Building a Hero: Crusader Skill Design

Building a Hero: Crusader Skill Design

“The Crusader. Our knight in battle-scarred armor.” – Josh Mosqueira

Although the Crusader may share the same faith as their Zakarum brethren, they are an altogether new breed of holy warrior. Rightfully so, the Crusaders deserve a set of skills all their own, one that reflects their resourcefulness, resilience, and (of course) religious fervor.

But how exactly does that happen in a game like Diablo III?

Brace yourselves, nephalem, and get ready to explore the creative process behind concepting, designing, and implementing the mighty powers of our newest hero.


 

A Crusader’s Core

Before diving into the development of the Crusader’s skill set, there were some very important details that needed to be mapped out. These details were the class’s core “pillars,” or touchpoints that would serve as the inspiration and outline for the mechanical design of the class moving forward.

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To establish these pillars, the designers focused on the fantasy. When it came to the Crusader, one thing was clear right from the beginning: this was a big, badass melee hero who loves being in the middle of the action. Equally powerful was the idea that Crusaders are members of a holy order, possessing ranged abilities (spells) that can annihilate enemies from afar.

With those very basic concepts in mind, three key pillars were chosen:

  • 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. They’re not a traditional “tank,” serving simply to absorb damage and redirect attention from other allies. Instead, the Crusaders are more like an actual war time tank (e.g. Panzer, Sherman, Abram), controlling the battlefield and their opponents through sheer force—and, of course, dealing plenty of damage along the way.

 


 

Hero of the Brainstorm

Armed with these pillars, the system designers moved to the brainstorming phase of design. This phase included a number of different meetings as well as an open invitation to the team’s designers, artists, engineers, programmers, and producers to share their ideas for Crusader skills, too. Everyone on the development team could participate in the ongoing brainstorm and no idea was considered too silly or too simple so long as it related back to the pillars.

Ideas could come in the form of pictures, of a word or sentence, or some swanky combination of both! They could be entirely unique or reference existing imagery from a movie, television show, book, comic, or game. The High Heavens were the limit.

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For the original five heroes, the goal of this phase was to generate a variety of different ideas that could then be distilled into three to five iconic skills for each class. With this kind of experience in skill building already established, however, the team decided to skip that particular step for the Crusader. Instead, they split the Crusader’s skill list right down the middle, dedicated half its skills to melee and half to ranged attacks, and immediately started to translate different ideas from the brainstorm into something playable.

Whether it was the image of a powerful warrior swinging a massive weapon and sending his enemies flying every which way like Sauron in Fellowship of the Ring (Sweep Attack), hurling a shield like Captain America and watching it ricochet between demonic skulls (Blessed Shield), or calling down the wrath of the heavens like Zeus himself (Heaven’s Fury), brainstorming played a pivotal role in the creation of the Crusader skills you see today.

 


 

Building the Kit

After the brainstorm phase, the team moved into building out the Crusader’s skill kit—or the entire complement of skills and runes that would accompany the class. This process included not only fleshing out the mechanics of the skills (i.e. how they work), but also what each skill would look like visually.

There were a few skills that fell into place immediately.

Fist of the Heavens:

If you played Diablo II, it’s easy to see that there are several parallels between the Paladins of the past and these new Crusaders—and this is due largely to their shared heritage. Keeping that connection in mind, there was one truly iconic skill screaming to be brought forward, and it was Fist of the Heavens.

 

Fist of the Heavens is actually the first skill in the Crusader kit to be completed, both in terms of the how the skill worked and its supporting art. It’s a great example of a mid-range ability, one that allows the Crusader to stay in the heat of combat while taking out baddies just beyond the reach of his mighty weapons.

Blessed Hammer:

In addition to Fist of Heavens, the Crusaders also possess another ability inherited from their Paladin forebears. This one has to do with hammers.

Cue the trimuphant return of Blessed Hammer, the skill well known for summoning a mallet of pure divine force that circles its conjurer, laying waste to all that surrounds him.

