Behind the Scenes: Spotlight on the Joyful Reaper

The Behind The Scenes series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Today we’re doing something a little different: we’re expanding on the fictional world of Habitica by spotlighting one of the characters who commonly crops up. Enjoy!

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The friendliest skeleton in all of Habitica also happens to be our much-beloved Master of Healers! The Joyful Reaper has been a cornerstone of our land for a long, long time…

Backstory

The Joyful Reaper is one of the oldest Habiticans, though her tireless energy and gentle enthusiasm have never waned over the decades. Her exact age eludes scholars, as does the question of how precisely she came to be. Is she a talented healer who took on the guise of a skeleton to study anatomy? A magical spirit, animating some bones to appear more human? Perhaps she, like her many skeleton pets, simply hatched one day from a large and mysterious egg. Whenever a new theory is presented, the Joyful Reaper cheerily agrees that it sounds very plausible, so we are no closer to learning the truth.

Regardless, her origins are less important than all of her accomplishments. It’s known that she was a member of the very first class of the illustrious Academy of Ensorcellment, where she became quite popular for her helpful spirit and proclivity to bake interesting new desserts. Not every friendship was successful; for example, she briefly dated Recidivate, who would later become a dreaded necromancer. It quickly became apparent that the match wasn’t going to work out. The Joyful Reaper liked sunshine, and Recidivate liked gloom; the Joyful Reaper was majoring in Agriculture, and Recidivate was writing an independent thesis on Raising Undead Habit Hordes for Domineering and Profit…. “In retrospect,” the Joyful Reaper has mused, “there were several signs.” Still, aside from the occasional bumps, her time at the university was overwhelmingly positive, and she graduated as valedictorian. Many theoretical magician jobs were offered to her, but she turned them all down in favor of building a small cottage in one of the most barren and inhospitable areas of Habitica: the Fallow Fields.

Few would choose such a difficult place to work, but the Joyful Reaper saw the potential in the empty land. She spent many sleepless days and nights tirelessly working her healing magic on the dusty flats, dreaming of an area that could be devoted entirely to growth and the celebration of all the life and loveliness that hard work could achieve. After decades of tireless effort, the once-forgotten western lands of Habitica were transformed into some of its most fertile grounds, and soon they were called the Flourishing Fields. Many Habiticans moved there, drawn by the promise of productivity brimming in every orchard and wellspring.

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The Joyful Reaper was not content to limit her healing to the land, however. She stretched life magic to its limits, developing creative crops, such as candy that grows on trees, carrots that can be wielded in battle, and more. She even developed many fascinating new hatching potions! (She’s known to be particularly fond of the skeleton varieties, even lovingly crafting papier-mache bodies for the freshly-hatched spirits of creatures like caterpillars and octopuses so that they won’t feel left out.) Her unparalleled devotion to life magic and the healing arts eventually led to her being named the Master of Healers.

That being said, it is possible to work too hard. In fact, the intense productivity of the Flourishing Fields made it susceptible to an attack from the dreaded Burnout. Like the rest of her fellow citizens, the Joyful Reaper was transformed into an Exhaust Spirit during that frightening time. Luckily, all Habiticans pooled their efforts to defeat Burnout by focusing on their self-care tasks, serving as a reminder that even the most hardworking of us all needs to take some time to rest.

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Personal Life

The Joyful Reaper can usually be found working on one of her many projects in the Flourishing Fields, or taking a break to sample the delicious desserts that she grows in her garden. She’s devoted to her small cottage, and while some may find the decor spooky, she considers it to be quite charming!

In her spare time, she loves to prepare elaborate feasts, even hosting the yearly Fall Festival. She also works with Lemoness and King Manta to create fun transformation spells that Habiticans can use on themselves and friends, such as the Supernatural Skins and Spooky Sparkles.

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In fact, she and King Manta often collaborate on spell-crafting, as they’ve known each other from back before Dilatory sank. She also remembers the April Fool from when he was just a youth, though she kindly keeps his secret identity to herself. Clearly, she sympathizes with the desire to keep one’s past mysterious. She helps heal Lady Glaciate’s pets and mounts whenever they fall ill, and though her sweet demeanor is sometimes at odd with the brusque manner of the Master of Warriors, the two women have developed a meaningful rapport over the years.

