: So here's a really weird, possibly too-complicated concept for Sona: Make her a combo champion. Beware that what is below is _extremely_ conceptual, with no actual details at all. Make it sort of like improv music. You know your options, you know where you can go from what, but how will you get there? What order will things go in? You don't plan it all out ahead of time, but do it as you go with a full knowledge of what your options are, what "direction" you can go, and what might affect your decisions. You can't just panic and change from a gentle bit to OH GOSH RENGAR IS EATING MY FACE HEAL STUN SPEED UP RUUUUN. If you know what you're doing, you can do things that might _sound_ like that, but it has to be planned ahead of time. Imagine a slow fade-away that creates anticipation before a louder bit. Imagine a moment where all the sound drops away right before the drop. You can't just do that out of nowhere - you have to plan for it! Imagine picking what key you play in, knowing what chords and notes you can play within that key and having some idea of how to do key shifts into and out of it. Imagine following the beat, a set pace, knowing how to speed it up or slow it down but also not being able to do so immediately. Yes, this is all ludicrously complicated, but it's about getting you into the mindset of a character design. Instead of traditional abilities, imagine three "notes"/"chords" (QWE) and a modifier button (R) to change meta-level things. Each "spell" would be a combination of notes in a given state. R would let you change this state, whatever you want to call it, not necessarily across a binary, but scrolling through a list, or with the ability to shift into a different set of states based on the one you're currently in (so if you're in CM, you could press R-R to shift to Am, R-Q to shift to Cm, R-W to shift to something else, R-E to shift to something else, details don't matter right now). Probably limit the number of states so it's not actually as complicated as music, and name it things that won't freak people out, but it's the same concept. You'd probably want to overlap things so you could, say, play song 1, 2, and 3 from C, but play songs 1, 5, and 6 from Am. Or maybe you could incorporating timing. Set up her R to allow you to pick between different speeds, and she'll shift to the new speed in a couple measures. Each measure, you can play up to four notes, and at the end of the measure she'll cast the spell, but you have to play each note before its time in the measure (so you don't have to be perfect, but if the spell is Q-W-Q-E, you have to input them in that order and you have to use W before halfway in the measure - most of the time I expect people would just spam them all at the start of the measure, of course). Mana is drained not by spell, but by how fast the music is going. At the end of each measure, regardless of if you played anything or not, you lose mana. If you keep it slow, like you would in most of the laning phase, she'd slowly regen mana. If you sped it up to get more casts per second, it'd start draining very fast. If you don't have enough mana to pay the cost, or if you mess up a measure, you'd get a brown note, with some sort of negative effects - maybe a brief silence or stun or something? Other options could be weird meta stuff - maybe a song that transitions you suddenly to a faster beat in three measures, giving your foes less warning, or maybe a combo that's a silence that takes the form of an actual in-game self-Silence but also lets your mana regen quickly for a bit. Lots of options! There are lots and lots of these super-complicated combo-based thematic things you could do. However, if you are a party-pooper and want it to be simpler, you could just make R a true modifier that swapped between two "sets" of notes for 6 notes total. Each spell would be a combination of some number of those notes strung together. For even more simplicity, you could make R a normal ult and make each spell a sequence of Q/W/Es strung together. I think that's most realistic, but also really far divorced from the original concept and not nearly as interesting. Regardless, I'd still prefer it if all of her spells were positional. For instance, instead of shooting bolts of music or whatever her Q is supposed to be, she could create an aura or GTAoE of damage over time. Instead of healing with bolts and shielding everyone else, she could separate those into a healing song and a shielding song. She could have AoEs that gave bonus on-hit damage, AoEs that gave spell vamp, AoEs that gave speed boosts or slows, AoEs that negated crits for a very brief time, or what have you - but no direct targeting like she has now!
This is basically the hero Invoker in Dota
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: Riot Games API does have some pretty cool stuff, though I don't have much personal experience with it. If you're interested in League data, that's likely your best bet. As for general data science, I got my start in undergrad (econ & stats with some ML courses at Carnegie Mellon), but I'm picking up more online courses as I go and level up. Tons of resources out there - feel free to message me if you wanna chat more!
Thanks so much for the reply! I'm loving Data Science and Machine Learning (senior in CS right now) and I'm disappointed I got interested in it so late in my college career lol. On Reddit Nitsuabo linked me to his [awesome post](http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/miscellaneous/1wtpwRqZ-rioter-possibly-answer-a-couple-questions-school-project?comment=001b) about getting into this field. I always wondered if there was a connection between my favorite game and my area of interest so it was really cool to see that Riot is actively investing in Data Science since, as evidenced by your post, there remains a ton of cool insights to make. I'm also finishing up some nano degrees in ML and Data Science via Udacity so hopefully I'll know as much as you guys do someday!
: TURBO MODE: The Data Behind Your Spell Spamming
I'm really interested in the data science/machine learning aspects of League and posts like these are right up my alley. How can I get into doing analytics like this? Should I leverage use of the Riot Games API? Are there any publicly available static data sets of some number of ranked games? Once again, thanks for producing this sort of content!


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