Gamifying Task Management: A Habitica Break-Down

Gamifying Task Management: A Habitica Break-Down

By Saige Brown


What is Habitica?

Habitica is a task management app that gamifies organizational skills and the completion of day-to-day duties and activities. It is structured like a stereotypical RPG with classes, armor, magic items, pets, and quests. Instead of your everyday average habit tracker, Habitica uses nostalgic pixel art, Tamagotchi-style items, and level-ups that leave users feeling proud of themselves for every achievement they complete.

In addition to managing tasks through a variety of different modes, users also get to create their own characters. They can design their character to look like them or create their own fantastical RPG persona in whatever other design they'd prefer. Habitica offers an inclusive range of skin colors, hair colors, and outfits. When you first boot up the app it will ask you to create your player character that starts with the base design elements offered. As you level up, however, you will gain more and more EXP and by proxy more and more access to interesting and complicated outfits as well as a number of other randomly dropped items.

How does it work?

Habitica has three main bars that users will keep track of: their health bar (HP), their experience bar (EXP), and their mana bar (MP). The health bar, as suggested in the name, tracks the health of the player based on the completion or non-completion of their various tasks. The experience bar tracks how players level up with the gain of EXP being mainly based on habit and duty completion. The mana bar tracks the magical energy each player has per day and how much they use when spending it on certain items and magical abilities.

Within the different tabs of Habitica, users can create their own personalized task management experience catered directly to their preferences and their comfortability.

  1. Habits

Under the habits tab, users add good and bad habits of theirs that they want to keep track of. If, for example, a player thinks that a good habit they have is reading a certain amount every week then they might put that as a good habit that they can reward themselves with when they choose to do it. In the same way, if a player thinks they have a bad habit of biting their nails too much then they might put that as a bad habit so that when they find themselves doing it, they can keep themselves accountable by marking that they had completed it on Habitica. If a bad habit is something that a user consistently struggles with, Habitica can help to decrease the want to do that habit because the player will receive fewer rewards and will lose health points. Keep in mind that Habitica is not an app used to punish users for not doing everything perfectly, but rather, is something users can implement into their lives to make sure they check themselves when they recognize that they are doing something that they don't want to.

  1. Dailies

Under the dailies tab, which is arguably the most focal and consistent tab, users add tasks that they want to span across their various days and weeks. As an example, if a user wanted to make sure they did their dishes every Monday, then they would set dishes on their dailies tab as a task that comes up every Monday to be completed. If a user wants to remind themselves to brush their teeth every night, then they can set that as a task that comes up every evening of every day. If a user has something that they only want to do every two months, it is also possible to set that lengthy amount of time as well. Habitica is very flexible in its ability to set different times for different tasks. No matter if it's every single day, biweekly, random days of the month, or every few months, Habitica has the perfect setting to help you remember when certain things need to get done and when you have time before you have to do others. Having consistent dailies can truly help to improve a users' accountability for themselves and also improve their quality of life by reminding them when they have certain things they need to get done. On top of that, what sets Habitica apart from other task managers is that every time a player completes a task, they get rewards in the form of randomly dropped items or increases in experience points. Players also get to set the difficulty of their tasks so that if one is harder than the other, when it's completed, the player will gain more experience points than completing an easier one so that the rewards feel proportionate to the work that they've put in.

  1. To Do’s

Under the to do’s tab, users can set one-time tasks up on a to-do list. So, instead of duties that consistently need to be done and repeated, they will be able to simply have a few things that they need to get done that are a one-time process. For example, if a user has an essay that they need to write by a certain date, they would put that under the to do’s tab so that when they complete it, it would be done and would not pop up again because it was a one-time thing. To do's don't have to have any time limit on them if need be, however, there is the possibility to add a due-by date to make sure users remember when those things need to be done if they have a specific time attached to them.

  1. Rewards

The rewards tab is different than the previous three in that instead of the players adding items themselves, Habitica provides a few options for purchase with the gold coins that users gain when they complete their tasks. They offer health potions if your health has been knocked down by uncompleted tasks, they offer a treasure chest full of randomly selected magical items and outfits, and they also offer items specific to your class choice.

How do classes work?

In Habitica, users level up as their experience points increase with each task they complete. For the first 10 levels, players aren’t assigned to a certain class meaning that they are simply adjusting to how Habitica works and is operated. Once the player gets to the tenth level, they are given a choice of four different classes to pick from. Each class has different perks that can play to users' certain preferences to make Habitica even more catered to inspiring them to hold themselves accountable and complete the things they need to get done.

  1. Warrior

Warriors deal higher damage to bosses (explained in a later section) than any other class; they have a higher chance to score heavier hits which grants them more gold and bonuses, and they have better defense against damage they may receive from uncompleted tasks. Choosing to be a warrior is ideal for users who enjoy winning battles and scoring hits.

  1. Mage

Mages gain experience points quicker than other classes. They also regenerate mana the fastest after having used different magical effects. They can freeze tasks so that if they aren't completed they won't be punished for not doing them. Being a mage is useful for players who want to level up quickly.

  1. Healer

Healers have higher defense than any other class against damage. This means that they can heal themselves and make their tasks less damaging if they remain uncompleted. They can use their skills in combat to make sure that they have more than enough health and feel equipped to go up against bosses. If you are someone who has a lot of dailies to get done or a lot of negative habits, it may be a good choice to be a healer to mitigate any undone tasks.

  1. Rogue

Rogues find the most item drops and the most gold out of any other class. They gain more bonuses when completing tasks in the form of randomly dropped pets and potions. They can also use their sneaky senses to avoid uncompleted daily damage. Being a rogue is useful to a player who wants to upgrade their equipment quickly and find drops more often.

