Monday, December 22, 2014

Habit RPG - Gamifying My Life

Gamification is a subject I'm very interested in. The idea of using the engaging features of games to improve other areas of ones life, such as in education, is an awesome one. So, when I heard of HabitRPG, I was instantly interested. In this post, I'll talk a bit about what Habit RPG is, what parts of it's systems I especially like, and how well I think it accomplishes it's goals.

What Is Habit RPG?

HabitRPG is a todo system designed to bring the progression, rewards, and penalties of RPGs to bear against procrastination and laziness. You can defeat your tasks and habits to gain experience and money, and sometimes gear drops. The money can be used to buy gear, or to award yourself with things in real life. Failing to complete daily tasks or performing bad habits will cause you to lose life, possibly dying and losing money and equipment.

Task Types

HabitRPG has a bunch of different types of tasks:

  • Habits can be good or bad, and which can be improved or reduced. For example, I have a habit "Eat Well" which I increase when I eat fruits and vegetables, and decrease when I eat junk food like crisps. Decreasing a habit damages your character.
  • Dailies are tasks which must be done each day (or certain days of the week). If you don't finish a daily by the end of the day, your character is damaged.
  • To-Dos are more general taks and don't have to have a due date. They won't damage you if you don't finish them, but still reward you if you complete them.

Difficulty and Task Value

One of the big strengths in Habit RPG is the ability to customize tasks with a difficulty, and the auto adjustment of rewards based on difficulty and other factors. Higher difficulty tasks are more rewarding to the player, but also deal more damage when left incomplete. Tasks also naturally change in value over time based on how successful the player has been in completing them in the past (dailies and habits) or based on how long they have been sitting undone for To-Do tasks. This system organically encourages players to work on Habits, Dailies, or To-Dos that are troubling them, to avoid massive damage and to get bigger rewards. It also means they are protected if they mess up a daily that have previously been very strong in.

Party It Up

Another huge strength is a party system. Playing together with others encourages accountability, and encourages you to log in often to buff your friends to help them out. You can choose different classes to provide different kinds of buffs, such as healing, damage buffs, and increased drops.

Custome Rewards

The ability to define custom real life rewards to buy with your Habit RPG coins has also been a pretty good motivator for me. However, this naturally only works well if you limit yourself to these rewards when you buy them, and I haven't always had enough will power to do this.

The Tavern

I've also found it very helpful that, if due to unusual circumstances (huge overtime at work, illness, travel) you cannot complete your dailies, you can check in to the tavern in order to avoid taking damage from them. There are some times when you really can't hold yourself to doing daily tasks, and the game offering a way to deal with this is essential.

Does It Work?

So far, my experience with HabitRPG has been pretty positive. I have found that negative reinforcement seems to motivate me more than rewards - for example, if I've been damaged and am about to die, I'll work super hard to get enough experience to level up and heal up. I've found the red tasks motivating as well, as I hate seeing them sit there and feel like I need to get rid of them. It's been nice having friends that are actively using it as well, which helps keep me motivated. Overall I really recommend if you need a little something to keep you on track with your goals, whatever those may be!

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