The other day, we were talking about the game-based productivity system Habitica from the productivity aspect. Today, let’s look at how Habitica’s developers brought gaming into the mix to make a fun little productivity app. Keep in mind as you read this that I’ve long looked at gamification funny, both as a teacher and as a gaming enthusiast, because it’s so often implemented in a terribly shallow way.
Because Habitica is based on game mechanics, there’s a lot going on. The Dashboard is laid out to really help you make sense of most of it, though, so even as a low-level player, it’s not too hard to manage. The mechanic surrounding completing tasks is probably the most familiar to gamers. When you complete a Habit, Daily, or To-Do, you receive XP (experience points) and gold appropriate to that task (determined by how strong or weak that task is). You can also receive drops. In Habitica, that pretty much amounts to eggs and potions you can combine to create Pets, and food to feed those Pets so they’ll grow into Mounts. If you’re in a party and they’re doing a quest, you may also receive a drop related to your quest. Little notifications will pop up to tell you what you’ve gained when you complete a task.
On the Dashboard, you have a Rewards column (that fourth column I mentioned in the other post). You’re working hard. You can choose to reward yourself. (I used to keep a list of things I could watch when I completed the right task or set of tasks.) As you’re developing your list of rewards, keep in mind what your tasks are worth to you, and think about our recent discussions on external and internal motivation. Some of your rewards will cost you to take advantage of (I have a couple that allow me to blow off a Daily so i won’t take damage when it doesn’t get completed.); others might be free.
At the beginning of the game, you’re a Warrior. But when you reach Level 10, you’ll be invited to select a class. You can remain a Warrior, or choose from Mage, Rogue, or Healer. Each class has its own gear (which will be available for purchase in the Rewards column) and its own class abilities (which are also available in the Rewards column). Choose your class carefully; it’s expensive to switch.
Being a good little online roleplaying game, Habitica has its own social structures that you can join straight off, great for finding like minded people who will help keep you accountable. Guilds are chat areas where you can hang out with other people with similar interests. You can generally find these through the Tavern Chat (also where you go if you need to pause your character for a bit because Real Life got in the way). Guild leaders can create Challenges to help their members develop skills and habits. These are just added to your Dashboard if you accept one. You can join as many Guilds as you can manage.
Parties are much smaller groups with their own chat area, their own ability to create Challenges for members, and the ability to do quests. Quest scrolls (what you need to launch a quest) are earned through events and major activities (like beating an earlier Quest in the sequence), but you can also buy them from the Market. The party will then work together to collect the items or beat the boss by completing their own tasks. When a parry member fails to complete all their Dailies, the entire party takes damage from whatever you’re fighting. You can only join one party at a time.
So, there you have it. A somewhat brief overview of the game-based productivity system Habitica. If you like gaming and need a little fun push to get yourself motivated or just want to meet other people working toward similar goals, definitely check it out.