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As with any game, there are a number of obstacles that the players of Habitica face. Some are built directly into the game in order to motivate users (Motivational Obstacles). Obstacles also arise from the user in the form of Detrimental Obstacles, which are obstacles of the self.
These obstacles are part of the game. They are intended to motivate users to complete their tasks and progress toward the goals they have set for themselves.
- Main article: Death Mechanics
After death, players are revived but lose a level, all of their gold, and a random piece of equipment. A level 1 player loses all of their experience points, their gold, and their training sword. They will be able to repurchase the lost equipment under certain conditions listed in Death:Lost Equipment. For more details, refer to Death Mechanics.
Damage from Quests
- Main article: Quests
Quests are optional and allow party members to cooperate in battle against bosses or to collect items. There are rewards for successful completion, but there is also the risk of damage caused by not completing Dailies. Any damage from missed Dailies is inflicted on the entire party and is multiplied by the strength of the boss. Damage caused by the boss can quickly lead to death. This social accountability is one of the most motivating features of Habitica because personal successes and failures impact others.
Habitica is a self-monitored game that relies on the player's desire for self-improvement. To play the game successfully and thus reap the benefits of Habitica, the player is required to accomplish their self-assigned tasks. Habitica works by assuming the player is reporting honest activity and not abusing the mechanics, as doing so would only sabotage their real-life progress.
Habitica is designed to support and cultivate the life and habits each individual user is striving for (e.g., health, happiness, productivity, responsibility, etc.). Each user joins Habitica for their own reasons and many users face times when their focus on those reasons wavers. This can result in too much focus on Habitica-as-game or apathy toward Habitica and the benefits it offers.
In some cases, users begin cheating themselves out of the benefits of Habitica by placing an undue amount of focus on the game (e.g., foregoing spending quality time with the kids just to level up in Habitica). A more extreme form of this is a user who completely stops caring about the benefits of Habitica and begins to focus only on the game, which could lead to them checking off tasks which were never completed or mass-clicking on a "fake" task just to level up, gain gold, etc. Again, there is no such thing as cheating in Habitica. This player is only cheating themselves and undermining their original goals for joining the game.
Take a step back and reassess why you are playing Habitica. Has it begun to dominate your life or to take an undue amount of time and focus? Are your tasks about real life or completing something in Habitica-as-game? Is Habitica supporting your life or is your life supporting Habitica? As users are brought to Habitica by a desire to better themselves, a bit of self-reflection and assessment is likely all that is needed to refocus.
Many players become attached to their character's equipment. They may at times feel they are unable to complete enough tasks to level up, or do not have enough gold to buy a health potion to save their character's life. Hence, they might feel tempted to elude the loss by clicking habits or checking off tasks they have not actually completed.
If the player performs enough tasks that they either level up or earn enough gold to buy a healing potion, they can prevent death.
A player achieves this more easily by:
- Completing Dailies or To Do's that can be finished before the day ends, particularly dark red dailies which provide the most experience points.
- Thinking of, adding, and completing tasks that might have been forgotten on their To Do list.
- Completing good Habits that can be accomplished within a few hours.
- Equipping any INT or PER boosting equipment the player may have (e.g., Mage equipment left over after changing classes) prior to completing any more tasks, or using skills to buff these attributes.
- Avoiding bad habits.
Alternatively, it may be possible to evade death by healing with Healer skills. While healers have a self-heal spell, they also have a party heal. Keep in mind that these spells heal a relatively small amount of health and one skill use may not provide enough health to prevent character death.
Dealing with character death
If these methods fail, the player can let their character die to learn the value of loss. When gold, levels, or items are lost the player may gain more motivation to make sure the death does not occur again by planning and preparing for future days' activities.
Greying-out Neglected Dailies
Players normally attempt this method of evasion when they have neglected their Dailies to the point that they cause more damage than the player can heal via leveling up or healing potions. The player might decide to pretend these Dailies do not exist by un-assigning them from all days of the week, and therefore not receiving any damage by not completing them.
If players have neglected Daily tasks, they can consider:
- Use Fortify to reset all their orange, red, and dark red Dailies to yellow (note that this has a gem cost).
- Rename their red tasks to something more achievable but relevant to the original task (e.g., rename "1 hr exercise" to "30 min exercise").
- Use checklists in the Dailies to reduce the damage from a partially-completed Daily.
- Join a challenge that centers around completing all tasks for a little motivation via competition.