What are drops?

In Habitica, one core function that many users find incredibly fun and motivational is the inclusion of drops. Most drops come in the form of pet eggs. Pets are one of the facets of the app that make doing tasks much easier because of the Tamagotchi-esque collection system. Players have the possibility of gaining a drop randomly from any task that they complete; if they get a pet egg drop they have the following possibilities: a bear cub, a cactus, a dragon, a flying pig, a fox, a lion cub, a panda cub, a tiger cub, or a wolf. These are the standard pet options that can come with drops.

To hatch these eggs, users need to get potions. These hatching potions are also available as drops for task completion and come in a variety of different color variants and pet types. The potion types are as follows: base potions (which hatch the basic type of each pet), desert potions, white potions, red potions, shade potions, skeleton potions, cotton candy blue potions, cotton candy pink potions, zombie potions, and golden potions. Each of these potions as described in their names come with different colors that apply to whatever pet you choose to hatch them with. If, for example, you use a shade potion on a wolf egg then the pet that you hatch is a dark-coated wolf with red eyes. If you choose to use a desert potion on a dragon egg, then the pet that you hatch is a sandy-colored dragon that looks like it came straight out of the desert.

Once you've hatched your pet (and you can hatch as many as you like as long as you have the materials to do so) then you have the option to feed the pet. As you can probably guess, food is also a random drop that you can get to put towards feeding your pets. As Habitica is not an app meant to promote stress but rather to take the stress off of your shoulders, there is no risk of the pets dying from not being fed. They don't need to be fed to be perfectly happy and healthy. The reason to feed them is because after a certain amount of feeding, your pets will turn into mounts. This means that your, for example, formerly small and cute little flying pig can now evolve into something your player character can ride. Thus, if you have a preferred pet that you would like to evolve then you can feed it more to get it to that level. In addition, you can still rehatch the same pet to have its evolved and unevolved versions.

Many users find this aspect of the app to be one of their favorites because they can take care of a creature by doing tasks that make them feel good about their productivity, creativity, and overall wellness.

What are quests?

Quests serve as another motivational aspect of the app that allows players to complete certain battles and puzzles as they check off their tasks. Players can do quests by themselves, however, there is also the option to join groups where people complete quests together and share in the rewards reaped from each completion. Users can form their own questing groups with friends who also want to join Habitica, or they can search Habitica’s database for other users to team up with on the app.

Quests are often set up as boss battles or fetch quests. Boss battles require players to defeat a boss through their various habits, dailies, and to do’s. Depending on the user's class, they have different abilities to attack the boss and help out other party members.

Bosses are set up to be amusing recreations of stereotypical tasks that may come up, such as The Attack of the Dust Bunnies which is self-explanatory, or the Basi-list, a playoff of a basilisk that is instead an imagined snake-like task list battling players. When taking on boss quests, players need to work together to defeat the bosses by making sure to put in the work and time to complete the duties they've assigned themselves. If users miss a task or choose not to complete one, then the boss gets an attack on the party and everyone in it loses health. Thankfully the health loss is not too detrimental, but it is a good motivator to make sure to get things done so that the other people in your party don't take that loss as well.

Fetch quests on the other hand do not rely on damaging a boss, but rather, have players finding pieces that help to either solve a puzzle or build a magic item. Finding these pieces is done by task completion and the more tasks (or higher difficulty tasks) you complete the more likely you are to find more pieces you can contribute to the quest. Some classes are better at fetch quests than others; sometimes you may not find any puzzle pieces, but that's alright because other people in your party will also supplement your ability to fetch until the puzzle is completed or the item is created. Fetch quests could be finding runes to undo The Towering Shadow of Doubt or picking up magical Moon Shards to add clarity to player motivation.

Both quest types are another fun way to engage users in holding themselves accountable for the things they choose to put on their various tabs, so that they not only feel accomplished when they gain gold or drops but also contribute to their party completing quests together.

What are stats?

Stats are made up of points that you gain for every level you ascend that you can assign to an attribute of your choice. There are four different attributes to assign your points to that can boost different things your character is capable of doing.

  1. Strength

Strength makes bonuses users gain from heavier hits more likely when they complete a task. It also increases the damage being dealt in boss battles.

  1. Intelligence

Intelligence gives users more experience points for each task. It also adds more to the amount of mana they can have at one time.

  1. Constitution

Constitution decreases the damage that users may receive from uncompleted tasks.

  1. Perception

Perception makes it more likely that users will find drops when completing their various tasks as well as giving more gold for completion.

Depending on what each player prefers, they can allocate their stat points wherever they see fit to further customize their Habitica experience.

Can you use Habitica for more than just everyday life?

Yes! The whole point of Habitica is to personalize it to your needs so that you feel like you are your most productive and satisfied self. Many people use Habitica to track their day-to-day tasks and life goals. Consequently, many students also find Habitica to be quite helpful for managing their school life and study habits. Suppose you'd like to use it for your personal life, your school life, or even your professional life. In that case, Habitica is made to be a user-friendly and personalized experience for each person who chooses to download it. So, if you are a student who finds yourself struggling to hold yourself accountable for completing homework assignments, studying for tests, paying attention in class, or anything else, Habitica could be the app to help you get back on track and feel better about your educational experience.

Remember, you can add any task that you'd like, from something as simple as getting out of bed to something as complicated as writing an essay by a certain date. With the many different ways to approach Habitica, it is a low-pressure experience that still allows users to feel like they are making progress every time they complete a duty that they've assigned themselves. Ample rewards and a gamified experience allow Habitica to feel more fun than any other task manager app because it is designed to be accessible to anyone at any level! Happy task-mastering!

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