Believe it or not, these accomplishments are only the beginning. The Joyful Reaper also runs Habitica’s most illustrious healing hospital, personally oversees each season’s new crops, and has opened three separate universities for healers, farmers, and party planners (respectively). “She’s an inspiration, that’s for sure!” attests one of her many students. “Somehow work always seems more fun with the Joyful Reaper around. Plus, she found a way to grow candy that is also a vegetable. What more could you ask for?”

We hope that you enjoyed this month’s spotlight! Read more about the other Masterclassers of Habitica here, and stay tuned for more in the future.

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Behind the Scenes: Spotlight on King Manta

The “Behind The Scenes” series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Today we’re doing something a little different — we’re expanding on the fictional world of Habitica by spotlighting one of the characters who commonly crops up. Enjoy!

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Becoming one of Habitica’s Masterclassers is often described as a “transformative experience,” but for the Master of Mages, the transformation became much more literal. King Manta is currently renowned as the benevolent merman who rules the undersea city of Dilatory, but his life started out quite differently.

Backstory

Born Prince Adamant I of Dilatory, he quickly became known for being a jolly, highly creative mage of prodigious talent, who was constantly weaving together spells in new and interesting ways. One of his most unconventional moves was spending time studying the natural magic of the Mantis Shrimps that surrounded their island city. King Adamant even helped craft new spells with them, including one that transformed him temporarily into a merman. Because of his prowess, he was offered the post of Master of Mages, and he heartily accepted.

Unfortunately, King Adamant was so stubbornly focused on his magical work that he let many of his other To-dos lie neglected. The citizens of Dilatory followed their leader’s example, and soon the streets were laden with Dark Red To-dos. Their bright color attracted an ancient, hungry predator from the deep: the fearsome Dread Drag’on of Dilatory. Its first vicious flurry of attacks struck the cliffs beneath Dilatory, and the entire city crumbled into the sea.

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Hah, that monster doesn’t seem so tough… until you realize that it’s five miles away.

Though all seemed lost, the Mantis Shrimps moved to save the citizens. They combined King Adamant’s transformation spell with their natural magic to enchant the waters around Dilatory so that all the people were metamorphosed into merfolk. Seeing what had befallen his city, King Adamant rallied all of his skill and power into battling the Dread Drag’on. As it chased them into a deep crevasse, King Adamant hurled spells at the monster each time it lunged for the citizens, but the Drag’on’s innate healing abilities left them at an impasse. Realizing that massive reinforcements would be critical to defeat the creature, King Adamant also wove a powerful sorcery that greatly slowed time within the crevasse, allowing years to speed past unnoticed. He triggered the spell to break only when help was available.

And finally, help did arrive. Hundreds of thousands of brave Habiticans rallied together to defeat the vicious Dread Drag’on in battle, freeing the citizens of Dilatory at last. Despite this, most of the citizens of Dilatory decided to remain together in their undersea city, and King Adamant changed his name to King Manta to renounce the stubbornness that had endangered his people and instead honor the Mantis Shrimps who had helped to protect them. He now rules their undersea city wisely, and the Dilatorians welcome the Habiticans into their city every Summer Splash gala. Thanks to King Manta’s spells, Habiticans and Dilatorians can transform back and forth simply by swimming into or stepping out of the enchanted waters.

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Meet some of the many denizens of Dilatory!

Personal Life

Most of the time, King Manta can be found in the throne room of the castle of Dilatory, overseeing issues brought to him by his people. Despite that, his work as the Master of Mages requires him to constantly monitor the underlying magic of Habitica to ensure that it is always growing and thriving, so he has been known to travel all across the land.

During his travels, he often visits the other Masterclassers. He’s close friends with the Joyful Reaper, who is old enough that she remembers him from the ancient times when Dilatory was above the waves. He has also bonded with Lady Glaciate over their shared love of interesting creatures, and was impressed when she managed to single-handedly saddle and ride the Kraken of Inkomplete, leading to a particularly unforgettable round of the Dilatory Derby.  His relationship with the April Fool is akin to that of an amused grandfather, and he often assures everyone that the lad means no harm. The astute have tartly noted, however, that his domain in Dilatory is the one area of Habitica that is mysteriously unaffected by any of the Rogue’s magic pranks, almost as if not a single spell is able to take hold.

