Back in 2021, Duolingo introduced legendary levels — the ultimate test of how well you know a skill.
They proved to be pretty popular (despite non-premium members having to part with their hard-earned gems to attempt them) with Duolingo trees across the world going from gold to purple.
However, as you may be aware, Duolingo is changing — and so too are the legendary levels.
Since many of you will still have the original tree, this article will cover the two different versions of legendary — what legendary used to be, and what legendary is becoming.
Rest assured, whichever version of Duolingo you’re currently rocking, by the end of this article you’ll be a total expert on all things legendary.
Let’s get into it!
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What are Legendary Levels on Duolingo?
Put simply, a Legendary Level is designed to be the toughest level in a skill. To reach it, you need to complete four challenges without any hints or tips. It’s the ultimate test of how well you know a particular skill.
It was announced at Duocon 2021 as one of two new Duolingo Plus (now Super Duolingo) features, although it appears that non-Plus/Super members will be able to tackle at least the first challenge for 100/200 gems.
Legendary levels are available on IOS, Android and desktop.
To fully understand Legendary Levels, we first need to know what a Crown Level is.
A Crown Level is how Duolingo ranks your proficiency in a particular skill. Each skill usually has about 5 levels to work through, and therefore 5 crowns to collect.
In theory, therefore, the more crowns you have in a skill, the more proficient you are in it.
Now, with the introduction of the Legendary Level, you get the opportunity to earn an extra piece of Duolingo regalia — the legendary ‘purple crown’.
(Be sure to check out this article on why your Duolingo crowns matter).
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How do you get Legendary Levels?
In order to unlock a skill’s Legendary Level, you first need to unlock all the crowns that come before it.
There are usually about 5 of these, but, depending on the course and skill, it can be less.
Once you’ve completed all of the necessary levels, you will be given the chance to go for the purple crown.
The process isn’t as straightforward as with the other crowns though. With the standard crowns, you simply need to complete a set of lessons. You can go at your own pace, make as many mistakes as you want (hearts permitting) and consult the hints as much as you please.
But in order to unlock the purple crown, rather than work through some lessons, you need to ace a series of 3 to 4 challenges.
Anyone who’s familiar with the timed challenges will be right at home as the challenges are pretty similar.
For one they are broken down into checkpoints. You reach the first one when you get 10 questions correct, and the second once you get 20 questions correct.
When they first came out, you also had to race against the clock, which made the levels even harder.
However, Duolingo eventually got rid of this in favour of the current format, which is:
- Up to 4 challenges
- 20 questions in each, with a checkpoint halfway
- No time limit
- Maxium of 3 mistakes
- No hints
How much XP can you earn from a Legendary Level?
Completing legendary levels is probably one of the best ways to earn XP.
If you manage to reach the first checkpoint in a challenge, you’ll earn at least 20 XP.
If you manage to complete the challenge, you’ll earn at least 40 XP.
Throw in a combo bonus, and you could earn as much as 45 XP for a completed challenge.
And if you whack on an XP boost, you could earn up to 90 XP for just one completed challenge!
How does the Legendary Level look?
A typical legendary level will look like this.
Once you’ve completed the first five levels of a skill, you’ll be able to go for legendary.
You’ll usually have to complete as many as 4 challenges, as you can see in the bar underneath Duo.
A typical challenge contains 20 questions and you’ll need to make fewer than 3 mistakes to advance to the next one.
The questions are basically the same as the ones you get in your usual lessons — except you don’t get any hints!
(Notice how the words aren’t underlined)
You can see your challenge progress in the bar at the top.
Once you get 10 questions correct you’ll guarantee yourself 20 XP.
But if you make three mistakes before hitting the 10, you won’t earn any XP for your efforts 🙁
However, if you manage to get 20 questions correct without making more than 2 mistakes, you’ll earn at least 40 XP and advance to the next challenge.
Once you’ve completed every challenge, your skill will turn purple!
How it used to look
When I first wrote this article, Duolingo were playing around with a bunch of different formats.
