Duolingo, what gives?
Just like the title says: what gives?
I opened my app this morning (iOS) and got this cheery notification that my lingots were converted to gems. So instead of 270 lingots I had 750 gems. That sounds reasonable, right?!
WRONG. Now a streak freeze is 600 gems. WHAT? That implies you have to basically accumulate a hugely long streak to be able to get a streak freeze?
This is obviously a money grabbing strategy by DL. Streak freezes are being made prohibitively expensive with in-game currency that now you will have to buy cash streak repairs more often.
I'm really frustrated with it. My streak is "only" 145 days, but I've been a good user for about a year now. I lost my streak when grad school started, but otherwise I have been really dedicated to my use of Duolingo.
Duolingo, as a dedicated user, I want you to know you may lose me as a customer over this. I would much, much, much prefer to pay some small fee ($3-$5 ish a month) to have access to Duolingo's services than feel like I have to occasionally pay in to some gimmick. I liked how Duolingo's in-game currency wasn't ridiculously hard to accumulate, and I'm frustrated that my whole stash has been massively devalued.
I could have bought 27 streak freezes with lingots and now I can only buy ~1.2.
Duolingo, I'm also a paying member to Babbel. I like DL better, but this is frustrating to me. I would much rather pay a small fee than buy in to this new system. My Spanish tree is completed so at this point, any other language learning app would work to maintain my knowledge.
This is another step in the long process of waving good-bye to the free Duo and instead of improving it into e.g. a fully fledged language course for all levels they try to sell existing features to the user. On their way they tend to forget that this user built the whole thing to an extent, which is even larger than on comparable platforms. However, this is not unusual. For example vinted.com a platform to sell used clothes did some very similar things during the last two years at least in their German version. I stayed there for most part of 2016 only because it was kind of funny to witness them implementing one stupid thing after the other. However and so far rather different from Duolingo, they realized after about a year that they are not able (and never will be) to offer the level of service they would have to, if they would keep the fees and abandoned it again - a selling platform without sellers did not promise roaring success. Duo without dedicated users, who develop and improve the language courses does also not look like a recipe for economic breakthrough. I fully understand that Duo somehow wants to make money but it is my strong impression that there is a disturbing lack of conceptual thinking behind this wish. Converting lingots into whatever will certainly not do the trick.
I totally agree with you, a small monthly fee would be better than pretending the app is still a handy (and free?) tool for learing for those of us who don't feel like paying extra to be able to finish the most difficult lessons. I want to be able to learn from mistakes, not pre-study the topic before I attempt a lesson in the app.
Does a streak help you with learning the language? If it keeps you motivated then instead of streak freezes or paying for the streak repair (which is only available on iOS anyway) you can do it old school: put a paper on your wall and draw a little streak sign (of watever kind) every day, maybe even stating how much you practiced and if you can't practice write down why you didn't (and be honest). That would be more real overview of how you practice anyway. Streak is just a number, it doesn't say how much you practice or if you learn anything new on any given day. It's like language levels based on XP where you could theoretically repeat the first skill and eventually reach "high language level" while learning 10 basic words. I know the changes on Duolingo don't suit to many people but the language trees are still the same and who wants to learn will learn the same.
A few times I've accidentally lost my streak, and it's left me demotivated and disappointed. One time I stopped practising for weeks afterwards. Streaks help people to practise regularly, so making them harder to maintain makes the experience of using Duolingo objectively worse.
Well that sucks. Although I had a week when I just kept coming every day for minimum XP just to keep my streak and it made me feel worse than if I actually lost the streak. It made me feel bad for not learning enough and the fact that I kept my streak didn't help. I guess we all have it set different in our minds :-)
Hope you don't loose your streak again any time soon.
I'm just saying for me personally keeping the streak is not such a good motivator. It motivates me much more when I actually do some learning language work every day (which is not necessarily the same like keeping the streak, which can be done by doing any - even very basic - exercise).
I never said I would learn more.
But I am saying the steak feature is a comparative advantage of DL over other sites. So if they lose that, I will take my business elsewhere.
You don't get my fundamental point. I'm ok with paying - but not for this gimmick crap. Make it be a nominal subscription cost. A cup of coffee a month, whatever. And get rid of these gimmicks.
Sadly I think Duolingo will never care if it loses some users because it has millions of others, some of them even pay for things like streak repairs and ad free version which to me is ridiculous. I on the other hand (and I'm sure I'm not alone) would stop using Duolingo if it was impossible to use it for free. Since there are other ways to learn for free (like Memrise, whose new official language courses are really great.) But I believe there will always be a way to use Duolingo for free (since it's their philosophy anyway...). Streaks are not perfect and ability to buy streak freeze for 10 lingots is funny. I could come every day, buy a streak freeze and be able to go on like that forever because I would gain lingots on the way for "keeping the streak", while actually just buying streak freezes. That proves nothing about how I study or what I know. I am here to learn languages and yes I entertain myself by keeping my streak, but mostly just because I kept if from the day 1 and don't have any problems to keep it. If I am to lose it so be it....