King Manta is known to dote upon his adopted daughter Advantageous (known as Adva for short). He frets about her too, however, particularly after the frightening incident when she was mysteriously possessed. She has shown a burgeoning skill at magic herself, and he hopes that someday she will be named the Master of Mages after him.

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Adva is much nicer without that cursed necklace!

When he’s not consulting with his Mantis Shrimps or inventing exciting new spells that test the limits of magic, King Manta can be found curling up in Dilatory’s enchanted underwater library with a good book. “Luckily, I had waterproofed the entire collection,” he’ll explain to anyone who asks. “Actually, they’re also enchanted against fire, mold, pests, thieves, stabbing, and even inappropriate citations. Frankly, you could wield them in battle! But please don’t.”

We hope that you enjoyed this month’s spotlight! Read more about the other Masterclassers of Habitica here, and stay tuned for more in the future.

Behind the Scenes: Spotlight on the April Fool

The “Behind The Scenes” series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Today we’re doing something a little different — we’re expanding on the fictional world of Habitica by spotlighting one of the characters who commonly crops up. Enjoy!

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None of Habitica’s four Masterclassers is as famous — or as frustrating — as the lovable scoundrel who calls himself the April Fool. It’s true that the Master of Rogues may seem elusive and lazy, but there are hidden depths beneath his cheeky exterior.

Backstory

Very little is known about the April Fool’s past, and it might be tempting to assume that the flippant young man simply sprang out of the mist surrounding his floating city. Certainly when he first sailed across the borders of Habitica on some enchanted clouds, he was subject to considerable suspicion. What use was this layabout in the land of productivity?

Interestingly, it was the oldest and hardest-working of the Masterclassers, the Joyful Reaper, who first advocated in the Fool’s favor. When the Fool’s illusory skills inverted all of the domain’s major landmarks, the Joyful Reaper declared that she hadn’t laughed so much for a century, and encouraged Habiticans to embrace the opportunity for fun. (And if she noted any resemblance between the Fool and young Assiduous Fuss, the long-lost heir to the Flourishing Fields‘ most upright and uptight family… Well. For a skeleton, the Joyful Reaper can be surprisingly close-lipped.)

Eventually, Lemoness and Redphoenix struck a compromise with the Fool: he could continue his entertaining pranks if he contained the majority of his mirth to a single day. Since then, he has distracted and delighted us every year during the Spring Fling gala.

When asked about his greatest success, the April Fool tends to proclaim that his most recent prank has surpassed all his others. Indeed, he has only ever been ashamed of one: the shenanigans that lead up to the attack of the Be-Wilder. Other than that “minor mistake,” he insists that he has been “a paragon of perfect taste.” Whether or not you agree, most Habiticans can point at a favorite prank.

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The Time Travelers frequently revisit their own favorite April Fool’s Day.

Personal Life

When he isn’t causing havoc, the April Fool lives in the city of Mistiflying. He likes to drift over Habitica’s various domains, although some have noted that he avoids the Flourishing Fields — dare we say it — assiduously.

More often than not, Mistiflying hovers over the Stoïkalm Steppes, since the April Fool is engaged in a highly enthusiastic (and occasionally combative) courtship with Lady Glaciate of the Mammoth Riders. Though the brusque Master of Warriors may seem like an improbable match for the Fool, he spends a considerable amount of time concocting wildly over-the-top plans to win her love — and she spends a considerable amount of time rescuing him when those plans go dramatically awry. Both claim to be in it solely for the amicable bickering, but their compatriots are not convinced.

Within the city of Mistiflying, the April Fool is constantly renovating his house, since his boredom drives him to constant creative heights. One week’s flashy cottage may be next week’s towering castle. The only constancy is the April Fool’s ridiculous use of rainbow palettes. Although he favors bright hues for his artwork, his apparel, and even his hair, the April Fool’s favorite color is secretly a mundane shade of dark brown: the color of Lady Glaciate’s eyes.