But why stop there? With Diablo III’s extensive rune system, it had to be asked what more could be done with this exemplary skill. The Crusader flawlessly wields the power of the Light and it was important to play up this idea of him being a Holy conduit. This lead to the creation of skill runes like Thunderstruck, which charges the hammers with lightning, and Dominion, which allows the hammers to orbit and protect the Crusader as he moves.

Steed Charge:

The Crusader’s movement skill was next in line, and the team knew it needed to be iconic. This was a simple matter, as a “knight in battle-scarred armor” would be nothing without his horse. And so Steed Charge was born.

With this skill, the Crusader summons a celestial horse, and gallops around the battlefield at a fierce speed, charging into enemies as the player pleases. Aside from providing a considerable buff to movement speed, when equipped with the right runes, Steed Charge can also leave a trail of flames in its wake, heal the Crusader while active, and shackle any opponents who dare cross his path.

Lessons Learned

Not all the skills in the Crusader’s kit came quite so easily, though.

Heaven’s Fury is a great example of how an initial idea for a skill and its actual implementation can vary. As noted above, the concept for this skill started as the “hand of god” reaching down and smiting the Crusader’s enemies. While that sounded epic on paper, how exactly would it work in terms of gameplay?

In its first implemention, players could direct the path of Heaven’s Fury using a series of right clicks, causing beams of light to rain down destruction on the battlefield in snake-like patterns. This version was pretty cool visually, but it was insanely loud and, in a multiplayer game, had the potential to become wildly annoying.

And so it was scrapped.

Iteration began and the team landed on a version where the beam of light was channeled and would chase the player’s mouse cursor around. This looked epic and felt really powerful, but it was a little rough mechanically. In addition, having a channeled skill for the Crusader just didn’t feel right. In terms of design, the Crusader is a hero that should be constantly running around and hitting things, not standing idle on the battlefield.

And so that was scrapped too.

From here, the designers decided to give Heaven’s Fury its own AI, removing any need for players to manage the beam itself and freeing up their time to go smack something else in the face. This design also played into the initial idea of the skill being a “hand of god,” or some kind of manifestation of the heavens that has its own will.

This is the final version of Heaven’s Fury, which will unlock for all Crusaders at level 30 in Reaper of Souls. As you can see, it still captures that original idea of a Zeus-like bolt from the heavens discussed in the brainstorm, but also delivers a great gameplay experience (which is a paramount in a game like Diablo III).

 

A Skill Set Is Born

Adding these skills together results in an unyielding veteran of the battlefield. A dauntless warrior that charges fearlessly into combat, crushing foes with fire and steel. A war machine made human. A Crusader.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed this inside look at how the class’s skills were created and iterated uon, and that you jump in on March 25th to experience the full arsenal yourself!

 

Blizzplanet Wants your Questions for Reaper of Souls London & Los Angeles Launch Party Interviews

Blizzplanet staff members will be attending the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls launch parties to take video and photos. Naka (@dperschonok) is attending the event in Los Angeles on March 24th where a Live Q&A will take place. Lugia (@Lugia_Blizz) is attending the London launch party and Blizzard EU has scheduled an interview with Diablo III lead game producer Alex Mayberry.

We would love to gather questions from our fans and visitors to relay them to the Reaper of Souls game developers.

Twitter: Send us questions at @blizzplanetcom with the hashtag #ROSinterview (feel free to send multiple tweets/questions).

Facebook: Post your questions at the following page: http://www.facebook.com/blizzplanetcom

Don’t have Facebook or Twitter? Submit your question through this form, or post in the Livefyre comments section at the bottom.

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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – The End is Near

A trailer to hype for us fans waiting. 7 days to go until the release of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls™ Gameplay Trailer Debut

Only one week remains until Malthael, the Angel of Death, makes his terrifying return to the mortal realm. One week until you can lay siege to Act V, charge forth as the Crusader, master powerful new skills, and explore the world of Sanctuary like never before. One week! Source

To tide you over until death’s descent, we’ve just unleashed our official gameplay trailer on YouTube. Discover what harrowing challenges and tantalizing rewards await your heroes beyond the gates of Westmarch in the all-new video below.

