Motivate yourself to do anything.
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— 10 min read

Long life to Habitica, former HabitRPG

A Role Playing game and Habit building program.

Do you like RPGs? Are you needing a good Todo list tool? Habitica was made just for you.

Well... I'm already using Habitica, so...
Wait! I’ve got a gift for you. You definitely want to check the tips sections.

Brief introduction to Habitica

Habitica is a todo-list application inspired from the Get Things Done productivity methodology.

Habitica Logo Formely named HabitRPG, the application was renamed Habitica on July 31th 2015. The old name was difficult to pronunce and confused by people (HabitRG? HabitGRG?), so they decided to name the application after the land of Habitica, where all these adventures take place.

You basically have 4 columns:

  • Habits: for activities that could be repeated several times a day.
  • Dailies: for recurring activities.
  • Todo: for one-time tasks.
  • Rewards: for leisure activities available after working hard on your tasks.

It’s simple to use, accepts the Markdown markup language and Emoji emoticons.

Although its todo-list features have increased a lot over the time, I believe the strength of Habitica comes from the gaming aspect that wraps the tool and the community that gives it life.

As a fact, I’ve tried many todo-list tools before Habitica and always gave up on them (missing features, not intuitive enough, or simply because I couldn’t build the habit of checking them regularly and forgot them). But when I started using Habitica back in its beta days, although it was cribbled with bugs, I sticked to it because I was having fun and had met very friendly people there.

The Gamification comes in multiple aspects:

  • Health, Experience, Mana: Like any RPG game, your avatar will evolve as you complete tasks and will die if you’re slacking off.

    Health, XP and Mana bars

  • Gold, Food, Eggs, Potions: As you complete your tasks, items will drop.

    items

  • Pets, Mounts, Equipment, Background: Hatch eggs into pets, feed pets into mounts, buy equipments and enjoy customizing your avatar in any way you’d like.
  • Attribute points and Class System: Become a (Warrior, Mage, Rogue or Healer), and customize your game experience accordingly (get more gold, level faster, or be more solid to avoid death). Smartly distribute your points in Strength, Intelligence, Constitution and Perception, depending on your class primary and secondary attributes to increase your gear effect (Find advanced strategy tips at the end of the post).

    Classes system: Warrior, Mage, Rogue and Healer

  • Party, Guilds: You can join groups of people from all over the world, doing completely different jobs, socialize with them and motivate each other to become everyday a bit more productive.

    Party backgrounds

  • Quests, Challenges: Fight against bosses by completing your tasks, together with your team members, or compete against other players for habit building activities.
  • Achievements badges: You can collect badges by contributing, by killing bosses, by getting all pets/mounts/equipments, by interacting with your party, and more!

    Achievement badges

An excerpt of my personal experience

What hooked me up the most was the community and that Habitica is Open Source and strongly encourages you to contribute.

Project Mayhem Logo I had the chance to join a really great party named Project Mayhem and we went through countless quests, looking for holes in the game to break it and always keeping a good spirit in the group. Habitica is a community building application, which makes it invaluable: Even if there are better applications out there, it will be hard to convince Habitica users to get out of it, since they would lose that community. Something I’ve been pondering a lot as I’m looking into building new productivity applications in the future.

The beauty about contributions is that anybody can participate: Designers, Pixel artists, Translators, Music and soud effect artists, Writers, Mobile & Web coders. Since the game has been documented by its users, it results in one of the best documentations I’ve ever seen for an application.

Once I had contributed to the project, of course it made me want to use it more, and I’ve borne the eventual bugs, finding new ways to handle my tasks the way I wanted.

The behind-the-scenes of Habitica

The code source for the web version is built on top of AngularJS. Mobile versions were initially made by contributors, then an official one came out from AngularJS and PhoneGap. Up to today, I have to say this application has given me lot of troubles, especially its slowness (the downside of using a HTML application). But there are good news: the native iOS application is now available and the android one is on its way ( details on the Habitica blog).

I’ll definitely have a look at the Android app and do some minor contributions when I’ll find time as this will be a good use-case for the UX Design for Mobile Developers MOOC course :smile:.

For the other tools that the team use in its development workflow:

  • The projects are hosted on Github, which is also used for bug report and pull requests.
  • The projects managements are done on Trello, also used for feature requests.
  • All documentations are updated in Wikia.
  • Habitica has a blog hosted on Tumbler.
  • The project was boosted with a Kickstarter campaign funded by 2800+ people and is now self-supported from selling subscriptions and gems.

I find such organization beautiful. They managed to keep their tools list to a minimum and simplify everything to help contributors getting onboard.

Tips

To finish, I’d like to share some top secret advanced tips for you.

Classes Strategy

Some of my party members are really into it, and we’ve been able to break the game several times by adopting specific strategies. The game is rebalanced regularly, and lately it became harder to break it. Still, those advices still hold true:

  • Valorous Presence: Especially stronger at low levels, this spel will increase the STR (Strength) of all party players, increasing seriously the Boss damage.

  • Ethereal Surge: Increase the MP (Mana) of your teammates, allowing them to cast more spells.

  • Earthquake: Increase your party INT (Intelligence). It means your party will level up much faster.

Our last game breaking adventure was a month and half ago. We went for a “Everyone’s a Mage” strategy, and made sure to start the day by casting Ethereal Surge for everybody to have an insane amount of Mana, then finish the day with Earthquake to easily jump several levels a day, thanks for the automation script below.

Accelerator scripts

The first one is called Auto-cast Mana. You unlock mana with the class system at level 10 and get new skills in the following levels. When you reach higher levels and want to cast a lot of Valorous Presence or Earthquake with your party to complete quests faster, it can take a lot of time to cast the spell over and over. To accelerate that process, use this code:

Right-Click on the spell you want to cast, click on “Inspect element”. This will open the browser’s debugger. Go to the tab “Console”, paste the code there and press enter.

The second hack is called Auto-feed pets. If you only feed your pets once a week or so, you’ll have accumulated by then a large quantity of food and feeding will take a considerable amount of time. Let’s cut this down to a few seconds with this code:

Go to your pets page, open your browser debugger (ctrl-shift-I on Chrome), go to the Console, paste the previous code there and press enter. Click on a food, then click on all pets you’d like to feed with that food until it runs out.


If you’re new to Habitica, did you find this article interesting ? Otherwise did you find the advanced tips useful ?
I will blog regularly about Productivity applications and methodologies, so if you’d like to stay tuned, please subscribe here.

Edit 2015/08/05:
Thanks to you reading this post, Habitica has given me the Ambassador Title (source). making me a Legendary Blacksmith, Linguist, Scribe, Bard, Artisan, Ambassador, and probably the most titled contributor ever :laughing: