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Advanced Tips for Challenge Creators

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Challenges are community events in which players compete and earn prizes by completing a group of related tasks. This page is dedicated to more advanced challenge mechanics. Feel free to join us over at the Guild Leaders & Challenge Creators guild to ask any questions and share your challenges! If you would like more exposure for your challenge, you can submit it to be featured in Bailey announcements by filling out this form. To qualify, your challenge must have a fixed end date and a gem prize of any amount.

Challenge Creation Tips Edit

Please read the Running a Challenge page before beginning.

Tag Edit

Once you have determined the name, guild the challenge belongs to, and number of gems, you will also need to enter a tag name. Because many users participate in many challenges at once, it's necessary to use a short but descriptive tag. If it will be a recurring challenge, a date or number addition to the tag may help differentiate it from past or future recurrences of the same challenge. For example, a challenge to help you stop smoking may have the tag "StopSmoking0516" for May, 2016, but "StopSmoking0616" for June, 2016.

Examples of challenge tags that may include emojis and/or dates (for recurring challenges).

You can also use emojis within the tag. This can help add a theme of sorts to your challenge, which can be especially helpful if the challenge requires participants to respond in the guild chat.

Description Edit

Your challenge description should at minimum describe what the challenge should be used for and any instructions that the participants need to keep in mind. However, there are other things that you can also include in the description:

  • How you will choose a winner (e.g., using a random number generator for those that have completed a specific task or simply those that participated in the challenge, the participant with the highest score on a required Daily, etc.)
  • Past winners (to keep track and possibly avoid giving it to the same person twice)
  • Gamification - Creating a story line about the challenge.

Tasks Edit

If this is your first time creating this challenge, make sure you know which order all the challenges should appear. The tasks created first will appear lowest. For example, if you want challenge participants to check off the following To-Do's in a challenge to stop smoking, you would enter in the 15 day streak To-Do first, followed by the 10 day streak, followed by the 5 day streak. Participants in the challenge can rearrange the task list once they join the challenge.

5 day streak, No Smoking

10 day streak, No Smoking

15 day streak, No Smoking

Checklists Edit

When creating or editing a challenge, you can't add checklists to challenge tasks. As a workaround, if you want the challenge participants to work with checklists, you can ask them to add checklists themselves. (But the challenge creator will not be able to see the participants' checklists.) You can describe in the challenge description or in the notes of a challenge task (best in both) which checklist items the participants should add.

Please keep in mind that only the 30 most recently completed To-dos are shown in each participant's list of done To-dos! That means if participants check off a To-do, they may not be able to look at it later, and cannot look up or edit anything they wrote in that To-do (for example, checklists or notes). Notes can still be read by going to the challenge itself, clicking on the participant's name under "How's Everyone Doing?", and then hovering over the task. Checklists, however, cannot. (The only way for the participant to retrieve them is by searching through a data export of their User Data.) So please design your challenge in such a way that a To-do with a checklist is only checked off when the participant no longer needs to look at that checklist. (The checklist items themselves can be checked off at any time though.)

(Example: If a participant has to count the days on which they did a certain task, and report the number at the end of a challenge that runs for a month, there should either be one To-do with a long checklist for each day of the challenge, or there should be a reminder to note down the number for each week in a task that stays active. If there are only To-dos for each week, each with checklist items for each day, and no reminder to take notes, then some of those weekly To-dos will probably be gone at the end of the challenge, so the participant can't sum up the days from them.)

Advanced Challenge Mechanics Edit

There are some ways that you can design your challenge to ensure that it is being used for its intended purpose.

  • Habits in challenges are hard to enforce because they do not need to be checked off to prevent damage from occurring. If you have a Habit that should be checked off once a day (i.e., +/- Stayed on task at work), then you can have a Daily that reminds participants to check that Habit (i.e., Mark productivity Habit).

    A challenge note can a) instruct a participant to edit it (top) and b) be edited by a participant to show compliance with the challenge (bottom).

  • Often, challenge creators will require challenge participants to write a response in the notes section of a task. A challenge creator can see the notes section of every participant (both through the CSV file, described below, or through the challenge page), but not checklist items. Using the notes can ensure that the task is being performed properly and not just being checked off to gain the points.
  • If a challenge requires participants to post responses in the chat of a larger guild, emojis may be helpful in discerning normal chat posts from those pertaining to the challenge. Requiring participants to put an emoji before their challenge response makes it easier for challenge creators to identify and keep track of challenge chat participation.
  • Some challenge creators have started creating challenge-specific guilds where participants can post responses and updates in the chat. This is particularly useful for challenges regarding a sensitive subject, as guilds can be private. These guilds are often temporary, and the creator may delete them after the challenge is completed (thus deleting the chat history as well, for added privacy).

