"At twelve, I swore the oath, leaving home and family. At sixteen, I saw my master die. I took up his shield and his name, and on that day, I became a crusader; armored by faith, driven by duty, bound to kill the enemies of Zakarum. Sworn to live as a crusader, and to die as one. Now, corruption returns to the hearts of men. I see it in the eyes of the mad, hear it in the howling of the damned. A falling star in the west leads me to the town of New Tristram. The crusade calls me, so I go."— A Crusader(src)
Crusaders are unbending champions of faith and law. These living fortresses use impenetrable plate and towering shields to wade through scores of foes, leaving demonic bodies smoldering in their wake.
The thick of battle is unforgiving, but crusaders rush in without hesitation, relying on holy magic and heavy armor to guarantee victory. Well-trained crusaders are adept at deflecting attacks entirely, often shrugging off massive blows that would fell lesser combatants. If pressed, they can sacrifice speed and mobility for pure staying power.
Bone-crunching flails and wicked shields are perfect for melee, but crusaders are hardly limited to extinguishing evil at close range. When one of these divinely empowered warriors joins battle, blazing fire and blinding light follow, smiting entire packs of enemies who dare to resist judgment.
"Do not hesitate to strike down your enemies. Death is their salvation from evil."— Crusader proverb(src)
The Crusader is a mid-range hybrid caster/melee class wielding a flail/sword and a shield. The class is based on the Paladin from Diablo II. The Crusader has mid-ranged spells at his/her disposal. The Crusader uses Wrath as his/her energy resource, and uses battle magic to strengthen allies and weaken foes. Crusaders are the only class with a passive skill, Heavenly Strength, that allows them to equip Two-Handed weapons with Shields.
With skills that force attackers to focus on them while punishing them for doing so and mitigating or eliminating the incoming damage, the Crusader is the definitive tank class. He/she is better suited to simply standing there and soaking up dangerous boss attacks than any other class, and can enable other players to waste less time running away instead of doing damage. Crusaders are also incredibly proficient with Shields, in fact being the only class to use those as a real tool of protection, many skills increasing the potency of Blocks. Moreover, being masters of retribution, Crusaders are the only class that can make Thorns truly shine, turning the mediocre reflection of damage into a powerful offensive weapon.
Although it was not initially put in place, a patch has provided the Crusaders with a +30% built-in damage reduction, to help ease the dangerous nature of melee combat.
Crusaders have five class sets:
- Armor of Akkhan (level 70 full set with 6 items)
- Norvald's Fervor (level 70 minor weapon set)
- Seeker of the Light (level 70 full set with 6 items)
- Roland's Legacy (level 70 full set with 6 items)
- Thorns of the Invoker (level 70 full set with 6 items)
The Crusader has a variety of skills. Most of them are used either in melee or at medium range, as opposed to Barbarians who are almost exclusively fighting in melee. Many of these skills also have potent Crowd Control effects, mostly Stun, Blind and Slow. The Crusaders focus on Physical and Holy Damage, but can use Fire or Lightning Damage as well, along with a few Cold runes prior to patch 2.4 (items with bonus Cold damage do not smart-drop for Crusaders).
Many of the Crusader skills require Shields to be equipped before these skills can be used.
Almost all Crusader skills are damage dealing, or can be enhanced to deal damage over area of effect, hitting more than one enemy with a single cast. This makes Crusaders especially effective against hordes of lesser enemies. While less potent than Monk's, some of the Crusader skills can heal them or allies. The defensive skills of the Crusader are resourceful as well: they can summon a mythical warhorse, encase themselves in holy armor, or even turn into mighty avatar of Akarat.
The most potent Crusader skills are notable for dealing damage independently, being usable even while the character is engaged in direct combat.
The Crusader never fights alone: Avatars of the Order always follow them, appearing at the time of need. They may form an invincible Phalanx, or even launch a long-range Bombardment with pinpoint accuracy.
Popular Crusader Skill combinations include:
- Akkhan's Valor (Akarat's Champion + Critical or Unstoppable Force + Armor of Akkhan + Akkhan's Addendum)
- Strength and Honor (Finery + Holy Cause + Heavenly Strength + Hellskull)
- Thor (Provoke + Judgment + Justice + Blessed Hammer + Blunt + Blessed of Haull + Sacred Harness + Falling Sword + Seeker of the Light + Gabriel's Vambraces + Guard of Johanna + Johanna's Argument + Hammer Jammers)
- Force Commander (Impactful Bombardment + Endurance + Lord Commander + Belt of the Trove + The Mortal Drama)
- Steve Rogers (Divine Verdict + Shattering Throw + Towering Shield + Akkhan's Leniency + Akkhan's Manacles + Gyrfalcon's Foote + Jekangbord)
- Judge Dredd (Shattered Ground + Resolved)
- Holy Shotgun (Fires of Heaven + Fate of the Fell + + Bracer of Fury + Shield of Fury)
- Condemnation (Condemn + Blade of Prophecy + Frydehr's Wrath)
- Roland's Sweep (Sweep Attack + Shield Bash + Drakon's Lesson + Roland's Legacy + Golden Flense + Denial + Shield Glare + Flail of the Ascended)
- King Leonidas (Baleful Remnant + Phalanx + + Eternal Union + Unrelenting Phalanx + Akarat's Champion + Lord Commander + Rise Brothers + Warhelm of Kassar)
- King/Queen of Thorns (Thorns of the Invoker + Slash or Punish + Hack + Sanguinary Vambraces + Vo'Toyias Spiker + Iron Maiden + Bombardment + Belt of the Trove + Heart of Iron + Boyarsky's Chip)
- Cavalry (Norvald's Fervor + Steed Charge + Swiftmount)
- "Like chaff before the wind." (after scoring a Mighty Blow)
- "By the Light be damned!" (after scoring a Mighty Blow)
- "My faith is rewarded." (after gaining a level)
- "Akarat favors me!" (after gaining a level)
- "Make your peace quickly./Make your peace. Quickly." (after scoring a Mighty Blow. Note that the two genders are somewhat different with this line of dialogue - the male speaks it as a single sentence, while the female pauses for a beat between "peace" and "quickly.")
