This is part of a series of posts I’m doing this week about my experiences using Habitica. See below for previous posts. I joined one of the guilds for writers immediately, but was such a newbie to the whole gaming thing…and didn’t really get the gaming aspects of the site until I’d been there a while and began to understand the advantages of the system, that I didn’t join a Party right away. Also, I wasn’t sure at first if I could meet my goals, and if the site would actually help me knock off my massive ever-growing Monster of a To Do list, so I wasn’t eager to jump into a Party and do Quests at first. I was just thinking of a writer’s group and I thought the guild would be enough. But I began to get the idea that Parties were the way to go; guild chat was less active than anticipated and didn’t have quite the writer’s group feel that I expected. I suspected it was because smaller parties had formed within the guild, and interesting things were happening in the privacy of party chat rather than guild chat.
Chat for guilds isn’t visible to the public in general, but anyone in Habitica can see and participate in guild chat, even if they weren’t members of the guild. I found it odd that the people most active in my guild’s chat were not members of the guild and that most of the people listed as members of the guild didn’t participate in chat. Which led me to the conclusion that most writer’s conversation was happening in Parties. Unlike guilds, there’s no site-wide list of parties. Some form up just for a quest and dissolve, some are made up of disparate members from assorted guilds and are unaffiliated with anyone, some are small groups of real life friends, some are large groups of strangers. My impression is that most people in the Ink Slinger’s writer’s guild are in parties with other writers (though I know that not all are). Since it seemed like a lot of people had joined around the same time I had and that at least some, like me, weren’t yet in parties, I talked to my guild leader, maryrobinette, (better known as author Mary Robinette Kowal) about it. She put together some tools for bringing together writers seeking a party and party leaders. (Habitica has a forum for people looking to join a party, but most people in my guild were looking for a party of people within our writing guild.) “Science-fiction and fantasy writers and editors who are actively working in the field and trying to improve craft” can join the Ink Slingers Guild, then fill out a form about who you are, what you write, and what your playing style is within Habitica — and the form dumps the info into a spreadsheet for party leaders who are looking for fellow writers for their parties. 🙂
Eventually, with the help and encouragement of my guild leader, I “screwed my courage to the sticking place” and formed a party called, Everyday Magic and Spacetime Explorers, since we are a group of F/SF writers. We kicked butt on our first quest, which was a collection quest. Rewards were gold and experience, as well as the next scroll in the quest line. Boss quests are a bit more complicated since you can sustain damage from people in your party not making their Dailies, but otherwise questing seems to be fairly straightforward: you just keep doing the things you need to do: Dailies are done daily (or whatever day of the week you have them active for), Habits are done regularly and often, and you work on your To Do list. When questing, doing your tasks makes progress toward completing the quest. Quest rewards range from those mentioned above for newbie easy quests to special eggs which can be hatched into exotic pets and mounts. As I see it, Quests are basically a way to get more and better rewards, and level up faster, than if you’re just doing your thing alone getting random drops for tasks. Peer pressure and extra accountability are often cited as a factor in the success of party members, but I haven’t been in a party long enough to really say how much of a factor it is. I was doing really well before joining and you can’t improve on perfect days —but you can get more rewards for doing well if you’re on a quest….and quests can only happen in parties. Writing more and better is something I can always improve on, and Habitica –and my awesome party of writers — may help with that. I recently posted this in party chat:
Goal: get rough draft of sequel cleaned up for beta readers before summer. Ask me a month from now how it’s going. If I give a whiny waffly answer threaten to sic your Beasts on me. 🙂
The best thing Habitica has done for me (so far) is to help tame my To-Do list, which expands and contracts — and until I joined Habitica it was never ever completely cleared off. I’ve cleared it off once and only have a few long term items on it now, along with short term items that are put on the list and completed within a day or two. In the past, sometimes my To Do list would grow so long that the idea of getting it all done just crushed me and made it even less likely that I’d get everything done in anything like a timely manner. Habitica has made the To Do list Monster less daunting and procrastination less likely because I get tiny little rewards for ticking off those boxes. Bigger tiny rewards when we’re questing, more tiny rewards when I do a challenge. It all adds up. It all adds up to more better writing and a better, more contented life.
If you’re looking for a productivity tool and you enjoy gaming, check out Habitica. If you’re trying to make changes in your life, but need support to make it happen, then check out Habitica. It’s a very supportive atmosphere and there are guilds and challenges that are aimed at all kinds of different goals, from breaking addictive habits, to doing household chores, to embarking on creative endeavors. And I’ve proved that even someone who isn’t into gaming can enjoy and benefit from Habitica. 🙂
I’m still a relative newbie, but these posts are my thoughts thus far. I’ll post occasional updates on my experiences with Habitica as I continue to progress and get even better at “game-i-fying” my life. 🙂
Below is the full series of posts. For my post of first impressions after I joined Habitica in fall 2015, see The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have With New Year’s Resolutions.