Some of the April Fool’s favorite hobbies include card-playing, karaoke, and keeping his citizens entertained. The messenger-mages of Mistiflying admit that their ruler is capricious, but insist that variety is the spice of life. “Just yesterday, he got all the Mistiflies to switch our latest mail deliveries with freshly-baked pizzas,” one messenger said. “I mean, our routes are terribly delayed now, but the pizza was delicious, and there’s something to be said about that.”
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We hope that you enjoyed this month’s spotlight! Read more about the other Masterclassers of Habitica here, and stay tuned for more in the future.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Our Beloved Pets

The “Behind The Scenes” series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Every so often, we’ll treat you to some silly staff shenanigans or show you the work that goes into your favorite features. Enjoy!
Many of you have seen our fancy pixel pets on display next to our avatars, but in honor of today’s love-filled holiday, we wanted to show you some of the real-life pets that we adore. Enjoy!

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Autumn frequently uses Stealth, so it can be tough for Sabe to capture a photo.
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On the other hand, Sabe’s dog Menchi is a more outgoing adventurer…
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…as is Watson the Basenji! (Elementary, my dear pup!)
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It’s fitting that Verily the cat is so fond of decorations, since her owner is Leslie, the Seasonal Sorceress!
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Verily is always on the alert for new ways to earn gold and experience…
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…and never misses the opportunity to battle a Boss!
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Meanwhile, Vicky’s dog, Ruby, is thrilled at the prospect of checking off her “Exercise” Daily with an awesome hike.
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Since brain is just as important as brawn, Ruby also makes sure to spend time organizing her tasks…. her tasty, tasty tasks.
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After a hard day improving your Strength, Intelligence, and Perception, don’t forget to get plenty of rest to boost your Constitution!
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Phillip’s cat Muffin is a constant coding companion…
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…even when he falls asleep on the job!
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Keith’s dog Izzy is eager to meet you 😛
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Plus, his cats Talulah and Pilgrim know that being in a Party with friends is a great way to stay accountable to your tasks… even when your only To-Do is “Sit on the Rug.”
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Beth’s cat Beauford has lots of Dailies, including “Test Pillow Softness”…
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…”Play Sports”….
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…and even “Model on the Catwalk!” (Believe it or not, Beth made that bandanna herself.)
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Alys’ cat Anya might need to add “Studied Reading Comprehension” to her Dailies, but at least Kissy the dog can click the (+) on her “Sharing Graciously” Habit!
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Meanwhile, Alys’ cat Ben is prepared to leap into battle, dragons or no.
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Cantras’ dog Alvin says, “Don’t let anyone make you feel silly about the stuff you love! Even if you love a ball wrapped in an old sock.”
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Alvin also wants you to know that when your tasks are hard, you should never be afraid to ask for help.
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Megan’s cat Taz doesn’t even WANT to look at all those dark red To-Dos!
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Meanwhile, Megan’s other cat, Casper, shows us that he knows quite a few tricks, including rolling over for kibbles!
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Hulk the bunny needs to consult with her owner, shanaqui, about which class to choose. Should she be a Rogue, since she’s so good at disguise?
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Or should she be a Mage, since she’s so good at studying?
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This is too exhausting for Hulk. Time to Rest in the Inn.

We hope that you enjoyed meeting our real-world companions 🙂 Even though none of them are Gold, Red, or Cotton Candy Blue, they make up a spectacular menagerie.

Until next time!

BEHIND THE SCENES: Habitica Staff New Year’s Resolutions!

The “Behind The Scenes” series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Every so often, we’ll treat you to some silly staff shenanigans or show you the work that goes into your favorite features. Enjoy!

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2016 is behind us, and that means that it’s the season for New Year’s Resolutions! Since we’re all working on planning out our goals, we figured that we should let you in on the fun. Besides, this post means that we’re all eligible for the new Official Habitica New Years Resolution Challenge!  If you want a chance at being one of the five users to win 15 gems, you should definitely check it out.

So without further ado, here are the staff’s #HabiticaResolutions!

Leslie, AKA Lemoness:
“I want to get better at staying in touch with my long-distance friends! I’m hoping to build more frequent communication into my schedule. I’m making:

* A positive Habit for reaching out
*A Daily that repeats once a week, on the weekends.”

Sabe, AKA SabreCat:

“My 2017 goal is to drastically reduce the amount of time I spend on video games and social media. To that end, I have:

* A Daily, “No video gaming or recreational Internet”, active Monday-Saturday. Sunday is my cheat day!
* A + Habit “Resist a gaming or social media impulse”
* A – Habit “Fail to resist a gaming or social media impulse”. (I like splitting up + and – Habits so they return to yellow over time.)

