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Real Life Incentive Games: HabitRPG

Another IRL incentive I've found recently is HabitRPG.  The premise is simple; you set goals for yourself, in a variety of categories.  When you complete those goals, you earn exp and coins with which to buy rewards.

Tasks - Habit, Daily, and To Do

Your goals can be anything.  You can set them as Habits, which means you get a reward whenever you repeat the activity, but with no time limit.  There are Daily Tasks, which are things you intend to repeat each day, and which will damage your hit points if you don't.  And, finally, there's a To Do list for longer term, one-off goals.

At the moment, my Daily Tasks include things I have to do every day, but which I don't enjoy, like washing out my hedgehog's wheel.  I've also listed feeding my hedgehog, which is probably the most important thing I do everyday, but which is so tiny and habitual that it's easy to forget (note: I have never failed to feed my hedgehog, but I have, at least once, gotten up at midnight to do it).  Then there are things I've been working on; practice Python, read something off my unread pile, make tomorrow's lunch, exercise (since I'm doing it for Pact anyway), etc etc.

My habits are things I intend to do more often, but not daily.  Things like making new recipes, or playing my guitar, or writing.  Incidentally, I started playing the guitar in November of 2012; I made it a rule to practice everyday, and guess what?  Now I can play the guitar.  Here's hoping Python will work the same way.

You can also set negative things in the Habits column.  In my case, if I go over budget, throw food away rather than using it before it goes off, or buy a new book, I'll lose hp and gold instead of gaining exp (I assume; I haven't done those things yet, and don't want to hurt my avatar just to test it).

Finally, the To Do list.  That's where my big ticket tasks go.  For instance, finishing Gone with the Wind.  It's good, I'm enjoying it, but it's 1010 pages long.  I need some kind of reward for that!  I've also got things like cooking with nettles, dandelions and acorns.  All three grow in our garden, and it'd be nice to try them at least once.  Not now obviously, but in summer and autumn.  Other things, like getting out of debt, and reading more than 324 books this year (that's how many I read last year) are on there too.  Along with some silly things, like making corn on the cob, which I've never tried before.  The difficulty adjusts itself based on how long the items go undone, so you get more rewards for one that you do infrequently.


You can also set your own rewards, to be purchased with the gold and silver coins you're getting for all these tasks.  At first, I thought the rewards were far too easy to get, until I realised I could change how much they cost.  For instance, I've decided I can get an audiobook for 250 coins.  I have a subscription to Audible, for two books a month, but I normally finish them faster, and I'd like to top up occasionally.  I just can't seem to justify buying an audiobook for £15 when my credits will be coming in in a week or two, even when I want to.  So setting it as a reward is like giving me permission to buy it for myself.  I've also put in a few things I've been thinking of getting, like a new bed and a new TV (500gold coins and 1000 gold coins), and some cheaper things, like renting a movie off Blinkbox (100 gold coins if it's over £2.  If it's one of their 99p Monday movies, I'm not going to make myself wait, not least because the discount only lasts 24 hours).

HabitRPG also provides you with a couple of rewards to buy.  Mostly, it's equipment to make life easier, like armour that reduces how much missed dailies hurt you, or swords which increase exp and gold.

Tavern, Holidays, and Quests

Another feature is the tavern, where you can put your character for a few days while you completely ignore all your tasks.  It's a chance to take a holiday.  Also in the Tavern you can find people posting quests.  The two I'm taking part in are "to read a tome of compelling significance" and one about completing all your daily tasks.

The tome quests adds a few things to your list; firstly, it adds choose, obtain, and finish a "tome of compelling significance" to your to-do list.  In this case, a 'tome of compelling significance' is defined as one you've personally been putting off, or one that otherwise seems worthy to you.  I pick Gone With the Wind, since it's been sitting on my unread pile for the past ten years.  It also adds "finish another tome of compelling significance" to your habits list, in case you feel like reading another one.  I'm tempted to read Don Quixote.  I can read it at work, since it's on wikisource.  Also, it inspired that episode of Quantum Leap that I enjoyed.

The other quest adds "slay all monsters in dungeon" to your daily task list, ie, tick off all the other tasks.  It also adds 7, 14, 21 and 28 "clean dungeons", ie, streaks of perfect days, to your to do list.

These sorts of quests are user designed, and there are quite a few interesting ones.  Lots of them reward you with a couple of gems, which you can also get as a reward for donating to the project.  Gems can unlock some special features like different outfits for your avatar.

How is this Tracked?

HabitRPG works entirely on the loyalty system.  Why not?  As far as I can tell, you're the only one who can see your tasks.  You're also the only one who can set and claim your rewards.  Go ahead, promise yourself a whole chocolate cake for 1 silver coin, spam-click a habit and then gorge yourself silly, see how much fun you have.

I Wanna Play!

Clickyclicky, young padawan. Also available for iPhone and Android.

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