Dynamic Pace Partners:
When I open up zwift, the guide under pace partners says, “Hang out and find new friends in a steady ride led by one of our pace partners”. This sentence is the only “documentation” I can find regarding Pace Partners in game. If someone googles zwift pace partners, they might come across this article from velonews:
“Pace partners are bots in Zwift that ride at perfectly steady paces, allowing players in the game to draft and stay at a targeted effort”
Unfortunately, these steady rides are becoming more and more less steady.
Unless the rides are flat and with a small group one is unable to stay at a
steady effort or
targeted effort. That again, is unfortunate.
Regarding the addition of dynamic pacing:
Firstly, zwift already had a mechanism for dynamic pacing. It is called topography. When a route goes uphill riders have to put out more watts to stay with the pace partner than when they are on the flats. This is dynamic pacing.
Now, one might say, that’s not true, when there are a large group of riders, they pull the pace partner faster on the flats, and then riders have to ride the same pace on the flats as they do on the climb. However, for the people at the front that were pulling the pace partner along, now they have to slow in order to stay with partner. Although there are slightly more pace makers than there were before, the way you have handled this is by adding dynamic pacing so even the people pulling the pace maker may have to increase wattage and the people at the back now have to increase wattage even more. I don’t understand how this solves anything related to
a steady ride.
Diluting the experience. You have mentioned that zwift may limit the number of pace partners:
“We’re likely to end up with 8 Pace Partners. We don’t want to add more than that at a risk of further dilluting the experience, otherwise we’ll never end adding more and more because someone isn’t happy that their exact request isn’t taken account of.
I think is a bad argument (slippery slope) and is just an arbitrary number. If 8 zwift bots incorporates some magic zones that 8 includes everybody, great, but I don’t think so. I believe you could have, let’s say 20 bots, another arbitrary number, and take care of the “vast majority” of user requests. I don’t think the comment “we’ll never end adding more and more” is a very useful.
I also think, saying you’re diluting the experience is not correct, especially at high w/kg. Currently, as you go up in pace, there are fewer and fewer people using them. Does this mean in today’s game, zwift thinks I have a worse experience with A Pacer than I do with B pacer and likewise, I have an even better experience with C than with B. I would hope not (that is why there is more than one pace partner already). I may be wrong, but I don’t see many A and B riders complaining that the problem with a pacer is that there is not another person following the partner. Instead as w/kg values go up, it would be very likely that person using the bot is trying to incorporate that bot into their specific training more and more. Zwift users at lower abilities have very different experiences and how they use zwift is very different than higher abilities. Not adding more A and B pacers because it would “dilute the experience” goes against everything I know about A and B riders. Instead, adding more would allow high ability users to integrate them into their workouts and it would not affect C and D users at all.
This is one of your comments in your back and forth with Kenny_Mcallister.
“I’ve seen you join Coco a number of times recently so it can’t be that bad?”
“Genuinely happy to receive all feedback, both good and bad.
I was just curious as to why you continued to ride with something that you didn’t like.”
From reading Kenny_M’s comments it appears that he really liked the consistency of past pace makers. If you are “genuine” and “actually curious” to why he rode with the pace maker I’ll do my best to answer for him – if he hasn’t answered for himself yet; it’s because, the pace makers are a really good feature, I would say, thousands of users like them, and the ones that don’t, aren’t affected. He doesn’t dislike the pace makers now, he just likes them less, and wish that we could have a little consistency. If you genuinely didn’t understand why he decided to use a part of a service he is paying for, then I’ll leave it at that, else, it seemed in poor taste. If you’re really looking for what people like the most, why can’t zwift just make 10 C pace bots and see which routes people like the most.
[Link to Last Week's Discussion] (https://forums.zwift.com/t/pace-partner-weekly-update-w-c-27th-june/586219/7?u=callum_shayer_vision)
Setting the Pace Partners so that they could not use Non Draft.
There was a short-lived trial where the pace makers were set to non-draft. This may have worked well if there was any information about it. Or, if zwift just set everybody who started a ride with a pace maker to a TT bike. Because this was removed, and this TT bike never seemingly even an option as an automatic, it seems very likely in my head, that zwift is intending to keep the bots as they are – which are follow based (the goal is to follow the pace partner, not lead the pace partner). Dynamic pacing should not be implemented for those who want to go faster and are already leading the pace partner, rather they should be told, just move up to a higher level pace partner.
I’m not sure how 10% more power on hills was determined. If the goal is to follow and draft off a pace partner, exceedingly more common at high levels, this can be a big jump. Pace partner 3.0 does 3.3 on a climb, 3.3 to 3.6/3.7, 3.8 to 4.2, 4.2 to 4.6+.
This indicates the jump that the pace partner does, not the jump that the rider following the pace partner does. Now, from the paragraph above, I “believe” that zwift is designing pace partners to be followed, or else (if they were to be matched, zwift would put all pace partners on TT bikes and put yourself on a TT bike) so we have to think that the average person, using the 3.0 pace partner, might really only be going 2.7, a user using 3.3 pace partner could tag along at 2.9-3.0 etc etc…. 3.8 > 3.2-3.4 and 4.2 > 3.5-3.7. So based on topographic dynamic pacing, I already expect to go up 10% to match the pace partner on the hill. Now, with extra dynamic pacing, I have to go up 20%, even more for High B and A pace partners. This really gets to a point where the rides are no longer steady, and in fact, just intervals. (And that how in fact I use A partners, it really just is an interval ride)
The comment below echoes that conclusion
[type or paste code here] (https://forums.zwift.com/t/pace-partners-weekly-update-w-c-4th-july/586381/19?u=callum_shayer_vision)
I like the attitude, and I’m not against it, it just doesn’t follow the goal of how pace partners are currently marketed.
I would like to see some more consistency in routes so I can plan ahead. If you look at my history you would see that I really enjoy using pace makers. I looked forward to it in the past. With the current changes, it’s much more, well, this is the best I’ve got at the moment so I’ll use it.
I don’t think adding more pace partners dilutes to experience for anyone, and definitely adds to it for high ability riders.
I think that you should add dynamic pacing, just make it its own thing. I would definitely use it. If you changed the route on items, so that I got some easy vo2 max intervals in without having to slow way up for B to catch me that would be great. Hilly route or figure 8 reverse, but dynamic pacing at 30%. Hey everybody, get your steady efforts on our bots that go on the flats (or up hills, but go 10% slower on the hills so you really keep people in the same zone) but also, say, on your interval days say go to interval pace partners and we have a bot doing 1-4 minute vo2 stuff, and another doing loops of 15 minute climbs. People could choose a different level pacer if they are doing long vs short intervals, I might do A for vo2, and B for 15 minute etc.
Hopefully, you can see that I’ve put some time and effort into writing this. I know I pay for this service every month, and if you make it slightly worse, I won’t just quit because I like what it has to offer, but there are ways to benefit all users (I think with very little structural code work) regarding the comments in the paragraph above and I would encourage looking at implementing those.
Also, I’ll be riding Beach Island this week as that is the flat route. Would really dislike moving down to an even lower number of pace partners than the 11 that are listed now.
Is this the only place I can find routes for upcoming days?