Recently I was sitting at my desk here in the Zwift Insider Pain Lab, watching Boone on his Wahoo KICKR Bike trying to hang with the Bs in Crit City.
Being a faithful teammate, I was in charge of deploying powerups. When Boone got stuck with a ghost/invisibility powerup on the final lap, we decided to hold it until the final ~15 seconds. But when I hit the spacebar to activate, nothing happened! Glancing at the screen, I noticed the ghost powerup icon was greyed out. Disabled?
This is something I’d never seen before, or heard of anywhere in the Zwiftosphere. Reaching out to a few contacts at ZwiftHQ didn’t clear things up – one told me they vaguely remembered some talk about disabling the ghost in the final 100m of a race, but hadn’t heard if that was in game yet.
So I decided to test it. Which is a bit of a pain in the but, I have to say! First, you have to find races which include a custom mix of powerups which includes the ghost. (ZwiftHacks’ events app was a lifesaver here.) Then I had to join those races, ride until I got a ghost powerup, then hold it to the finish to see what happened.
It took some doing, but in the end I believe I’ve confirmed this: the ghost powerup is disabled in races within 200 meters of the finish.
This has been confirmed in races in NYC, Watopia, and Crit City thus far. So I think it’s safe to assume the powerup behaves this way across all of Zwift.
Confusion or Opportunity?
This 200m limit may be viewed differently, depending on whether you’re a pessimist or an optimist, or perhaps whether it’s you holding the ghost into the finish or your opponent.
A pessimist might say this 200m limit, which isn’t mentioned anywhere in the game, is confusing. (There are no other powerups that get disabled near the finish of races, or anywhere for that matter). This can lead to frustrating situations like what happened with Boone and me, where racers hold the ghost for a final attack but are not able to activate it.
An optimist might say this is a good game design decision from Zwift, because who wants to lose to someone they can’t see? Plus, if you know it’s disabled in the final 200m, you can strategically choose when to activate your ghost powerup for maximum advantage.
A bit of math shows that at 50kph, you’ll cover 139 meters in 10s. 72kph covers 200 meters in 10s, but most finishes in Zwift aren’t moving that fast. So realize you’ll need to activate your ghost before the 200m mark, and you’ll become visible again a handful of seconds before the finish line. Good luck!
Questions or Comments?