Long-Term Challenges Edit

If you plan to run a winnable challenge for a long time (longer than a month), it helps to include the following parts in the description (especially if it has a high gem prize, and even more so if it's a duel or melee in the guild ⚔ The Duelling Grounds ⚔ or similar):

  • What will happen if someone is temporarily absent from Habitica or unable to do the tasks (for example, on vacation or ill)? Will they have to complete their dailies nonetheless to qualify as a winner? Can they make up for the lost time before or after their absence or illness?
  • What will happen if a participant leaves Habitica or can't be contacted? (Example: "If a participant doesn't answer to PMs for two weeks, they lose automatically. If they have stated before that they are on vacation until an expected return date, the two weeks count from the expected return date onwards.")

If a long-term challenge has lots of Dailies and Habits and several participants, it also has a higher risk of becoming a "large challenge", i.e., one which takes up lots of data storage (because the history for each Dailiy and Habit is recorded for each participant - and the longer the challenge runs, the more history data will be stored).

Large Challenges Edit

Rarely, trying to edit or join a large challenge with many members will result in an "Entity too large" error. This error makes the challenge difficult to join, leave, edit, or close. Cloning and closing the challenge annually (or more frequently if it has a large number of participants) prevents this error.

Challenge Editing Edit

When you edit a challenge, the challenge is affected for both current and future participants alike. For example, if mid-way through the challenge, the challenge creator adds a task, that task will then appear on the tasks page for each participant, and any user that joins the challenge after that point will also see the new task. This may be helpful for warding off cheating by adding To-Dos in a spaced out manner for a month-long challenge, but beware! Adding a new Daily to an already existing challenge may result in damage to your participants if they don't see it before their Cron. A feature to delay damage from newly added Dailies for one Cron has already been requested. If a task is deleted from the challenge, a broken megaphone icon will appear in the task and state that the task has been removed from the challenge; the participant will then be prompted to keep or remove that task. 

Challenge Completion Edit

At any time during a challenge, the challenge creator can check participants' progress by clicking on their username in the "How's Everyone Doing?" section of the challenge beneath the task, or by downloading the spreadsheet, or CSV file, consisting of all users' challenge progress by clicking on the blue "Export to CSV" button beneath the challenge tasks.

The CSV file lists the User ID (UID) and username of each participant and the following for each of their challenge tasks: the task type and name separated by two colons (e.g., "daily::Brush your teeth" or "to-do::Clean your room"), the task value, and any text in the notes box. Task value change at Cron depending on the task type.

  • For Habits, the challenge creator can easily determine if the participant is doing well on that Habit by high positive values.
  • The task value for Dailies may appear positive if the participant is regularly checking them off or it may appear negative if the Dailies have been going unchecked.
  • The task value for To-Dos reaches a maximum value of +1 if the participant checks it off on the day they join the challenge, and will become more negative in subsequent days depending on the difficulty level of the task. If the value for the To-Do is 0, then this means that either a) the participant joined the challenge the day you downloaded the file and has not completed that task yet, or b) the participant has been in Resting in the Inn, preventing the task value of the To-Do from decreasing. The CSV file does not express whether a participant has successfully checked off a To-Do or not.
  • Note: Skills that affect tasks values, such as Brutal Smash and Searing Brightness, do NOT effect the task values of challenges. This is to make comparing the task values between challenge participants easier.
  • In addition, the CSV file makes it easy to scroll through to see any notes that participants may have edited per challenge guidelines. For example, a challenge Habit may state "Pick a bad habit, and write the habit in the notes." The participant may write "Forgetting to floss" in the notes section of the Habit, and then presses the "+" button every time they remember to floss and the "-" every time they forget to floss. The CSV file will show "Forgetting to floss" in the notes column for the task of that user.

The CSV file can make it easier to identify participants who have "cheated" in a challenge. For example, if your challenge has a To-Do that states "Go to bed on time for 14 days" and the participant has a task value of +1 for that task, they may have checked off that To-Do immediately upon joining the challenge, rather than after 14 days of adhering to the challenge's principles. Optionally, the challenge creator can remove any participants with a large negative score on any Dailies or Habits that hints that the participant was not as successful within the challenge.

If the challenge requires the participants to actively participate in the guild chat, the owner may wish to double check that participants who have checked off tasks requiring chat participation have actually done so. This can be made easier with the use of emoji, as mentioned above.

Thus, if a challenge creator decides that the winner of the challenge will be randomly selected from all users who complete all challenge To-Dos, a common method for determining the winner of a challenge may be as follows:

  1. Download the CSV file.
  2. Remove any users who have obviously cheated by immediately checking off To-Dos that require time before checking off (optional).
  3. Remove any users who have strong negative values for any Dailies or To-Dos (optional).
  4. Remove any users who have not complied with adding notes into tasks that require editing.
  5. Look at the "How's Everyone Doing?" section on the challenge page to determine which users have completed To-Dos. Remove any users who have not completed all To-Dos (Note: this method can be tedious if your challenge has many participants; there is currently a feature request for obtaining this information easier).
  6. Verify any completed To-Dos that require guild or party chat participation and remove any participants who have checked those To-Dos off but not participated.
  7. Use a random number generator from the remaining number of participant's to choose a winner.

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