- "The crusade marches on!" (after scoring a Mighty Blow)
- "Bad luck for you, friend." (after scoring a Mighty Blow)
"The Crusader. Our knight in battle-scarred armor."— Josh Mosqueira(src)
The concept of the Crusader existed during the development of Diablo III, prior to release. A scenario existed where Blizzard would either develop the Monk as a class and add the Crusader in an expansion, or vice versa. The Monk was ultimately chosen.
The Crusader originally began life as a darker Paladin-type class. Josh Mosqueira wanted it to be a 'dark' class, to balance out against Malthael. However, the Crusader turned into something different over the course of development. The Crusader thus differentiated from the Paladin, as the team wanted to broaden Sanctuary's lore. While the Crusader is melee orientated, it is intended to be different from the Barbarian and Monk classes. Most, if not all Crusader lore was developed by Brian Kindregan.
The core idea of the Crusader is to mix a Paladin with the war ethos of a Spartan, and a modern armored tank, the idea coming from lead designer Kevin Martens. The three core pillars of the Crusader design were deemed thus:
- The Crusader's power is holy and derived from the Light.
- They come from a martial order and therefore are never truly alone.
- Crusaders are tanks, but not in the traditional sense. Instead of serving simply to absorb damage and redirect attention from other allies, Crusaders are more like an actual war time tank, controlling the battlefield and their opponents through sheer force and dealing plenty of damage along the way.
In the brainstorming phase for the Crusader, the development team was allowed to submit any kind of skill idea as long as the skill related to one of these 'pillars.' It was decided to do a 50/50 split for the Crusader's skills, half of them being melee based, the other half being ranged.
When designing the Crusader, Blizzard Entertainment employed an art technique referred to as "shape language." Shape language is the overall simplification of the major elements down to basic geometric shapes. By using rectangular angles, artists emphasied the Crusader's heavy armored knight ethos. However, unlike the armor, the Crusader's clothes are designed to represent the fact that Crusaders are capable of using magic, and are not entirely based on melee gameplay. After some brainstorming, designers settled on four pillars of Crusader design—the body armor, the cloth element, the shield, and the flail. The flail was chosen as heavily armored warriors are traditionally depicted as wielding a flail or mace. Maces generally lean towards a clergymen or clerical type of character, while the Crusader definitely leans more towards the martial side of things. Thus, the flail was chosen.
Crusader animations ran into a hiccup in that the idle pose was deemed too rigid. The pose was altered to look more fluid and dynamic.
- The male Crusader's voice actor is Gideon Emery. The female Crusader's voice actor is Mary Elizabeth McGlynn.
- The astral armor tier of both male and female Crusaders is visually similar to, if not inspired by, the armor equipped by angelic troops.
- ↑ 2012-08-21, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Gameplay Teaser. YouTube, accessed on 2013-08-21
- ↑ 2014, Crusader. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-06-22
- ↑ Sanctuary Beckons, EB Games. Accessed on 2014-03-11
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 2012-08-21, Press Release – Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Unveiled. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2013-08-22
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 2013-08-22, GamesCom 2013: Blizzard Press Event - Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Revealed (Part 2). YouTube, accessed on 2013-09-08
- ↑ 2013-10-16, Crusader. First Impressions.. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-10-16
- ↑ 2013-11-09, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Fact Sheet. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2013-12-19
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 2013-09-26, Crusader and the Templar. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-09-26
- ↑ 2013-12-05, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Crusader Skills (Videos). Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-02-11
- ↑ 2014, Most Popular Crusader Builds The top Diablo III Crusader builds and skills at level 70 in Reaper of Souls. Diablo Somepage, accessed on 2014-18-07
- ↑ 2017-01-25, Diablo 3 Post-mortem with Jay Wilson Part 3. Diablo.net, accessed on 2017-02-19
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 2013-08-25, GamesCom 2013 interview – Josh Mosqueira talks about Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Return of Pandemonium Fortress & Necromancers. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2013-09-05
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 2013-12-05, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Gameplay Systems + Crusader Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-02-21
- ↑ 2013-10-24, Blizzplanet Interview – Micky Neilson & Matt Burns Discuss Diablo III: Book of Tyrael. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2013-10-26
- ↑ 2014-03-17, BUILDING A HERO: CRUSADER SKILL DESIGN. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-06-29
- ↑ 2013-05-12, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Gameplay Systems + Crusader Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-02-22
- ↑ 2014-03-10, CRUSADER LORE AND HISTORY Q&A. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-06-30
- ↑ 2013-12-05, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Gameplay Systems + Crusader Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-02-22