Like most people, I have delusions of grandeur. I expect my free time to be filled with nothing but productivity. Also like most people, shiny things distract me from those dreams. And for every video game, Adventure Time episode, Top Gear binge session, and hour of Redditing I do, I feel bad. Because I could have found a great job, wrote an amazing article, wrote the next chapter of my book, etc. In today’s high tech and high paced internet-centric world, we face an epidemic of distraction. We could all use a little motivation in our lives.
Recently I heard about this great app / web game from a fellow WinPhone carrying friend who was complaining that there was no 1st or 3rd party app for it. But then, a few weeks later, an awesome app developer named AppLevel created a universal app for Windows phones and Windows 8 & 10 computers. Well sheesh, I thought, I guess it’s time to check out this thing. For those not on either platform, there are iOS and Android apps as well.
Now imagine that you can turn your life into a roleplaying game. Except that instead of saving princesses and slaying dragons, you are doing the things that you normally do in your daily life, but you’re getting experience, levels, and loot from doing those terribly boring things. The HabitRPG group seems to understand that what motivates us within games is the silly virtual rewards and competition inherent in the game. So, they took a virtual reward system from free-to-play and roleplaying games, and laid it down as the ground work onto which you can put your own goals daily demands.
How it Works
Here’s what the game’s general user interface looks like, on the website anyway. When you go into the mobile apps, you can imagine the same thing, but in a single column. You’ll go through a helpful tutorial when you first play the game, so don’t feel like you’re getting dropped into this interface when you start out. That said, the general purpose of this interface is simple. You’ve got three categories of tasks that you can create for yourself, and you’ve got a tab of rewards that you can buy with in-game gold that you earn by completing said quests. The rewards you get can vary from equipment that makes your character stronger, to visual flair to spice things up, or even custom rewards that you can set yourself. But I’ll talk about the awesomeness of the rewards later. Let’s talk about those tasks.
Habits are basically things that you would normally reward yourself for doing. They aren’t on a schedule, and you might even like to do them multiple times a day. For instance, every time I sit down and work on my book or eat vegetables, I can hit the little + button. You can even create negative habits by tapping the “edit” pencil and selecting ” – ” instead of ” +. ” This will allow you to punish yourself for doing bad things like eating junk food or spending too much time watching TV. As you complete habits more and more often, they will change color to reflect how often or in-often you actually complete them. The more often you complete a certain habit, the more rewards you will get out of it. Thus, motivating you to keep getting it done.
Dailies are things that happen on a recurring basis. With dailies, instead of hitting a plus button for your reward, you’re checking it off. Typically you’ll get greater rewards with dailies, but the idea is that they occur less often. For instance, I have a daily task for “Saving the horde,” which means staying in and cooking dinner. I have another one for “Tidy the domicile” which is a task that occurs weekly. The less often you are expected to do the task, the greater the reward. Like Habits, Dailies will also escalate in reward value the more often you do them. For dailies you rarely accomplish, you’ll receive less rewards.
To-Do’s are one-time events. You can either schedule a single event with an expected completion date, and yes it rewards you well for completing it on time or early, or you can even schedule a major project with a list of individual steps. I mean heck, you can even use this as a project management tool.
The whole point of this game centers around the idea that you have some things you’d like to get accomplished and need a little motivation to make it happen. Now obviously, if you’re a typical RPG gamer or a mobile gamer, a lot of the stuff that’s already here will appeal to you. You gain gold and experience to “level” yourself up. As you level up and gain in-game money, you can buy equipment, unlock pets and mounts (like my mammoth and lion above), and feed them to make them stronger. Once you get to level 10, you can even choose a class and level up in that class. You can then participate in quests with other players, fight bosses for more loot, and participate in global boss challenges. How do you fight? By completing tasks, obviously. And the better the equipment you have and the stronger your mounts and pets, the more damage you’ll do with each completed task.
But what if you’re not really into the gaming aspects of this thing? Not a problem. You can also create your own personal rewards. Like to indulge in some good TV binging, but not until your chores are done? Not a problem. Obviously this depends on you actually following through with the app, but
As with any free-to-play game, there is of course a gem-like currency that’s easily obtained with real world currency. You can use these gems to unlock eggs, hatching potions, fancy equipment and backgrounds, and various mostly aesthetic things. However, most of you won’t want to pay real money for this. And that’s where things get really interesting.
When I started checking out the challenges area, that’s where I really got blown away. This isn’t just for your own selfish needs, this game has become a way for people to get involved in great things, movements, learn new skills, or just collaborate for a greater goal together. To get to the challenges, you’d need to click on the Social button in the top left, then select challenges.
From there, you’ll be literally assaulted by a smorgasbord of stuff. There are challenges that range from learning how to create pixel art, to learning meditation, to creating a plastic island via recycling, learning a language via Duolingo, and even to providing voice data to the Human Voicebank.
When you join a challenge, you join the group and the Habits, Dailies, To-Dos, and Rewards applicable to this challenge automatically get added to your queue. Not only will doing these tasks give you the typical rewards of any task, you could also win a separate challenge prize that’s designated by the creator of the challenge. Typically, the prize is in the real-money currency, gems. But here’s the best thing about it, even if you don’t win, you still learned a new skill or contributed to something awesome, or generally did something that you wanted to do anyway. And you get normal task rewards too.
And while you’re checking out challenges, you’ll run into cool people. You’ll hear about their guilds and parties. You can even create or join a party with your friends, families, or general goal mates so you can keep an eye on each other’s progress. You can create challenges within your own party and sync up your progress. Even if you have no friends and no family that cares about this game, you can go to the public guilds or check out the public parties on The Archery, or talk to people in The Tavern, the game’s online public chat.
Essentially, this is a community of people who want to do great things and are trying to motivate others to do them as well. You can literally change the world by playing a game. It’s like volunteering at a soup kitchen and running into a stranger who also gives you a couple of bucks just for the heck of it. This game is all about positivity. It’s all about bringing people together on the internet in a positive way. It’s all about Zig Ziggler’s famous quote: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
Try it, You Never know
I do want to point out that your mileage may very here. I highly doubt people will lose productivity because of this app, but it is possible. You can easily game the system by just hitting buttons without actually completing the task. But then again, all you’re doing is cheating yourself, so whatever.
Also, while there’s not a lot to spend in-game money on, that I can see, I feel like I’ll probably understand the currency system better once I get higher in level and start participating in more boss battles and challenges and such. I’m still not entirely certain that the character stats that are increased by equipment really matter all that much, but I’m still in the early phases of checking this game out.
Even with those caveats, I’m impressed with what this has turned into. This is not a sponsored article, otherwise I would say so, so this is my honest opinion. I fully expected this to quickly devolve into some sort of pixeljunk distraction that vaguely promises to help you complete your chores on time. But the implementation of this game shows incredible progress. No matter what feature is added, these developers never deviate from trying to help you complete your goals. This is certainly good stuff, and you should definitely check it out.