XP and Gamifying Enhancements

Zwift is infinitely more interesting and fun than just spinning away on a regular indoor trainer while you stare at the wall. In my opinion, a big part of that comes from “gamifying” the riding experience: You want to level up, unlock new stuff, complete quests, and reach new accomplishments and milestones. For those of us who aren’t necessarily in it just for the increased fitness and ability, the gamifying factor helps to keep it interesting and motivating.

A big part of the gamifying the riding experience is leveling up, and in the course of grinding away for 800km/500mi on the bike, I noticed something: For an average Joe who’s just trying to lose weight, leveling up takes a very long time. And I’m usually trying to gain XP as efficiently as possible: ride the Volcano Circuit on a TT bike with distance measured in metric units, and try to earn badges that will award me with 1000XP.

But after all the time and distance I’ve put in, I’m still not even Level 12 yet. That in and of itself isn’t so bad, but then I look at some of the items that can be unlocked for my avatar and see that I won’t even get a new helmet until Level 24, and I won’t get a new pair of shoes until Level 27. Yikes. (I won’t get into how there’s not nearly enough customization options for your avatar in terms of hair, facial hair, and a bunch of other stuff, since that’s another story)

Maybe to some, it’s not about unlocking new stuff, but for me, I automatically feel less incentive to play the game when I think about the immense amount of miles I’m going to have to put in just get a lousy pair of sunglasses or a new helmet.

I think it might be helpful to give the rider more options for gaining XP faster (like some new badges), and also pepper in some small new goodies for the rider to unlock at more regular intervals, so you don’t have to gain like 19 levels (or however many levels it is) between unlocking your 2nd helmet and your 3rd helmet.

I think adding badges would make the game more fun and interesting: Badges reward the rider for playing the game and also for trying all of the routes and stages: Complete X number of laps of the Jungle Circuit or the Hilly Loop, complete a lap of the Mega Pretzel, etc. Also, why not reward the rider for reaching certain lifetime distance or climbing milestones? (1000km, 5000km, 10000km, etc.) All of these little gamifying enhancements help to keep the rider motivated and interested in pushing on.

Lastly, from an XP and leveling-up perspective, why is the rider punished for climbing? XP are only awarded based solely on distance: 20XP per km or 30XP per mile. I almost find it hard to believe that distance climbed has no bearing on XP. You have to bust your butt for every single kilometer when you’re riding a steep climb, but XP-wise, you don’t see a single XP point for all that work. Why not throw the rider a bone and give them at least like 30XP for each 100 meters climbed (10XP for every 100 ft)? If the rider is trying to level up, he’s going to avoid climbing, and that takes away a big part of the game and the routes that he could be exploring.

Anyone else feel the same way about these things?

Well Zwift did just add the Drop Shop, so I think that fills part of your request.

I agree: the drop shop is a nice addition and adds a new dimension of gaming to Zwift. But there’s still plenty of room for adding even more layers of gamification.

1 Like

i know it’s controversial, but i really like withholding some of the roads by level. i was absurdly determined to get to level 10 so that i could ride the jungle circuit. and then, when i did get there, the reward was new roads!


I do agree with you Dan, unfortunately I have been on Zwift long enough that I never had the opportunity to unlock Roads. :frowning:

It will be nice if all new roads have this requirements. I will also add that if you are above the required level if a road get released you still have to do some sort of challenge before you can unlock the road.


It has never affected me, but I hate the idea of locking anything like that behind levels. We all pay the same subscription, so should have access to the same content. Not the same content in a month or two when we’ve levelled up.


Shouldn’t that apply to everything in game then? Some people I race against have better equipment because they have been on the app longer. Makes it all the more sweeter when I beat them mind you. “don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades”


No, I don’t think so.

You can ride any road on any bike. That’s very different from being blocked from riding a road at all.

eh, zwift’s a game. sure, it’s more than just a game, but since it IS a game, you can expect some level locked items and locations, just like any other game. people pay the same monthly subscription price to play wow, yet people who have been at it longer have access to better items and different parts of the world than someone who just started off. (full disclosure, i don’t play wow so i don’t know the specifics, but still)

that’s how mmos work, take it or leave it.

there are badges you earn, just as the op is asking for. they must have missed that part. you can access the badges screen in-game.

drop shop is new, give it some time and i bet there’ll be more soft goods and hard goods to unlock at more levels, more frequently too. i’m excited to see how this all pans out.