They eventually settled on the one we went over above.
But for old time’s sake, it’s worth going back over some of the stuff they experimented with.
The following example is a mash-up of two of the formats they tested — the no-mistakes format and the timed format.
You’ve probably worked this out already, but the main difference between the two was that, in the one format, you weren’t allowed to make mistakes; while in the other, you had to race against the clock.
Everything else — such as checkpoints, XP, number of challenges and no hints — were the same.
(Everything that follows is from the original article):
Whenever you boot up a Legendary Level, you’ll notice that you will have several challenges to complete. Most of the time you’ll have four but sometimes it can be three.
Each challenge is worth a maximum of 20 XP. If you get to the first checkpoint, which is reached when you get 10 questions correct, then you’re guaranteed to earn at least 10 XP. Fail to reach the first checkpoint, and you’ll be booted out of the challenge empty-handed.
As you can see, the exercises are pretty much exactly the same as the ones in the standard lessons. The most obvious difference being that the sentences aren’t underlined with the usual dots. This means that you can’t tap them for a translation, which really tests your knowledge of the skill.
Once you complete a challenge you’ll be able to move onto the next one. The good news is that once you’ve completed a challenge it serves as a sort of safety net, meaning you can’t fall any lower. So if you manage to complete the first challenge, but then you fail to complete the second challenge, you won’t be sent back to the beginning. Instead, you simply repeat the second challenge as many times as it takes until you complete it.
Once you have completed all of the required challenges, you will unlock the purple crown.
How many Legendary Levels are there?
This will depend entirely on your target language, as each course on Duolingo has a different number of skills.
If you’re working through the French tree, for instance, then you’ll have absolutely LOADS of purple crowns to collect. This is because French is one of the most popular languages on Duolingo, and therefore has a lot of skills in its tree.
If you’re working through the Polish tree, however, then you won’t have as many Legendary Levels to complete as there aren’t anywhere near as many skills. This is always changing though as Duolingo are regularly adding new skills and features to their courses.
When should you go for the Legendary Level?
There’s no right or wrong way of going about this. Once you turn a skill gold, you’re more than welcome to go for Legendary there and then.
Alternatively, you can continue to work through your tree and unlock as many new skills as possible.
The latter tends to reflect how I approach my Duolingo trees. It’s a lot like the Hover technique that the guys at Duolingo recommend: you take two steps forward, continuing to unlock new skills; and then one step back, occasionally refreshing the skills you previously unlocked.
So in my case, I generally push forward and unlock the first crowns in a skill, then come back to them later to unlock the second and third. What this means is that I’m very rarely in a position to attempt the Legendary Levels, at least when I’m in the first months of learning a new language.
Take French for instance. I only started properly learning French a few months ago, and given how big the tree is and how many skills there are, I’m finding that the majority of my skills are generally no higher than 2-3 crowns. I’m way more focused on ploughing through the tree and expanding my comfort zone.
However, it’s a different story for my Italian tree, which I completed a loooooong time ago. It’s nowhere near as big as the French tree either, so I’ve been able to go back over the years and turn pretty much every skill gold. This means I’m in a position to go for the majority of the Legendary Levels.
This is the approach that works best for me. But, again, if you would prefer to absolutely nail your skills before progressing further, then don’t hesitate to power on towards the Legendary Levels!
Legendary levels on the new learning path – 2022 update
Duolingo has radically overhauled legendary levels on the new learning path.
While legendary is still a thing, legendary levels are gone. Instead, we now have legendary trophies.
Originally, legendary was all about skills. But on the new learning path, legendary is now all about units.
Each unit now ends with a challenge of up to 8 levels. To progress from the unit, you only need to complete one. But if you want to turn it purple — and earn the legendary trophy — you’ll need to complete all 8 challenges.
Beyond that, it’s pretty much the same as the legendary levels: a checkpoint at 20 XP, 3 lives and no hints.
Have your say
What do you think of the legendary levels?
Did you prefer the original format or are you digging the new legendary trophies?
As always, let me know in the comments!