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UK WoW fans brave sub-zero climate for Cataclysm launch

From Frozen Throne to frozen launch: Blizzard celebrates release of latest Warcraft expansion

Hundreds of World of Warcraft fans in the UK have braved the sub-zero temperatures - some for many hours - to queue for the official launch of the latest expansion to the popular MMO.

Players were allowed access to the new Cataclysm content from 11pm in the UK (midnight in Central Europe), which sees the focus of high level content switch from the game's Outland region back to a revamped Azeroth.

Those gamers at the front of the queue - which looped all the way around London's Leicester Square - claimed to have been in place since Sunday afternoon, meaning an overnight stay as temperatures in the city remained below zero degrees Celcius.

Greg Street and Dave Kosak, from the game's design team, were present and on-stage at Sound nightclub as TV presenter Jason Bradbury counted down the clock to the expansion's launch.

The game's latest active player number is expected to rise significantly in the coming weeks, above the 12 million figure last released, which was following the successful launch of the previous expansion in China.

Cataclysm's main features include the level cap being raised to 85, the addition of playable Worgen and Goblin races, plus new zones, skills and talents as well as a thorough revision of existing Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms areas.

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Phil Elliott