Comparing it to WoW isn’t a valid comparison as far as I’m concerned. I don’t actually remember if anywhere is WoW is actually level locked - I know I could enter zones far above my level when I played in vanilla days. Maybe Onyxia’s Lair as that required a long attunement quest chain. But apart from that I don’t remember ever coming up against a zone wall and being told “Nope, you can’t go this way.”

But the amount of content in WoW far exceeds what’s available in Zwift. And at a lower cost.

And just because some MMOs lock content behind levels, doesn’t mean all do, or must. It doesn’t even mean it’s a good practice.

again, i’ve never played wow so i don’t know the game’s specifics, i was using it as an example - which i suppose i shouldn’t’ve.

my point stands, though. i get that you and some others don’t care for zwift the game’s choice to have some things level locked, but it’s pretty standard practice with video games.

take it or leave it.

The most efficient method of earning XP in my opinion is by doing workouts. You will earn a minimum of 10 XP per minute, which depending on your fitness level, could potentially be much faster than earning XP free riding. Plus, that rate of 10 XP per minute applies uphill. So for you at level 12, you have access the Alpe du Zwift. You could do a workout while climbing, earning 10 XP per minute while also logging 3500 feet of elevation toward the Trek Emonda and the Tron bike. Then when you get to the top you will very likely get a helmet or gloves, and with luck the Mellenstein Light- Weight wheels. After that, you can earn 7.5 miles of XP on the descent without any effort by simply coasting down, or earn a few thousand drops by pushing minimal watts.

I’ve leveled up from level 8 to 21 since October, earned the Emonda, over 60% toward the Tron, and won light weight wheels while riding only about 50 miles per week this way.

Edit: formatting


That’s not the point of a Feedback forum.


To be fair I was just stirring it. It’s how most games work. You unlock more the longer you spend on it.

i was doing this for a while, but eventually i got bored of riding the first 14 turns of ADZ over and over (about all i could get in 50 mins)

I’m not sure how the focus of this thread became whether or not certain roads should be level-locked. That wasn’t the point of my post.

The point of the post is that the game could be made more interesting by making some relatively minor changes or additions to ways that riders can earn XP: more badges, XP for climbing, etc.

It was also about giving the rider more interesting things to look forward to, especially in terms of rider customization, especially beyond Level 12. (Like not having to reach Level 24 just to get another helmet)

1 Like

You earn Drops at an accelerated rate while going up inclines of 3% or more, so I wouldn’t expect any addition XP for climbing. The Drop Shop has also filled the gap as far as customization is concerned.

More items will be added to the Drop Shop as time goes by so you will be able to customize your bike and avatar more in the future.

Some of us have been riding for years on Zwift and put on a lot of miles to get to level we are at and you’ll get there also with time Andy miles.

Ride On!

Yes, agree it would be cool to add some badges. Example: personal best budges. Lets say after 3 trials on some route you could earn personal best yearly badge. For each personal best time you gain xxxx points or drops as an example… Something similar exist in Garmin Connect.
Other examples could be taken from Strava or Garmin: ride between 4 and 5 in the morning and receive XXX badge, ride Sunday morning and receive xxxx, make 3 rides in the week and receive xxx points etc…

In the present state of the game, I do understand Dean, even with a new Drop Shop, there is no real incentive after let’s say lvl12-15, since most of the bikes or gear make not real difference than those of lvl 20-25, 25-30. Well, beside the Tron bike )), and Alpe wheels… The Tron bike actually a really good incentive, but I think that it could be improved even more, already wrote about it in another topic (for some additional climbing some additional features could be brought to the Tron bike, example: climb 50km receive a Tron, climb 80km - make it 250gr lighter, climb 125km receive Tron special aerodynamic jersey or helmet etc…

Hey, tron is already one of the best, especially if you are not in elite club owners super9 combo wheels) want a peloton of trons only? Me not. Currently i jumped from the tron to brand new scott foil, painted it as i want and enjoy riding it. But zwift insider speed tests say that it ~35 secs slower than tron on mixed terrain (volcano climb route) . Not sure if i want this gap to be increased. Huge one for 23km!
Would be good if every bike can be upgraded in some way, not concept z1 only.

1 Like

Just because you said this, the future expansions will be available when you reach level 51 on onwards. :upside_down_face: