Someone who enjoys cycling doesn’t require a power meter to anything of the like. Certainly when the motivation changes from something like a social group/fitness type of rides to dedicated competition, things certainly change a bit and power meters become a very important tool. One which is becoming much more accessible every passing year.
We’ve also have reports of power meter emulation that would make your terms of segregation of any kind moot. The reality being that if someone is paying a subscription for the sole purpose of messing with the minds and egos of some competitors, its simply going to happen. So today is zPower users, tomorrow its power meter puffers.
As for the person who openly admitted to cheating, that is one sad sap. Think of the mentality of a person when they get satisfaction off fictional figures from a game. I can’t see a person like that having that much to look forward to.
But hell, we all know people who tend to not live in reality. So in this world of Zwift, or anything even remotely similar, an absolute solution to competition is unlikely to found. I’ve read some good ideas and some awful ones thus far and somewhere down the line, some homogenization of ideas will make something that works for the majority of us and is generally satisfactory.
On a separate note, thanks to global warming I took a ride out on local path nearby to enjoy a bit of the day this past Suday. I hit few PR’s and knocked off the highest top speed on small descent (I stopped that as there were a good number of people around and other deterrents in the area). I felt fresher after the ride than I had in any past outings. I’m a zPower user and I have taken care in process of my setup. Obviously the estimated power in Strava is educated guesswork, but those figures are surprisingly within a couple watts to my Zwift figures in the game. As I do work my way upwards, of course with a little loss in mass and increase in power, I will likely invest a PM to go further. Still, zPower has been very helpful thus far as a beginner and has provided some interesting education. I’m certainly looking forward to do something more challenging and I know the knowledge gained from metrics will help best prepare for it, so I do see the value in the investment.
Given time and good feedback, Zwift has the potential to work with a variety of groups with different interest. I do have a solution to deal with PM emulators, but its going to be a somewhat costly effort to deal with a few nitwits in a video game.