It’s already leading to good results on my existing tasks, like the Habits ‘Pomodoro of focused effort’ and Reading, per chapter!'”

Keith, AKA TheHollidayInn:

 

“My 2017 goal is to finish 3 open source projects of my own (I’m terrible at posting my own stuff). 2 code and 1 hardware/code. To accomplish this goal:

*I have a ‘weekly setup daily’ which has the three project items as a check list.
*I then build out 3 todos every Sunday – one for each project. Then, it is my goal to complete those todos before the next week.”

Vicky, AKA redphoenix:

“My 2017 resolution is to go out and have new experiences at least once a month!

I’ve set a Daily for this resolution to pop up every Sunday as part of my weekly reflection, with four checklist items that I’d rotate through depending on where I was in the cycle. Here’s what it looks like:
Do A New Thing!
* Wk A: Research and Pick the next Thing
* Wk B: Plan the Trip
* Wk C: Do The Thing!
* Wk D: Debrief and brainstorm other New Things to do

(Can you tell that I’m as anxious for Monthlies as everyone else??)”

Phillip, AKA viirus:

“My 2017 goal is to be able to run a half marathon by fall. I won’t participate in one, but I want to be able to run the distance by then. As a stretch goal, getting below 2 hrs would be awesome, but not sure if I’d make that.
* A daily on 3 days a week to go for a run
* A positive habit, that I score when a run went particularly well
* One todo each for running 5k, 10 and then 21k”

Wish us luck!

STAFF SPOTLIGHT: Keith AKA TheHollidayInn

Welcome to the Staff Spotlight Series, where we interview members of the Habitica Team! Today we’re chatting with Keith, also known as TheHollidayInn. Keith is an avid engineer who is able to work on both the web version and Android app. He’s also spearheading the upcoming group plans!

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What’s your proudest contribution to Habitica?

“API-V3. This was not a solo contribution, but it was the first major project I worked on here at Habitica. The project was also the first time I was able to work with the team. Plus, cleaning code is always a good time.”

What are your secret superpowers?

“I can write a mean math proof. I’m not sure if it is too much of a secret since I have a degree in mathematics. However, when people ask me about what I studied in college, I tell them my last 2 years was doing that proof writing stuff you did in geometry grade-school times 10.”

What are your secret weaknesses?

“Reese’s candies. This become even more evident around the holidays. Peanut butter with chocolate is hard for me to resist.”

Favorite Habitican pets/mounts:

“Skeleton Dragons. I have liked dragons since I was a child. They really brought me into the fantasy world. And, the little skeleton dragon pet is so cute!”

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What some things you’re tracking in Habitica?

“I use Habitica to track all of my current in-progress tasks. I do two things:

  1. Every week I prepare multiple To-dos (with checklists) of projects or study items I want to complete during the week.
  2. I create a To-do each day with a list I need to complete the next day.”

How do you use Custom Rewards?

“I don’t use custom rewards much. I very much like gathering gold and in-game items. But, I do reward myself with a Friday dinner when I have completed my week’s tasks.”

Do you have a daily routine/ritual?

“Yep! And I have Habitica to thank for that. I wake up in the morning to run/workout. Then, I begin working through my To-do lists. I will then take a break to knock out some of my Daily ‘academic studies’ – which include reading non-programming books and learning languages, etc. Then, back to the work list and finally a cleaning Daily to make sure my apartment stays fresh :D”

How do you spend your time when you’re not working on Habitica?

“When I am not working on Habitica, I like to do many things! I read many books, hangout with friends, run 5ks, play video games, and take my dog Izzy to parks.”

Top Habitica tips and tricks?

“Use the Daily feature to get a routine. Start very small, but then slowly build. Once you get into a good routine, you will find yourself very productive. But always give yourself some margin of error. It is okay to miss a day or Daily.”

 

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Favorite Habitica anecdote?

“When I first started contributing to Habitica, I messed up a lot. I had very little experience with MEAN and Github, so I expected some mistakes, but I felt so bad about these mistakes that I messaged Alys apologizing. She told me stories of other contributors making mistakes and really motivated me to continue working on. I really think I would have stopped contributing if it wasn’t for her.”

