watopia and Makuri are developed enough to be live at all times, with two guest worlds on rotation.

Given that there are now Pace Partners on Makuri at all times anyway (plus you can make workouts/meetups anywhere), we’re almost at that stage already. Might as well just make it less annoying. Arguably the game actually needs to be less crazily populated in certain spots IMO.


I kind of think pace partners should be on worlds that aren[t on rotation, i don’t like riding in big groups and often get stuck in a massive group following a pace partner and it usually means i have to actually stop pedalling for a bit to fall out of the group which is pretty annoying.

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I was probably focusing on the fact that you were new and I’m well used to working with the tools Zwift provide to ride anywhere, however to answer your question re worlds on rotation - I think you have to look at people’s motivations for why they ride where they do. I’m possibly a poor example as I pick a world that has routes that fit with my riding goal on any given day and don’t mind whether those worlds are super-busy or quiet.

I know some people chase XP so will go for busy worlds where they can draft and clock up the km’s quicker than riding on their own. Others like chatting. We all have different motivations when we ride and we seem to co-exist fairly well.

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I agree with this. As there are ways to select any route at any time, users have the choice of busy or quiet.

I suspect that many people, even if they don’t actively seek population density, still appreciate it. And maybe they don’t even think about it while they are appreciating it. I say that because (anecdotally) it’s the most common complaint I hear about RGT and Rouvy and other services–‘platform works great, good visuals, but it’s a ghost town’.

Same concept for a store IRL. If you go to a store to buy something, or a gym to workout, you’re going to be more likely to think of it as a good store or a good gym if it has a certain density of shoppers/users. Obviously YMMV for what that density is, and you don’t want shoulder-to-shoulder. But what you don’t want if it’s your business is someone walking in and getting the impression that ‘man, no one comes here’. People react (usually positively) to things that are popular and well-liked, and number of users visible using the product gets that message across.

So that said, if the number of Zwift users was large enough in comparison to the number of worlds, they could achieve the same results with more worlds open. It’s not like 3 is a magic number.

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But you can still see how many people are in each world so if you want to ride with a lot of people go for one of the worlds that has a lot of people on it, if you want quieter roads, go where there are fewer. Let people choose, it is unlikely all the people will be evenly distributed so will always be a mix of the two

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I understand the motivation to let people choose. I’m just saying that, as a marketing strategy, making it easy for people, including new users, to end up in a place where it looks like no one uses the product is probably less than ideal.

These things affect us on a less than rational, less than conscious level. Just like colors of packaging or beads of condensation dripping down the picture of the can of Coke. Nobody says “I want a Coke because of those beads of water”, and plenty of people will tell you “I never choose which products to buy because of the color of the packaging.” But we do :slight_smile: Similarly, my claim is that the Zwift population density is, for a lot of people, helping make it more enjoyable for them. And I suspect it’s for a lot more people than even realize it.

And I also suspect that it might be better, from a marketing perspective, to force all users into a few worlds (even if some of them don’t like it) than to risk losing those new riders who stop using the software because (even if they can’t explain why) they’re not enjoying it.

To be clear, I’m not saying marketing concerns are my favorite thing in the world either–just that Zwift, as a business, is likely to be very concerned about these things.

Here’s an interesting paper that seems relevant. It’s a restaurant study, but it discusses crowd size and customer happiness (measured here in evals of servers). Their finding is that, for people who are using the restaurant for utilitarian purposes (just need to get some food), larger crowd sizes are worse. But for people using the restaurant for enjoyment, larger crowd sizes are better.

I’d think it would be similar for Zwift. People who ‘just want to workout’ don’t care who else is around–to the degree that they just want to workout. When enjoyment enters the mix, now the crowd size will start to become important. And it seems, for many Zwift users, to be a mix. A lot of people use Zwift to workout, but also because it’s enjoyable.

