My unexpected first experience as a Destiny Sherpa

In Tibet, there is an ethnic group of people known as Sherpa who became known for guiding expeditions through the Himalayan peaks. In the video game Destiny, a Sherpa refers to a highly-skilled player who helps guide newer or less skill players through really difficult parts of the game. They’re either really nice or really bored. I never thought I was good enough at the game to be a Destiny Sherpa until I randomly received a friend request the other day.

Dancing Queen

There is a room in the Tower, the non-combat zone where players can buy gear and accept new quests, with a Jukebox. Every so often I get the urge to go down there, play some songs, and dance my heart out. If I’m lucky, other players will join me. While I was doing Drake’s awkward dance from Hotline Bling another player approached me and just stood there watching me.

Moments later I received an invitation to play. I messaged the player and said I was about to get off to which he simply responded “oh”. It was strange that he would send me a random invite at all. I’ve been playing Destiny since day 1 and that’s really only something people did during the first week when nobody knew how to play the game.

Do u want to play orno?

Then it occurred to me that if this player was willing to send me a random invite, he might need assistance with something. Or he was just trolling. I inspected his avatar and he was only a level 2 player meaning that he just finished his first mission and was visiting the Tower for the first time. Intrigued, I reached out to him.

Me: Do u need help

Him: Ya im new i dont know how to do

Him: Missions with other people

Him: You a girl

At this point I began to question his intentions and also his age. I realized that because my avatar was a female character he assumed I was a girl, but the only way that would actually matter is if he was either trying to come on to me or evaluate if I actually knew how to play the game.

Me: No. Do u hav a mic?

Him: You a boy

Him: How old are you

Wait hold on. Was this really happening? I was about to rescind my offer. After all, I was in the middle of a solo dance session.

Me: Do u want to play orno?

Him: Ya also i have a mic

Him: You a boy

I sent him an invite, created a party chat, and then made him the group leader. When I first heard his voice I realized he couldn’t have been older than 10-years old, 11 tops. About the same age as my sister. “When did you get this game?” I asked. “Yesterday,” he replied. We had an actual baby on the line. It made me wonder if his parents knew their son was talking to grown men on the internet, or if they cared.

I decided I would take this kid on a few missions until he got his sea legs. We toured the Tower together as I coached him where to go through voice chat. I showed him fun things like the ball you can kick around and taught him how to jump on top of the building with the air vent that makes you bounce really high.

I instructed him, “Follow the green markers and do what they tell you, then we can go to space and go on your first mission.” When we went into orbit he said there weren’t any missions to complete, but the Tower was glowing. That meant he didn’t do everything he was supposed to back in the Tower.

So we went back into the Tower sitting through 2–3 minutes of loading screens. We went back and forth 5 times because he seemed to miss something each time. I definitely didn’t sign up for this. I could tell he was getting frustrated too. At one point he muttered, “Gayyyyyyyyy” under his breath. I considered addressing his word choice but decided that this didn’t need to be a teachable moment.

As my patience began to wane, he finally completed all the tasks in the Tower granting him access to his first mission. We set a course for the Cosmodrome on Earth.

The Eagle Has Landed

When we arrived on Earth I looked around the familiar landscape that I’ve spent countless hours traversing and realized this was his first time being able to freely roam around. I told him that I’d follow him through the mission, but let him do most of the work.

“I like your outfit,” he complimented me. “I like the green things around your legs.” He was referring to my Radiant Dance Machines, exotic boots that are really rare and powerful. But yeah, aesthetically they just looked cool too.

As we worked through the mission, I heard other voices coming from his end. An even younger boy, probably about 7 called him by name. A few minutes later, the kid’s mother asked him to put his clothes away. I felt like I was intruding on this boy’s life and wondered how I would explain myself if his mom asked him who he was talking to.

During the second mission, we got access to our Sparrows, futuristic hover bikes that allowed us to quickly race across the land. I taught him how to summon it and he sped away.

“Woo!” he shrieked. “What the hell? This is so cool!” He zoomed around going off ramps screaming in excitement all the while. Every so often he would ask “Where are you?” just to make sure I was still around.

He kept going off the path chasing aliens around and shooting everything that shot at him. I let him run off as I sniped enemies from a safe vantage point. “Whoa! Someone just saved me from that monster!” It was me. I saved him and it felt like I was his guardian angel or something.

We entered an underground bunker, lit only by ominous glowing green crystals. As we rounded a corner, a horde of zombie-like thralls ambushed us. He yelped but kept pressing forward. I threw a grenade to clear out the alien scum and forge a safe path for him. I defeated all the enemies before realizing the kid had run away.

The part where he got his sea legs

Eventually we wound up in a large room. I knew we were about to take on about a hundred enemies. Our greatest test yet. As the enemies began pouring in he said, “I’m scared. But it’s okay. I’ve got my lucky bullet.” And instead of backing away, he charged straight towards the alien menace screaming like a mad man.

The next five minutes was a constant stream of “Uhh!”s and “Oh yeah!”s.

“Who wants to mess with me and my machine gun?!” he threatened, mowing down every enemy in his path. “Oh yeah! I bet none of you do.”

I literally just watched and listened, not shooting a single enemy.

“Oh yeah! Now it’s shotgun time!” This kid found his stride and he was soaking in the glory.

“Clean ’em with my uhh!” I admit I didn’t know what this meant but he was so passionate that I was just as pumped as he was. “This is fun!” he cheered followed by another flurry of “Uhh!”s and “Oh yeah!”s.

I set up more heroic moments for him by pretending to need help. “Hey! I need backup! These guys got me cornered!” And he came rushing to my rescue. “Thanks,” I breathed a sigh of relief. “I thought I was a goner!”

Good luck out there, young Guardian

After the mission, I told him I had to leave. After all, we had just spent an hour playing and I already played two hours before that. He asked me if I was going to be online the next day and I said I wouldn’t. He shot me a friend request and I accepted.

I really did have a fun time showing this kid the ropes. It reminded me of my sister who I taught how to play video games as soon as she could hold a Nintendo DS. My sister doesn’t play console games anymore, so I don’t get awesome moments like these with her. I miss it.

I never thought anybody would look up to me in Destiny. I’m a pretty average player as it comes, but for at least an hour I got to see how it felt to be a Destiny Sherpa.

I wanted to warn the kid about talking with strangers online, but I also didn’t want to freak him out. He had a good and safe experience with me and I just hope that other people he encounters through the game will treat him kindly and appropriately for his age. Hopefully in a few months, he’ll be good enough to start tackling the big challenges, but until then I feel pretty confident by his “Uhh!”s and “Oh yeah!”s that the kid is gonna be alright.

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