 

Want to learn more about the people who make Habitica? Check out our other posts in this series:
Spotlight on Vicky AKA Redphoenix
Spotlight on Leslie AKA Lemoness
Spotlight on Sabe AKA SabreCat

Spotlight on Matteo AKA Paglias

Spotlight on Phillip AKA viirus

Habitica Playlist: The Habitican’s Travelogue

The Habitica team loves to listen to music. For fun, we’ve decided to share some of the songs that keep us motivated while we work, arranged as a story about one intrepid Habitican who embarks on a quest to improve her life. We hope that you enjoy it!


THE HABITICAN’S TRAVELOGUE (A Habitica Playlist)

THE MUSIC:

THE STORY:

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An aspiring adventurer hears the call of the land of Habitica, and decides that it’s time to set her fears aside and venture forth on a daunting quest for self-improvement (Level Up – Vienna Teng). At first, it isn’t easy. Despite our Hero’s best intentions, she is often distracted, but her determination spurs her to continue the journey  (Maps – Hey Ocean!).

Gradually, our Hero begins to make a name for herself in Habitica. The locals are intrigued by the Hero’s versatile productivity techniques and impressed by her confidence that she can tackle any task (Skeleton Key – Dessa). Soon, the Hero is welcomed into several Guilds, where other hard-working Habiticans cheer her on, share useful advice, and chat during their work breaks (Home – Phillip Phillips).

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Our Hero makes several close friends, and she decides to form a Party so that they can embark on epic quests together (The Road Goes On – The Lord of the Rings Musical Soundtrack). The Party voyages through the far reaches of the land, from the Meandering Mountains to the Flourishing Fields. The friends marvel at all the exciting goals that they are achieving and feel unstoppable (Where No One Goes – Jónsi).

 

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Now our Hero is confident and happy, eagerly adding new items to her task list every day (Checking Things Off of a To-Do List Early in the Morning – Lullatone). However, as she piles more and more obligations onto herself, her goals are no longer realistic, and she begins to get overwhelmed (When Will My Life Begin – Mandy Moore). She loses sight of her original flexibility and curiosity, and instead pushes herself to the breaking point, resulting in a meltdown (Harder Better Faster Stronger – Daft Punk).

Our Hero is frustrated and wonders if she should give up, but her Party members and Guildmates encourage her, explaining that a few setbacks shouldn’t mean the end of her quest (The Middle – Jimmy Eat World). Heartened, our Hero decides to embrace her occasional failures as a natural part of the growing process. With a revised list of goals and a healthier, more balanced attitude, this Habitican is ready to conquer her monsters once more (Try Everything – Shakira).


 

We hope that you enjoyed our Habitica playlist, and that you’ll be humming along as you attack your tasks. Now go get productive!

 

 

CONTRIBUTOR SPOTLIGHT: Cantras!

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Welcome to the Contributor Spotlight Series, where we interview amazing members of the Habitica community! Today we’re chatting with Cantras, one of our Moderators and Challengers. She helps to answer questions and safeguard the community, along with keeping Challenges running smoothly.

Cantras, how did you get involved with Habitica?

“I probably came to Habitica from a Reddit post, since I used to spend far too much time there. Then I mostly helped out in the Tavern and Newbies guild. I think I got noticed as maybe-future-moderator after trying to mediate a heated discussion in the Back Corner. Also, I run the monthly Habitversary Challenges and the matching blog.”

What’s your proudest contribution to Habitica?

“The Elven Grove Guild — where people can point out challenges that are past their expiration date (‘Push-up challenge June 2014’) or otherwise in need of help, and get it taken care of. I think the Tavern Challenge list is 2/3 the length it was when I started, and there’s a lot fewer questions in the Tavern like ‘I’ve been in this challenge a long time, is it EVER going to close?'”

What are your secret superpowers?

squirrel wrangling Weapons-grade diplomacy, and enough skill in Google Translate to sometimes make users think I actually speak their language. Also, I have two toenails on my left pinky toe.”

What are your secret weaknesses?

“I can focus forever on a distraction — like spending 20 minutes leaning over my squirrel tank just watching her run on her wheel — but I have to buckle down with headphones and StayFocusd and so on to focus on something productive, even fun-productive, for more than a few minutes at a time.”

What are your favorite Habitican pets/mounts?

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“I’m partial to the dragons, but I’m also a fan of the ones that make me laugh when I hatch them — the red rock, the egg mounts, the skeleton snail.”

