With the Diablo 3 release date finally announced, fans of the long-running franchise are gearing up for the highly anticipated launch. Although gamers will have to wait until May 15 to return to Sanctuary, hardcore fans may be eager to check out these preview details.

Pat Gibbons of Gamers Daily News got his hands on the Diablo 3 beta and delved into some of the critical aspects of the game.

I am glad to report that 'Diablo 3' has not left me disappointed, he wrote. It is chocked full of new features, awesome loot, and all the brutal, story-driven action that I have come to expect.

Here are five key things to expect from the new installment of the RPG action adventure series.

1. New Characters. Gibbons writes that the new set of character classes is one of the best things to look forward to, each equipped with new skills and powers. New characters include the Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor and a Russian Shaolin Monk. The one familiar character, Barbarian, works pretty similarly to his prototype in Diablo 2, but with some new moves.

2. More Powers. All of the mouse controls from the previous game are present, with some added hotkeys which allow players to access up to 6 skills at a time. Players now have more options than the left click/right click controls. Also, Blizzard has updated the way characters acquire skills. Players will eventually have access to all the powers available in their class, and new skill runes can be applied to a character's skills.

3. Plot Moves Forward. Known for its intriguing story in addition to the action and adventure, the third installment takes place several years after the events in the last game. A fallen star crashes into the cathedral in Old Tristam, acting as an omen to the end of days.  The dialogue is presented in boxes just like in the previous games, but Gibbons writes that this story adds a little more depth than its predecessors.

4. New Dungeons and Enhanced Maps. The upcoming Diablo game sports a graphically advanced atmosphere, bringing the environments players love to a new and more detailed level. Everything is far more dynamic this time around, wrote Gibbons. Especially the cathedral, which gamers can expect to have 3D feel to it.

5. Extra Bonuses. Fans can always look forward to the random dungeon generator feature, preventing players from powering through the same story more than once. But this time, the Diablo developers have added even more to entice gamers. Bonus events are said to occur at certain points in the game, but it is unclear when or where they will happen. For example, according to Gibbons there is a goblin bandit that players encounter at various points.