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  • Plugged In

    East Medford man is highlighted in film about professional gamers who travel around the globe
  • A Medford man is being featured in a documentary about the life of professional gamers produced by a national video game software company.
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  • A Medford man is being featured in a documentary about the life of professional gamers produced by a national video game software company.
    Value crews are in town this week filming Clinton "Fear" Loomis, 23, one of the world's best players of Defense of the Ancients, as he trains to stay in top form and goes about his daily life at his northeast Medford home.
    "They hand-selected me to represent America," said the 2006 North Medford High School graduate.
    Loomis is the only gamer from the United States who will appear in the movie. The other four are from China, Singapore, Denmark and the Ukraine.
    "The one thing they had in common is that they're elite gamers," said Jeff Unay of Valve, a video game development and distribution company based in Bellevue, Wash.
    The production crew arrived Sunday and plans to wrap up local filming today. No timeline has been set for release of the movie, designed to promote "e-sports" — electronic sports.
    Defense of the Ancients, also known as DotA, pits teams of online players against each other. Each player chooses from a large assortment of heroes with different strengths and weaknesses, and each team defends its own structure called an Ancient Fortress.
    "The game itself has a large learning curve," Loomis said, adding there are more than 100 heroes in DotA and 44 heroes in DotA 2. "Once you get it down, it's one of the most addictive games, and fun."
    He started online gaming by playing Diablo II, and moved on to Warcraft III before he discovered the DotA map within the game about 10 years ago. "DotA was the first game I ever played competitively and traveled for," Loomis said.
    In the weeks before the camera crews came to Medford, Loomis attended the first DotA 2 competition Aug. 17-21 at video gaming convention Gamescom 2011 in Cologne, Germany.
    The tournament demanded long hours out of the participants. Players started their day at 8 a.m. and ended at 11 p.m.
    Loomis' team took seventh place among 16 international teams, and split a prize of $25,000. Grand prize was $1 million.
    "He's one of the top American players in DotA and DotA 2," Unay said, noting that Loomis and his team beat two difficult Chinese teams.
    His team received an early release of DotA 2 three weeks before the tournament to get familiar with it, and the team practiced 10 hours a day for two weeks. "Everyone tries to put their life on pause," Loomis said about training before a tournament.
    On a more typical week, he spends about 30 hours per week gaming.
    He attributes part of his success as a gamer to his understanding mother, Karen Loomis, who allowed him to achieve his level of proficiency. She also will be featured in the documentary.
    "For most parents, that's unrealistic," Clinton Loomis said.
    Competitive gaming is Loomis' only source of income at the moment, and "it's enough to live off," he said.
    The documentary is in its early stages of development. Loomis is the first of the five gamers featured, and he's looking forward to shedding light on his profession.
    "Most people aren't aware that it exists," Loomis said. "(They say) you travel around the world and play video games? No way!"
    Reach Nick Morgan at 541-776-4400 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com.
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