Are you ready to go anywhere and slay anything? We sure as hell are! Diablo III: Reaper of Souls™arrives on March 25, but remember: death is only the beginning.  

 

Blizzard Takes PAX East by Storm


The time to equip your flail and shield is coming, brave nephalem, because Reaper of Souls™ for PlayStation® 4 is headed to PAX EAST!

General Information:

What: Hosted annually in Boston, PAX East is a celebration of gaming culture and community
Where: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
When: April 11–13, 2014

Head on over to east.paxsite.com for panel schedules, hotel and travel information, forums, and more. If you have an iPhoneAndroidBlackBerry, or Windows 7 smart phone, you can also download the super sexy (and super official) PAX East 2014 app from Guidebook for free.

Join the Crusade:

If you’re attending the event, be sure to join us in the battle for Westmarch at the official Blizzard booth. You’ll have the opportunity to get your hands on our latest Ultimate Evil Edition™ demo, test your RNG luck with some sweet giveaways, and more! This is also your chance to raise hell with the all-new Crusader class wielding Sony’s streamlined DUALSHOCK® 4 wireless controller.

We’ll have demo stations available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT in booth #848 of the Expo Hall, so if you’re in the area (and in the mood for some ritual demon slaughter), be sure to stop by and check it out! 

Here’s what else you can expect at this year’s PAX East Blizzard booth:

  • A brand new hands-on demo for Warlords of Draenor featuring updated character models and the intro experience for the upcoming expansion.
  • A brand-new demo for Heroes of the Storm, featuring new Heroes playable for the first time anywhere outside of Blizzard.
  • A chance to find out what’s in the cards for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and play the mobile version on iPad.
  • Blizzard developers on-hand to chat about your favorite games.
  • Blizzard developers will also be giving a presentation at the Albatross Theatre on Friday, April 11 at 10:30 a.m. EDT titled Heroes of the Storm: The Ultimate Blizzard Mashup (streamed live on one of the official PAX Twitch channels for those not in attendance).
  • And did we mention there will be giveaways, prizes, and more? If not . . . there will be giveaways, prizes, and more!

We hope to see you there!

 

Diablo III Auction House Comes to a Close

The Diablo Auction House is now closed. People have until June 24, 2014 to claim their gold and items.

Diablo III Auction House Comes to a Close

The gold and real-money auction houses are now shut down in the Americas. For more information, including how the shutdown will affect active auctions, items in the Completed Tab, and your existing Battle.net Balance, please visit our Auction House Update FAQ.
 

Garwulf’s Corner: An Odyssey into Diablo and the World Beyond the Video Game

Diablo fans who followed the Garwulf’s Corner at the former Diabloii.net years ago might be excited to learn something shared with me by its author Robert B. Marks.

Before we get into that, for those who weren’t around the Blizzard community back then — Garwulf’s Corner was a bi-weekly column discussing everything Diablo and Diablo II, as well as life topics in general such as movies, literature, video games, etc.

Robert B. Marks is also the author of Diablo: Demonsbane. Demonsbane was the first Diablo eBook published in 2000 and he is author of the EverQuest Companion. Most likely the first book in the Blizzard novel collection, and likely the pioneer of gaming eBooks in general — at a time where Kindle didn’t exist, and eBooks were just a first-time experiment.

Diablo: Demonsbane can be read in printing nowadays within the pages of the Diablo Archive.

Last night, Robert B. Marks informed me he is publishing a book titled … Garwulf’s Corner: An Odyssey into Diablo and The World Beyond the Video Game.

