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The new Crusader class is one of the main features of Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls. Today Blizzard gave a full run-down on this group of holy warriors.

Crusaders are heavily-armored warrior that uses a shield and one-handed weapon (often a flail or mace) in battle. Their shield isn't just for blocking attacks, though. They can also use it to blind or damage enemies as well.

The Crusaders are also able to use Holy magic in battle. Their divine magic can be used to rain down destruction on enemies. They can also use spells called Laws that strengthen their party.

The class obviously shares some similarities with the Paladins from Diablo 2. There are some differences, though. Laws aren't just Auras with a different name. While they can be used as a passive buff for the party, they also have an active mode that provides a short-term, powerful bonus.

There are also important differences between Crusaders and Paladins in the game's lore. While both groups belong to the Zakarum faith and have combat training, that's about where the similarities end. Here's what Blizzard said on the Battle.net forums.
Unlike the Paladins, the Crusaders are an elite and insular group that has seen very little change since their founding, maintaining beliefs and practices most close to the original teachings of Akarat "Though Crusaders may exhibit similar ability to wield and bend the Light to their will as their Paladin counterparts, their fervor comes from a much more pure sense of righteousness. This is in part by design. During their formation, Akkhan made certain to only recruit those with the strongest conviction and battle potential. He also actively avoided bringing in anyone with Paladin training, fearful of any existing defilement or corruption carrying over into his crusade.

As a result of this focused purpose and very guarded lifestyle, the order itself is actually quite small. In total, only 427 Crusaders were sent east, and over time, their numbers have dwindled to the 341 known today. In practice, the Crusaders remain a loosely organized group, often traveling alone or with, at most, a single apprentice—a partnership which will persist until the Crusader's death. When it comes time for the Crusader to lay down their weapon, generally by falling in battle, their apprentice will not only take up their shield and armor, but their name as well, continuing a legacy set in motion so many generations ago.

Reaper of Souls also adds a fifth act to the campaign as well as adventure mode. Lead content designer Kevin Martens said recently that adventure mode is the main reason to play the expansion. It adds randomized dungeons and bounties to the game, which in theory could make the game much more replayable than a new class or new campaign chapter.

Blizzard will release Reaper of Souls on the PC and Mac on March 25th. The expansion will also be included with the PS4 version of Diablo 3 whenever it arrives.

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