As soon as the Item Store unlocks at lvl 2, we all (myself included) crack our knuckles, scrap our custom rewards, and start racking up the gear. It’s what gives Habit it’s draw! We gaming-folk are used to MMORPG-ing till the wee hours of the night for just one more piece. And we’re a competitive bunch, trying continuously to out-spec our comrades.
What lead me to create HabitRPG was a culmination of my readings on habit-development (I’ll list some books at the end). Most gave special emphasis on rewarding yourself for good behavior. Recommended rewards were drinks / movies / video games with your friends; weekend getaways with your spouse; one chapter of a novel; stuff like that, they were generally social, and always real-life. Why? Because social / real-life rewards recharge your batteries - and you need to recharge your batteries (and earn that privilege). Thusly is there a reward system.
A long while into Habit’s development I added digital rewards (item store) just for fun. It created some extra gamification flare, and a tremendous amount of awesomeness. But after noticing we’d all mostly switched to digital rewards, I felt I’d made a mistake. Chain mail doesn’t recharge our batteries - it increases our digital addiction; and worse, our batteries are then left uncharged because we used the 30GP that “Drinks with Coworkers” would have cost. For a very salient (quick) read along these lines, I highly recommend The Great Productivity Paradox: 4 huge, hidden costs of becoming more productive.
Now, obviously the item store is here to stay, and I’m not saying “don’t buy gear.” You need the weapons and armor to progress in the game. The Exp requirements get higher as you play, making it less likely to level in one day to heal - meaning you need the added attack and defense bonuses of gear to survive. So definitely buy gear. But don’t forget to also feed your life. You just spent the last 4h being productive, you’ve darn well earned that 1h of Bioshock Infinite! Take that well-earned hour, even at times at the expense of a Golden Sword. It will help keep you sane and human.