Habitica, formerly HabitRPG, is an online task management application run by HabitRPG, Inc. Unlike most task management programs, Habitica takes the form of a role-playing game. Habitica is an open source project.

Concept

Habitica is a self-improvement web application with game mechanics overlaid to help the player keep track of and remain motivated to achieve their goals.

The game is laid out in the form of an RPG, in which the player collects items such as gold and armour to become more powerful. Rewards are achieved through maintaining real-life goals, in the form of Habits, Dailies and To-Dos.

Habits

In Habitica, Habits are long-term goals which are utilised to change a person's habits. These "Habits" can be set to either 'positive' or 'negative', or both. For example:

  • a predefined Habit is "1h productive work". This is a positive Habit: if a user has an hour of productive work, they'll gain experience and gold.
  • a predefined Habit is "Eat junk food". This is a negative Habit: if a user eats junk food, they'll lose health.
  • a predefined Habit is "Take the stairs". This is a positive and a negative Habit: if a user does take the stairs, they'll gain experience and gold. If they don't take the stairs, they'll lose health.

If a user completes a positive Habit often, it will turn green. This signifies that they're doing a good job following their Habit. On the additional hand, if a user performs a negative Habit often, it will start to turn red and do increasing damage to their health. When players accrue enough experience points, they gain a level, which restores their health.

Dailies

Habitica uses Dailies to track habits that the user wants to complete in a known, scheduled, and repeatable fashion. Dailies are completed by ticking a cheque box: the user sets their Dailies in advance, and cheques off what they have completed throughout their day. Completed Dailies give the user experience and gold; Dailies that fail to be completed by the end of the day result in a loss of health.

To-Dos

To-Dos are one-time tasks that can be added or deleted. When a user completes a To-Do, they gain experience. The To-Do then disappears (it can later be found under the 'Complete' To-Dos tab). Unlike Habits and Dailies, To-Dos will never cause the user to lose health: the To-Do just becomes more valuable over time (it gives more experience and gold once completed).

Role-playing aspect

A major part of Habitica is the role-playing aspect. A role-playing game is one in which a player takes on the role of another person or character. In Habitica, the user takes control of a character that they design themselves. The user can level up and unlock new features. Notwithstanding upon death, various items and a level are lost.

Character

The player can customise their own character (also known as an avatar) using various customization options such as hair, skin colour and shirts. The armour and swords that a player buys when equipped additionally provide an attribute bonus. Some of the art in Habitica is sourced from BrowserQuest.

The class system is another feature adding complexity to the role-playing aspect of Habitica. Players can choose from one of four classes, each of which have different armour available, as well as different primary and secondary character attributes that affect gameplay.

Levels

Depending on how well a player completes their Habits, Dailies, and To-Dos, they either gain experience or lose "health". When a player obtains enough experience, they gain a level, but losing all their health will cause their character to die, and be set back a level. The higher the level the player is, the more features they have access to.

Currency

When a player completes a Habit, Daily, or To-Do, they gain gold and/or silver, with the amount depending on the difficulty of the task. Silver is worth a fraction of gold: 100 silver equals 1 gold. Gold and silver can be used to buy rewards - which can either be user-defined, real life rewards, or equipment that can give boosts in-game.

Pets and mounts

When checking off items, at times the player will receive an item. The items that can be found are eggs, colour potions, and food. The player can combine these to gather a set of 90 pets, which they can display beside their avatar, and 90 mounts, which their avatar can ride. Additional pets and mounts can be obtained throughout special events and by completing quests.

Social accountability

Players can band together in parties to complete quests. Players can additionally join guilds and participate in challenges made by additional players, where the person with the most consistency in performing a task wins an achievement. Players can compete with friends and strangers, as well as collaborate and focus on accountability. In parties and guilds, as well as in the community-wide Tavern, players can communicate with one another via chat.

Seasonal events

There are four seasonal events called Grand Galas that happen each year in Habitica. Past Galas have involved new quests, special items such as limited edition equipment and avatar customization options, and bosses for the whole community to fight together. Other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and April Fools’ Day, are additionally celebrated.

Mobile application

A screenshot of the Habitica Android mobile app.

An official mobile application named Habitica is available for the Android and iOS operating systems. These mobile applications are replacements for the deprecated mobile apps named HabitRPG, which were released as promised after the $25,000 Kickstarter fund goal was reached.

Reception

In reviewing the site, Alan Henry wrote for Lifehacker that "while it doesn’t offer the advanced features that a large number of additional to-do apps have, it’s certainly a blast to use, and really addictive". Kelsey Adams wrote for CNET that Habitica (then known as HabitRPG) 'had [her] at RPG', and describes 'how much more compelling a game can be than reality to those of us whose brains are bent that way'.

History

Tyler Renelle originally created HabitRPG to help with his own habits, having been inspired by the self-help books The Power of Habit and The Now Habit. The earliest version of HabitRPG was a Google Docs spreadsheet with color-coded cell formulae.

As the community of HabitRPG users grew, Renelle reached out to Siena Leslie and Vicky Hsu. Leslie and Hsu became cofounders of HabitRPG, Inc., which was formally incorporated as a company in 2014.

On July 31, 2015, the website and apps were renamed to Habitica, after the land where players’ adventures take place. The change was made because a few users found the name HabitRPG confusing or difficult to remember. The company name remained HabitRPG, Inc.

Community

In addition to participating in the website and apps’ social aspects, the community has been involved in helping with and improving Habitica.

Contributors

Community volunteers contribute to Habitica in various ways, such as by creating pixel art, translating text, creating music and sound effects, writing blog posts to promote Habitica, editing the wiki, resolving bugs, implementing new features, and answering new users’ questions.

Kickstarter

Starting on January 11, 2013, Renelle started a campaign on fund-raising site Kickstarter to improve development of the application with a goal of $25,000. The goal was surpassed: $41,191 was raised by a total of 2,817 people.

API

Habitica's application programming interface (API) allows programmers to create third-party applications, extensions, and additional tools that interface with Habitica.