Hello, all. Eiron Page here. It has been a while. Since the last time I have written anything here I have had to move twice and am back to studying, which is having a devastating effect on my gaming. My one consolation has been HabitRPG, which has allowed me to treat my life as a game, replete with unlockables and achievements.
HabitRPG is two years old today, so it is fitting that it gets a write-up having had a fair chance to establish itself. In the past year, it has gone from strength to strength. Having come off the back of a successful Kickstarter campaign, it has grown from an oftentimes wobbly website into a bustling community-driven tool. In fact, the community is one of the most pleasant of any website you might care to visit, and there is usually somebody on hand to offer guidance or a friendly pair of eyes if you need it.
You will start your journey in Habitica (the name given to the world of HabitRPG by its users) with an example to-do list, which you can either keep (in the unlikely chance that it seems perfectly designed for your own life) or start editing. There is a guided tour to the features, so you should be able to get stuck right in. The list is divided into Habits, Dailies, To-Dos and Rewards and it is up to you what you do with them, though Habits work best as things that you feel you should or should not be doing as matter of course, Dailies as things you wish to accomplish once per day (or on specific days), Todos as one-off things that when done stay done and Rewards as treats you can permit yourself as and when you have earned them. This last is actually one of the most important features of HabitRPG, as a reward earned feels much more satisfying.
The game aspect actually manifests in a number of ways. Besides having the obvious health and experience bars (the third is for mana, more on which in a short while), you can also collect pets and mounts, upgrade your equipment and customise your avatar in an ever-growing number of ways. You can also join guilds (groups that share a common interest) and quest with a party to unlock rare items. These quests are actually a great motivator, as your todo list becomes a weapon against a shared foe, who uses your unfinished dailies to attack the entire party. It becomes important therefore that you make sure you are not the one who wipes the party by failing to get things done. This accountability is yet another powerful tool in HabitRPG‘s arsenal.
There are a vast number of challenges on offer, that promise rewards for doing certain tasks, from learning to juggle, to improving your vocabulary, to actually playing the games you have bought (possibly I may write a review of Backloggery at another time). These could be gems that you can trade for items in the marketplace, or a little badge in your profile that shows that you are clearly the best at whatever that thing might be. Depending on which guilds you have joined, you will find more challenges suited to your particular hobbies and interests.
I have introduced a number of friends to HabitRPG and they have all really taken to it, housemates squabbling over whose turn it is to do the dishes, not because they wish somebody else to do it, but in order that they should be the ones to do so in order to get the XP and virtual gold reward that goes with it.
HabitRPG is a product of the passion of its developers (mostly users who have been so taken with the project they wanted to help make it better) and its community. They are very open to suggestions and seek to develop the features that the majority of the users have said they want above others. It seems that improvements are made more days than not, and – should a bug arise (which is, it must be said, not altogether uncommon) – they are generally pretty quick to put things right. It is free to use, with a subscription service that improves the rate of drops (which are purely aesthetic, so it is not ‘pay-to-win’* by any stretch), allows you to convert gold into gems (which can be used to purchase quest scrolls or other in-game items) and removes the ads.
Summary: HabitRPG is the ideal to-do list for the procrastinator who needs more incentives than real life can offer, yet thrives in the game world.
Verdict: 9 out of 10
Platforms: Browser (though I have heard it said you will need to be a Chrome or Firefox user for best results), Mobile
*This has been a genuine complaint. How you can ‘win’ a to-do list is beyond me.