It’s been nine months since we first ventured into the Deeprun Tram, Azeroth’s largest (and only) subway system.
Last time, we dove into the famous Deeprun Aquarium and took a look at the secrets hidden beneath the depths. If you haven’t read that article yet, you can take a look at it here!
Now we’re heading back once again, but this time we’re traveling out rather than in. This week, we’re taking a look at what lies beyond the portals into each capital city.
At first glance, it simply looks like we’re seeing Stormwind city on the other side of the portal. It would make sense considering that’s where we end up upon exiting the Tram, except that the Deeprun Tram isn’t actually connected to either city. It’s its own isolated location, with the two portals in each tunnel acting like instance portals in a dungeon or raid and teleporting you into an independent instance shared by all the players using the tram.
Using a method detailed in the video above, we’re able to climb on top of the archways inside the tram and jump over the top of the portal. Letting us take a look at what really lies on the other side of the tunnel.
Because the developers wanted create the appearance that players were entering Stormwind and Ironforge as they walked out of the instance portals, they copied a tiny portion of each city (what you can see from inside the tunnel) and pasted them outside the tram. Meaning that as players walk into the portal, they’re left looking at what appears to be the same city they zone into a few seconds later and think that all they did was walk down a tunnel with a loading screen in it. In fact, the Deeprun Tram uses the Stormwind City skybox, so that no matter what time of day it is, the lighting on the copied section of Stormwind is always accurate!
You can see the cross section of small portions of the tram tunnel from these little patches of city, as appearances for the outsides of the tunnels were never added because players can’t normally see them, and every additional texture that’s left out helps reduce bloat.
Heading over to the other end of the Deeprun Tram, we can use the same method to jump over the exit portal and take a look at the small portion of Ironforge that’s been copied into the map.
On the Ironforge side, the main room of Tinker Town has been copied over, complete with the mouseover text on various signs (although they still have the default object names, so they say things like “Doodad_DwarSign_Fireworks01” rather than “Things That Go Boom!” like they do in Ironforge) and a working mailbox!
The Deeprun Tram is a fascinating bit of engineering, both in the lore, and in the game itself. The developers made clever use of instance portals and copied assets to create the illusion that the Tram connects to Stormwind and Ironforge, despite actually floating by itself in the void.