What are some things you’re tracking in Habitica?

“All the things. Stuff I want to read, things I want to learn, skills I want to develop. And also making sure I eat breakfast and get sleep.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Lately it’s been a lot of Pokemon Go (if we walk until the dog is worn out, it counts as my fitness daily!) , but it’s also reading books and articles, and playing board/card games. I love Lords of Waterdeep, and we play a lot of Ascension.”

What are your top Habitica tips and tricks?

“People in Habitica talk a lot about what works for them — steal their ideas! Not everything will work for you, but if someone’s gushing about StayFocusd or Pomodoro method or flossing or meditating or Duolingo, investigate! I’d probably speak German, Esperanto, and Spanish by now if I’d checked out Duolingo the first time someone gushed about how great it was.”

Where do you like to hang out in Habitica?

“I hang out on my task page or else I’ll forget what it was I was in the middle of doing, but I almost always have the Chrome Chat Extension running for the Tavern and the Newbies guild. I’m also in the Legendary Book Club, because books!”

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Guest Post: Does Time Tracking Actually Help You Get More Done?

Today we’re excited to bring you a guest post from Kat Boogaard, one of our productivity pals at Toggl! Read on to learn about our awesome integration, as well as how you can use Toggl and Habitica together to achieve your goals.

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If you’re not tracking your time, your work towards your goals might proceed at a snail’s pace.

What would life (and productivity, for that matter) be like if time simply wasn’t an issue? Well, if you ask us, the answer is, “Pretty darn boring.”

We know—sometimes time is that pesky thing that you feel like you never quite have enough of. But, more often than not, it’s actually a pretty awesome motivator.

Perhaps you’re racing against time to defuse a bomb in your favorite video game. Maybe you’re racking your brain for the right answer while the Jeopardy theme song plays in the background along with that classic, faintly ticking clock. Or maybe you’re on a training run, attempting to beat your previous personal best mile time.

In all of those instances, time is the very thing that lights a fire under your butt and inspires you to focus, keep your nose to the grindstone, and get stuff done. So, is it any wonder then, that tracking your beloved time could be just what you need to kickstart your productivity?

Personally, we’re big believers in time-tracking. And, using the seamless Toggl integration combined with the gamification approach of Habitica, keeping a watchful eye on how you spend your hours couldn’t be easier—meaning you can instantly unlock the secret sauce to using your time more effectively and more efficiently with just the click of a button.

Not totally convinced that you’re ready to start the clock? Well, we’re here to change your mind. Here are three key benefits that come along with tracking your time. If nothing else, we’re willing to bet you have the Jeopardy theme song stuck in your head now.

  1. Increased Awareness

Let’s start with one of the most obvious benefits first, shall we? Keeping a close watch on your time will likely mean that you naturally waste much less of it.

Why? Well, for starters, it instills a certain sense of urgency. Think of it as racing yourself—you’re eager to get as much productive work done in a single time block as you possibly can. Knowing that you have a running clock ticking away inspires you to keep focused on the task at hand.

Secondly, tracking your time achieves the not-so-simple task of raising awareness about where all of your precious hours are going. Perhaps it’ll bring you to the realization that you’re spending two hours per day on your inbox—something you could easily cut down. Or, maybe you’ll be slapped with the rude awakening that tasks that should take you thirty minutes are taking you an hour—because you’re falling into the trap of mindless internet surfing.

Regardless of what conclusion you come to, tracking your time is sure to be an enlightening experience. After all, there’s no way to know how much time you’re wasting without actually tracking it.

And, the best part? Your increased awareness is then sure to result in increased efficiency. Think about a marathon runner, for example: Their goal is to always beat their previous personal best time. With a time-tracker in your arsenal, you can approach your work tasks with a similar mentality—further adding to the gamification of productivity you already enjoy with Habitica.

  1. Improved Processes

Your workload is fluid—it’s always changing. So, that means your approach to that work should be flexible as well.

However, all too often, we find ourselves completely married to a routine. We stand firm in our workflows not necessarily because they’re efficient or productive, but because we’ve simply always done things that way.

Unfortunately, that can lead to a lot of bottlenecks throughout your workday—places where you’re getting stuck, simply because your process doesn’t quite gel with your work anymore. Enter the miracle of time-tracking.