I’ll keep you updated as details become available. I’ll get a review copy as soon as it comes out of printing. The book is slated to ship on October 2014 from the Legacy Books Press. Robert B. Marks websites: The Dragonmage’s Realm and Garwulf’s Corner (Livejournal)

At the dawn of the 21st Century, the video game industry experienced a period of wild creativity, fighting for recogniztion as an art form while making the transformation into a media juggernaut. And as it did, Garwulf’s Corner was there.

One of the earliest, if not the first, video game issues columns on the internet, Garwulf’s Corner ran every two weeks from 2000 to 2002 on Diabloii.net, Written by Robert B. Marks, author of Diablo: Demonsbane and The EverQuest Companion, it explored everything up to and including Diablo, the birth of artificial intelligence, hackers, literature and movies, and the video game’s struggle for legitimacy.

Collected here for the first time in print — whith new introductions and updates — are all 52 installments of Garwulf’s Corner, along with the three columns written years later for the unpublished Blurred Edge Magazine, the holiday issue that never was, and the author’s final word (so far) on Diablo III and Diablo in general. Insightful, controversial, witty, and thought-provoking, Garwulf’s Corner is a journey into the world of video games that is still relevant today.

ISBN: 9781927537107
Price: $19.99 US

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Diablo III – Ladder System might be coming?

Josh Mosqueira Teases more about “LADDERS”

Another day another tweet by Josh Mosqueira about… overcoming obstacles! A few months ago during an interview, Josh Mosqueira joked when he was asked about ladders and asked back if they are are used for climbing. Either the team is playing a collective joke, or Diablo III PvP info might actually be in the near horizon?

Diablo III – A New Ally Has Joined the Game Guide

The Crusader has been added to the official Game Guide.

A New Ally Has Joined the Game Guide

…but the minions of Hell grow stronger.

Lore seekers and theorycrafters, take note: the Crusader class page and skill calculator are now available in the Diablo III Game Guide! Source


 

The Crusader Class Page

The Crusader class page is a vast repository of sacred knowledge, containing key details about this unyielding champion of the Light. On the page, you will find a litany of practical information including core class mechanics, character background, unique equipment, a resource overview, an armor progression preview, combat screenshots, artwork, and more.

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Updated Skill Calculator

In addition to these high-level highlights, the class page also provides a comprehensive breakdown of Crusader skills and abilities. If you’re looking to challenge Malthael’s armies in Westmarch and beyond, be sure to explore the ActivePassive, and Progression sub-pages to learn more about the divine powers your Crusader can wield. We also encourage you to experiment with new builds using our updated Skill Calculator!

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For more information about Crusader lore and history, click here. For a sneak peek at the upcoming Crusader short story, “The End of Her Journey,” click here.

To learn about other recent changes made to the Game Guide, click here.

 

Diablo III New Crusader Fan Art

Gorgeous Art for the upcoming Crusader Class in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

New Crusader Fan Art

The brave, though mysterious Crusaders have always been a source of inspiration for those fortunate enough to witness them in combat. From their unmistakable silhouette of shield and flail to their unrelenting fervor on the battlefield, they’ve captured the hearts and quills of many artisans throughout Sanctuary. And throughout our mortal realm as well! Source

In celebration of this blessed champion of the Light, we’ve collected several samples of fan art from all around the globe featuring the newest playable class in Reaper of Souls™. Feast your eyes on these wonderful works below, and be sure to visit the artists’s official pages to show your support!

 

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Female CrusaderMay the Darkness be Consumed by Light, and Female Crusader 2 by Vablo

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Crusader – Unbreakable Warrior by István Dányi

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First Crusade by Hide the Insanity [LEFT] | Crusader by Dehong Yu [RIGHT]

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Crusader by reh-kitz

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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Crusader by Calvin’s Customs

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The Crusader by alexdromero

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Diablo 3 – Crusader by vincentowo [LEFT] | Crusader fan Art by FedericoAG [RIGHT]

Be sure to stay tuned to diablo3.com for more information regarding the Crusader, and for the results of our Reaper of Souls Fan Art Contest hosted by deviantART—which conludes this week!

 
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