Has your spouse been bugging you for the last week about taking out the trash? Can’t remember the last time you clipped your toenails? Keep forgetting to mail off that important form?
Sounds like you’ve got a case of procrastination, and you might need some help getting out of your chair. If self-motivation isn’t your strong suit, EpicWin is here to help. The developers’ goal: to make it fun enough to get things done that you don’t procrastinate.
EpicWin is a lot like a regular task manager, only with a role-playing game built around it. You create a character, complete quests, earn experience and loot, and walk away from the washing machine with much bigger biceps* thanks to all those stamina points you’ve earned.
*Bigger ego is probably more accurate. Any muscle growth experienced as a result of completing quests is imaginary.
So how do you go from regular peasant to stalwart dwarven chore-master? Keep reading as our hero Flobgoblin defeats the greatest threats in all of Choredom.
Creating Your Character
The character creation process is a simple one, and unlike most real games, the choices you make at the start are purely aesthetic. While the choices you make here won’t make any practical difference, it does seem like the only way to start afresh is by removing and reinstalling the app, so choose an avatar you’ll be happy to look at as you go about your day!
Type in your name, pick an avatar, and you’re ready to begin.
Creating & Completing Quests
In EpicWin, tasks are called quests. On the app’s main screen, you can view, complete and search your quests, and tap the pencil icon to create a new one. To complete a quest, tap and hold the circled number to the left of the quest description. The quest will burst into a shower of stars to let you know it’s been marked as completed–or in EpicWin vernacular, beaten–and you’ll receive gold and attribute points.
When you first install EpicWin and create a character, there are several tutorial tasks that explain various parts of the app as you complete them so that you’re quickly up to speed.
When you’re creating a new quest, you’re given many of the options that serious task managers possess–the ability to set a due date and an alarm, set a scheduled frequency for repeating tasks, and you can even link the task to one of your iCal or Google Calendar calendars.
After setting those, you’ll notice some more obscure features. Set the ‘epicness’ based on the significance of the quest, and you’ll be rewarded accordingly. Checking the letterbox, for example, is the kind of thing you’d want to set to the minimum epicness of 50, while completing a big project would be better suited at the high end of 300.
You’ll also want to decide on an attribute for your quest. You can pick one attribute from Strength, Stamina, Intellect, Social and Spirit. Use your best judgement to theme your quest. I like to make doing the dishes a feat of stamina, the evil job that tests the limits of my will. Writing a review of some gimmicky iPhone application might be a feat of Intellect.
EpicWin doesn’t have all the task creation and organization features that a hardcore GTD follower would want to see, but for the fun, light nature of the application it’s surprisingly versatile.
Progressing Your Character
As you progress your character by finishing quests, you’ll occasionally earn loot. The loot doesn’t actually do anything, so it’s more akin to earning an achievement in a regular game. You can share your loot on Twitter and Facebook if you’re the kind of person who sends Mafia Wars spam to your friends, and see what you were awarded the loot for.
As you complete quests, your character is moved along a map. You can scroll down the map to see a history of your loot, and the total gold collected and miles travelled is tallied on the page as well. Unfortunately, after reinstalling the app the loot icons on the map are bugged out and show a white square.
After you’ve completed a bunch of quests, you’ll have gained enough experience to level up. When you do, the app makes sure you don’t miss the occasion:
You can check your character’s profile to see how many attribute points they have and how close to earning the next point they are. Like many features of EpicWin, there’s no significant ramifications for having more of one stat over another, but if you’ve used a system to determine what sort of quests reward certain attributes you’ll be able to get a rough overview of where you spend your time.
At the bottom of the profile you can also see your level and how much experience you have until you level up again, keeping you motivated to peck away at your task list.
There’s no doubt that EpicWin is a fun approach to something that’s usually pretty dry. The developers have created a great game-like interface with an awesome soundtrack (which may get annoying after a while).
For an app of its kind, EpicWin is pretty full-featured in the task management department. Scheduling, alarms, and calendar syncing are all essential basics. Productivity nerds will find that the app falls short of their needs–there are no contexts or projects, no way to assign tasks to others and no interface through which to access your tasks via the desktop or web.
But it’s not really meant to be that kind of task manager, either, so I can’t fault it for that. I wouldn’t recommend the developers focus on adding features to that aspect of the application. What I would recommend is that they improve the gameplay aspect, adding meaning to attributes and loot, and perhaps including a social element. People are addicted to games like World of Warcraft not just because their character advances, but because when they do gain a level or equip a new piece of loot it has an impact on the gameplay and their interactions with others.
As it stands, the app is more of a gimmick that might motivate you to complete tasks while you’re testing it out, but once the novelty of flashy screens and useless loot wears off, it’s less likely to provide a motivating factor.
If you don’t need a heavy duty productivity app, EpicWin is as good or better than any of the lighter alternatives, and brings some fun to the process. It’s definitely worth a look, and the gameplay component has potential for the future.