Your timer will make it easy to identify those places where things are getting road blocked and held up. And, then? You can take that valuable information to tweak and improve your own processes to always maximize your effectiveness and efficiency.

Remember, your approach doesn’t have to be set in stone, and time-tracking will make it that much easier to adapt and adjust when the time comes.

  1. A More Realistic Workload

Have you ever heard of the Planning Fallacy? This psychological concept asserts that we all have the tendency to severely underestimate the amount of time a specific task will take us. We’re all a little too optimistic, apparently.

While that may allow you to approach your day with a positive feeling, it typically always leads to disaster. That to-do list you were so sure you could conquer in eight hours is left mostly unfinished, and you wrap up your day feeling completely discouraged and disheartened.

Being more realistic about your workload is yet another key benefit of tracking the amount of time different tasks and projects take you. When planning out your day or your week, you can have actual information about how much time specific things take. You no longer need to make your best (absurdly optimistic) guess—you can now form your plans based in actual reality.

Ending each day feeling productive and accomplished, rather than frustrated and frazzled? Well, if that’s not a convincing enough benefit, we don’t know what is.

Many people roll their eyes at the thought of tracking their time—after all, it just seems like one more thing you need to add to your ever-growing to-do list. However, time-tracking is not only incredibly easy (particularly when directly integrated with Habitica!), but it’s also super beneficial.

By keeping a watchful eye on how you’re spending your minutes, you’ll wind up with less wasted time, an improved approach to your work, and a more realistic handle on just how much you can get done in any given day.

If you consider yourself a time-tracking skeptic, do us a favor and at least give it a try. We’re willing to bet you’ll be humming a different tune (ahem, we’re putting money down on the Jeopardy theme song) in no time.

UPDATE 12/2/16: Our Toggl integration is now also available for Firefox as well as Chrome! Enjoy 🙂

 

BEHIND THE SCENES: Seasonal Events!

The “Behind The Scenes” series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Every so often, we’ll treat you to some silly staff shenanigans or show you the work that goes into your favorite features. Enjoy!

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What would Habitica be without our four Grand Galas to celebrate the passage of the seasons?

Believe it or not, the first event was created on a whim by Leslie, whose fondness for seasonal decoration eventually led to her becoming the Seasonal Sorceress in-game.  Shortly before Habitica’s first Halloween, she whipped up a set of monster skins for fun and we stuck them on the site as a silly extra… and were blown away by the delighted response from our community.

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The original Spooky Skin set, now retired, that was thrown together in a single morning, and the improved Supernatural Skin set, which we now release every fall.

Emboldened by the success, we began to plan out a more ambitious winter event, involving decorations for the Non-Player Characters around the site, a winter-themed quest,  limited-edition winter equipment, snowballs that turned your Party-mates into snowmen…. and the rest is history.

So what goes into making a Seasonal Event?

Answer: a lot of work.

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Some of Leslie’s original quick scribbles, brainstorming possible Summer Splash outfits…
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…and the eventual pixel art that resulted! (Note that the designs were spread out over two separate years. We plan these things far in advance!)

 

Leslie usually has brainstorming sessions a few times a year where she batch-plans events, including art, potential features, and quests. When we’re a few months out from the start of the event, it’s time to talk to Sabe about what’s needed from a programming perspective, to make sure that enough time is budgeted. Finally, the new art assets are all completed a month or so before the event launches, so that we have time to build it out!

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If you summon the Mysterious Time Travelers during a Grand Gala, you’ll see them dressed for the opposite season. That’s partially a joke, but it’s also partially a nod to our users from the Southern Hemisphere. Though the vast majority of Habiticans live in the Northern Hemisphere, we didn’t want our friends below the equator to be forgotten!

We quickly figured out that prioritizing things that could be repeated each year would free us up to keep innovating. That first year of events was pretty exhausting to implement, simply given the sheer number of new assets and features that all had to be prepared at once, but now we can reuse lots of art, code, and content. That leaves us free to add something new and interesting every year without burning out!

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A sneak peek of spooky things to come…

Now Leslie and Sabe aren’t doing it all by themselves anymore — Beffymaroo and various pixel art contributors pitch in! Even so, it still takes a lot of cooperation, coordination, and commitment to bring you a new Grand Gala. But when we see how much fun the community has, it makes it all worthwhile.

Until next time!