EDIT: (I can't answer nickbii directly since it's too deep into discussion structure). Good point, thanks for correcting me. It just shows I don't use streak freezes ;-) But still, I could freeze my streak for 170 days with my 1700 lingots if I just come every day and buy the freeze, so my point is still the same, the streak would't prove anything about my practicing habits and about how much I learn. Not to mention I could grow the streak by doing one single basic exercise...
gstucken, you are a dedicated language learner, and I'm sorry you are met with devaluation of your lingots! It is not in proportion to your steadfast practice.
curious: Does the app give you 1 lingot for every 10 days of streak? (for example, on your 150th day you would receive 15 lingots and so forth).
I am 58 and decided to better myself and become a better world citizen by taking up my Spanish where it left off in high school. On the face of it, it appears that I haven't applied myself to lessons over the last several years. Interesting note: here it shows 722 lingots. The mobile app posts 1210.
I respect any app trying to monetize their work. However, DL efforts have been poorly advised. Why not offer a subscription rather than offer irrelevant ads appropriated from my Google history. Why penalize effort by taking away learning opportunities.
The user interface has become a clustered mess. The ads, intrusive. The lessons have become frustrating, opaque, demoralizing. This app struggles to contribute to the greater good.
Sponsors will respond in time. They don't want to be affiliated with loosing propositions. If the community reached out and told sponsors to pull their advertising then, maybe, DL would redress the issues cited.
I see no reward in streaks or lingots or "health" if I'm not learning, if I can't communicate with others, if I am failing to better myself or become a better world citizen. There is a saying that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. My path may change, my goals have not.
I think they'll include something like 1 free streak freeze / month for premium (paying) users in the future (they've said something along these lines / are thinking about it). They always seem to be quite slow with additions or try to implement them gradually.
I'm going to wait till I ever get the health system before making too many statements about it. But I do wonder if complaints just stem from an aversion to change or whether there are some (big) issues with the system. Issues there will be for sure though (no system is perfect).
And you can quite easily get a further discount for 6 - 12 months of Babbel. Even though I haven't used it since when I bought my last Babbel subscription of 1 year in december, I've paid 33.3€ (37$) for it. Which is 2.78 € / month or 3.1 $ / month. (1€ is currently about 1.12$)
But Babbel has some issues too. Firstly, it's premium is for just one language. "Babbel complete" (all languages) costs 96€ = 8€ / month (only a year's worth is possible) and they purposely try to hide the option too. Their 1 month for 1 language price is also rather high at 10€ / month (if you're not willing to commit to a longer term).
The biggest issue in my opinion is that their lessons are waaaaay too slow, to a point where i get annoyed by it very quickly. It's at a slow student or kid speed, often without an option to speed it up (enough). Babbel bores me easily.
A plus of Babbel: good sound quality (better than Duolingo). The "more extensive" seems to be true. By their own count they have a voc of 3000+ words, while I think it's actually even more (at least for some languages).
Another downside is that they sometimes try to misdirect their users. For example, they send an email pretending to give you a special discount or free months while in reality no discount is given but the usual price for longer term premium. (they however do give real discounts sometimes)
For anybody thinking about Babbel: get an account, and click on buying premium, go up to the paying page but don't complete it. Next wait a few days, perhaps redo an incomplete payment attempt and keep on waiting. Sooner or later you'll get a nice discount (50%) - not for the "complete" package though :(. That's how I had gotten my first premium which was a personal offer of 3 months + 3 for free (20€), the 2nd discount premium I bought (12 months) was a "global" offer (for everybody). I've received the first personal discount offer a day after checking out premium but not completing the payment process (as I wasn't willing to pay the price).
Edit: I don't think 10$ / month is absurd. But I also do think that it's not what I'd value Duolingo at either. But 10$ could be worth it when more features get added.
I understand that seems frustrating. I however do not think paying for access to Duolingo is at all worth the complaint.
The complaint is that a gimmick costs more in game currency, however that gimmick has nothing to do with the experience of Duolingo. It doesn't have an impact on learning the language any better or worse.
At the same time, the lingot system NEEDS a change. They are ridiculously easy to accumulate and are near useless, currently the only thing I can actually use them for is the little gambling for more of them which is pointless. I suppose I could spend the lingots on streak freezing but I have no use for that. I would buy more app only costumes before buying a streak freeze but that would require they come out with more of them.
I hear you. I dealt with the ads and even the little bit if paid content. I would gladly pay for an extended tree. I pay for memrise with no complaints there. But I screamed when I saw my lingdots converted into gems. I might delete the app and just use the desktop version.
First thing first: I know that you find "Streak freezes" to be very important. But the truth is that, although a good motivator, the courses remain the same with or without that number, so that wouldn't get duolingo out of the "100% free learning" category. On the other side, there are those annoying bonus skills. And they are no more achievable for free. So, here goes the "100% free education" out of the window.
PS: Although annoying, I must stress out that the Idioms that I learned in German helped "a lot", and I mean "A LOT!!!" with my, let's say... integration in Germany.
This is ridiculous! Finally i found an enjoyable way to learn a new language and then this s**t happens! really? If this doesnt change soon, gonna switch to some program that is at least more open about costs. It rather pay a subscription than be penalized for getting answers wrong.