- Use one or more mechanic described in Task List FAQs: Repeats and Reprieves such as staying at the inn or "buying off" a Daily.
- Talk to a party or guild member about the Daily. Accountability is a huge reason why parties and, to a certain extent, guilds exist. Players are more likely to keep up a habit if other people are counting on them to do their Dailies.
- Switch a particularly challenging Daily to a Habit for a while, where missed days are not quite so damaging. The Habit can then be restored as a Daily in the future as appropriate.
Procrastination is something many Habitica players experience. It occurs when a player consistently delays their tasks to complete at a later date. Consequently, they may build up a very long To Do list that seems daunting. This overwhelms the player and may cause them to give up or restart the whole game.
- Improve your work environment. People procrastinate more often when their work environment is uncomfortable, cluttered, loud, too bright, etc. Usually, something as simple as raising a desk chair or dimming the monitor can make a huge difference in the player's productivity.
- Use tags to focus on fewer tasks each day and ensure that those tasks are done. This gives the illusion of a shorter and more achievable To Do list, making it less likely for the player to procrastinate on these items.
- Create deadlines and implement them with tags. Humans have an uncanny ability to believe there are more than 24 hours in a day. Creating deadlines requires a reality check to realize how much time is actually available to complete the tasks. The most effective deadlines have a time and a date (e.g. I will finish _____ by Friday, 6:00 PM.)
- Prioritize tasks from easiest to hardest and work on the tasks that are easy/fun first before looking at any of the other tasks. Even if the hardest tasks are not completed, the completion of at least one or two tasks is better than none.
- Choose the most important To Do's and make them Dailies. Losing health can serve as an impetus to push the player to work. Once completed, delete the Daily and check off the To Do. (See Poisonous Dailies for more explanation.)
- Break down a major or difficult task into multiple parts. This makes the task more manageable and less intimidating to complete. It also results in earning more gold and XP. Some ideas are splitting the task into time intervals or splitting the task into separate parts (e.g. splitting a 5000 word paper into 5 sets of 1000 words). Players can either create separate tasks for each part, or use the checklist feature to break down Dailies or To Do's into multiple parts. Using checklists has the advantage of reducing the overall number of tasks, which otherwise might be overwhelming.
- Work for only two minutes. The hardest part of overcoming procrastination is starting the work. After two minutes of working, a player will be able to assess how they feel and whether they believe they can continue working. If they do not believe they can continue, then they can take a break until they feel comfortable before repeating the two minute process.
- Take regular breaks after periods of working to prevent burnout and improve focus. (See: Pomodoro Technique to learn how to work effectively in intervals.)
- Once working, make sure to avoid anything distracting. A player can use the Habitica Chrome extension to prevent themselves from going on distracting websites. Cell phones and tablets should be turned off or put on silent. If the internet is not required for the task, turn it off. To make this process more pleasant, a player could create a separate Habit titled "Successfully removed all distractions."
- Avoid rabbit trails. Even with external distractions removed, internal distractions can still be a problem. These can be either relevant (tangential ideas about the work you're doing) or irrelevant (ideas about other work, worries, fears, daydreaming, etc.) Keep a notepad handy and jot down any distracting ideas, then return to your work; that way you won't try to mentally juggle too many things at once (see also Capture).
- Take regular rewards. Behavior that's rewarded is more likely to be repeated. Make your rewards small but relevant, and take them often. Make sure at least some are real world rewards, not just buying new gear for your avatar.
- Team up for encouragement and accountability. Whether you post in a Guild, join a Party, or talk to a person you know in real life, letting someone else know what you're trying to do makes it easier for you to follow through on it.
- Main article: Burnout
This loss of balance can also lead to apathy or Burnout which occurs when players no longer care about completing tasks. This can be due to expecting too much, not feeling there is enough of a challenge, not enjoying the rewards, or missing out on the social elements.
Burnout lists various methods of combating this.
Self-Imposed Challenges has some user tips for keeping the game interesting.
- Main article: Party
If you enjoy questing, but others in your party are experiencing burnout or apathy, this can hinder your progress and your enthusiasm. Keeping Parties Motivated lists ideas for engaging party members to keep them active and energized.
If your party has still lost interest, you can:
- Leave the party and find a new one that matches your own goals in the Looking for Group (Party Wanted) guild.
- Create a new party and invite members
- Create a solo party to complete the quests alone.