Why levels?

As you can see, I’m new, so my opinion is likely not to be on point.

I’ve been looking at the way the levels are structured, and I don’t get it. You could traverse the dependency tree and not have these hardcoded levels(first radical then kanji that depends on these radicals then radicals and vocab that depends on these kanji, etc.). So in this way, after an “item” reaches guru, you unlock a bunch of new items it should probaly fix several problems people have with levels.

So what I ask is, what’s the point of having levels to more dependency-based approaches?

personally i don’t like doing things in bulk, and the level force you to do the kanji in bulk otherwise it’s going to take a long time for each level…

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Then why do games have levels, when you could just have raw exp? gamification


I don’t really see how you could “traverse the dependency tree” without occasionally having completely unrelated items unlock things. That would effectively be like lots of little levels, except then it’d be really hard to have a general idea of what any individual person had learned so far, or what to expect going forward.


Do you prefer the sphere grid?


So for every monster you defeat review you get right you earn some AP Crabigator Points, which you can then use to unlock new abilities kanji?


As to why levels are beneficial, they need a place to insert completely new content (radicals), and it also let’s them delay introducing vocab to spread it out. For example, later levels will often unlock vocab items immediately on level up because you gurud the kanji long ago, but spreading the vocab items using the kanji out can help retention. Additionally, at later levels there are very few radicals. Yet they still have a similar number of kanji on every level. If items unlocked based just on the dependency tree like you suggested, people would quickly get overwhelmed by hundreds upon hundreds of items all at once.


I’m less motivated if there are no levels. Makes my inner competitive soul feel good.


Also, it allows better control of the order you learn vocabulary in. If you are taught one reading with a kanji, and you later learn a vocabulary that uses a different reading, instead of having to give a mnemonic for the new reading for each word that uses it, they can have it so they only give one for the earliest level that a word with that reading appears on and for each subsequent word that uses it, they can just say which reading it uses.


Reduces the risk of burnout. With other systems – in my experience – it’s easy to blow through a couple hundred kanji very quickly, thinking that you know them, only to get crushed when review time comes around and you discover that no, actually, you don’t.


Not really. You can do 15-20 lessons a day and still go the theoretical maximum speed. Excluding the later fast levels.


The only sensible point to me is structure. While the structure is designed thoughtfully, there is no pedagogical merit to it that makes it the most efficient structure for anything except possibly working through the collection of WaniKani content. (It accomplishes what it was designed for, so it’s a acceptable structure in this light.)

The structure is a big pet peeve of mine about WaniKani. I’ve written about it elsewhere and so won’t rehash it all. I will say, though, that since you are low level and appear to be on a monthly subscription, I encourage you to check out other methodologies before splurging on WaniKani if you are concerned that the structure and pacing will be an issue for you. You can recreate the WaniKani learning experience for free. Of course, the WaniKani subscription saves you from creating a structure of your own, if you don’t want to spend time making one and can palate the parts unsavory to you.

Isn’t it only natural to include levels when the whole gameplay is a grind already?

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Levels are just a way of not hitting you with everything all at once. They don’t even need to be called “levels” - that’s just the gamification bit talking.


You can leave items unlearnt. A lot of people do only X lessons a day, in order to keep a good rhythm going. You can also set your lesson ordering by level then shuffled (my recommendation), or entirely shuffled, and/or use the lesson filtering script to your leisure. You don’t have to use the default setting of level then by type, which I find hits me with way too many kanji at once.

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Apart from constantly giving you a short/medium term goal that is neither too trivial nor too frustrating, I think the levels are also good for the community. Everyone did the same thing, you know what stage they are in, the particular problems you were having at those levels, … Also, it is easy to answer questions like “what do I have to do to feel comfortable in N3 kanji-wise”, and to spot users with tons of WK experience.


Dark souls has levels for each stat in the game… I have not experienced exp in the 3rd installment in any shape or form, as you pretty much buy the levels with the currency “souls”.

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Which soul reference should I use? Pirates of Caribbean or Black ops 2?

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I’ve heard this several times. Not to pick on you because I believe the sentiment, you can go plenty fast, but I’m skeptical it’s technically true.

Say I guru my last kanji from level 33 right now. I unlock remaining vocabulary from 33, radicals from 34, and most of the kanji from 34. If (vocab from 33 + radicals) is more than 20, then I don’t get all the radicals on the first day. Not the theoretical max speed.

I haven’t counted how many vocab get thrown in at the end of a level, though. It feels like more than 20.

Apart from gamification, I think levels have a practical purpose in throttling how fast you can go. A “level” (about 30-ish kanji and associated vocabulary) per week is about the max speed you could expect most people to go without burying themselves in reviews and having to reset.

And by most I’m not talking the 2-sigma fastest, but the fat part of the bell curve. If you could go faster, congratulations, but it would cost more in everyone else’s optimism/burnout than making you happy is worth.

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