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personally I’d like to see all worlds available all the time, having to wait for a certain world to be available to ride a specific route can be annoying, yes it can be done via clubs and meetups but that isn’t the point

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It would be very easy to order the worlds by how many people are in them.

I remember the days when there used to be blue bots cycling around to bulk up the numbers.

as an aside - look how much better the gradient graph was back then!m

That is snazzy looking :slight_smile:

I don’t disagree that it would be easy. But part of the secret marketing sauce is always that people don’t really know how these things affect them. And so one of the axioms of marketing is that people don’t really know what will make them happy. Someone might think that they really want less population density, and then use those worlds, find themselves not enjoying it, but not know why they aren’t enjoying it. Or blame it on something else–graphics, drafting, whatever. So from a business standpoint, the company has to figure out whether the cost of losing those people is worth more than the cost of making users who would like a change a little unsatisfied.

So if some people would really like more worlds but continue to use the product, and they think they would lose customers by making that change…they aren’t likely to make it. Even if N customers left because the change wasn’t made, if a sufficiently bigger >N would have left if the change was made, the choice there seems easy.

Another way to put it is that, when you’re trying to maximize both the number of customers, and their overall satisfaction, sometimes ‘more choices and more freedom’ is counterproductive. To use restaurants again as an analogy, it’s usually the case that more menu options leaves customers less happy with their food and the whole experience at the restaurant. Even when the kitchen could easily make more items. And even when some customers complain (but keep coming) about the limited menu. And even if some customers don’t come back (so long as more new customers are coming and keep coming back). Some of the unhappy customers really would have a better experience with a longer menu. But others only think they would, and they really wouldn’t.

I don’t have the numbers of course, and I’m not a statistician so I’d just stare at them and ask for someone to make them make sense :smiley: But it’s a common principle they’re following. Car companies could offer their cars in a much wider range of paint schemes, pretty easily. They could even do custom paint. They could even have a ‘design your own paint scheme’ website when you’re buying a brand new car. But then some frat dude would laugh and buy a Camry with penises painted all over it, and would find out later that he really doesn’t like it–but it would be Toyota who would look bad. So they pick 6 or 7 colors and run with it.

There used to be no choice, then there was 2 then there was 3. If your theory is correct were they wrong to introduce more choice?

if they weren’t then why would they be wrong now?

It has to do with density. If they have the numbers, then more worlds will still work. It’s not a static thing–3 worlds isn’t a magic number. If the user base grows large enough, you’d have enough users to open them all. If not, you don’t. So I’d guess that they offered 1 world, as as more users came onboard, they offered 2, and then 3. That would be expected with a growing user base.

But it could of course be the case that they didn’t make ideal choices all the time. Or that they were experimenting to try to find what that ideal density was. So, yeah, they might not have made the right choice each time. And they might not be making the right choice now. I’m just talking about why they might be making these choices.

There are other factors too. The perception of scarcity is another one–if something is commonplace, it becomes less valuable. So if you were Zwift and you happened to think that one of your worlds wasn’t as good as the others and might not get used if it was open all the time (looking at you, Yorkshire), one way to keep people happier with it would be to not let them use it all the time. Then it’s a treat, and you don’t get used to it and realize it’s not great. Scarcity also works with really good products. Restaurants could offer prime rib every night of the week, but they make Fridays ‘prime rib night’ because they end up selling way more prime rib that way than if they offered it every night. Even while some people say “I wish we could get prime rib every night”.

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I don’t like crowded roads. If you wanted to be shoulder to shoulder with people and in the draft the whole time, you can do a group ride or pace partner. But when I free ride I like some space. So whatever would make that more possible would be my vote :blush:.

I agree. But I also don’t usually find myself shoulder to shoulder on free rides, maybe I’m just getting lucky. I did the 5th Makuri Stage solo last night, and I think I passed/was passed by maybe 30 people in the 24+km. Granted a lot of people seemed to be looping in the opposite direction :slight_smile:

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