Not trying to complain, and I understand that the concept of the class hadn't really come into existence until recently, but my understanding is that when the other Paladins were heading West to Westmarch, these guys went east to fight corruption within Zakarum there. Which leaves me wanting Blizzard to tell me where they were while my Westmarchian Paladin was busy cleaning up Kurast from all that corruption. Like I said, I get why they wouldn't have been in Diablo 2 since they hadn't been thought of yet, but is it too much to expect for an alibi to be made up as to why they wouldn't have been cleaning up that mess?
We've not really had all that much lore information about anything related to the Crusader. I expect all the questions will be answered as we move closer to release. BlizzCon's lore panel is also a viable option, if anyone decides to ask that question.
It could easily be that the order was simply not established during the events of Diablo 2. It's like in WoW, you'd think the Paladins had been around for many hundreds of years when in fact they were established fairly recently in the lore. The same could apply here.
Except we know when these Crusaders were established. The lore presented has them being an elite force of Paladins that was sent Eastwards while Rakkis was going west to found Westmarch.
One thing i dont understand is why Crusaders are "stronger" than Paladins...
Physically i agree they are stronger but overall with their skills..
The concept of the Crusader being stronger is that there's so few of them, which allows for them to be 'stronger' lore wise. The idea is that there is always a set number of Crusaders, they don't actually increase their roster. In their lifetime each takes 1 student and teaches him everything they know, in the way they themselves understand it. So the student pretty much becomes a copy of the master - super powerful, but the order keeps the same number over all its generations. They're a special breed.
According to some of the lore files in RoS, the Crusaders may not have known it was Mephisto responsible for the corruption, hence the reason the D2 heroes had to deal with him. The 'crusade to end the corruption' also apparently became a metaphorical thing.
The Crusaders were established and trained 200 years ago by a Zakarum cleric named Akkhan, who had sensed the corruption plaguing the Zakarum and prayed for guidance. The answer to his prayers was Crusader, and so he recruited the most zealous and martially adept Zakarum and trained to use the Light in ways that no Paladin could. Once they had learned all they could, Akkhan sent the Crusaders out into the world 'seeking a way to cleanse the corruption that coiled at the heart of the Zakarum faith.' There was no clear goal for them to pursue, and some clerics believed it to be a fool's errand that could not be achieved, but the Crusaders were not deterred.
The Crusaders swore an oath to dedicate their lives to the search. None believed that they would be the one to end the Crusade by finding and cleansing the corruption. They believed that the search ennobled them, that the discipline of their life and journey was the true goal. The Crusader was meant to find meaning in the quest itself.
Each Crusader took an apprentice. When a Crusader fell, his apprentice would take up his armor, his place in the order, and even his very name, When the first generation of Crusaders fell, their own apprentices took up their identities, and so it has continued for 200 years.
While there is likely to be lore explaining it, to me it's just their continued philosophy of not trying to be D2. They didn't want to bring back all the same classes so they redesigned them or renamed them. The sorceress is now the Wizard, and the Necromancer has been redesigned to be the Witch Doctor. The Crusader is along those lines - it's a paladin but they are trying to make it different.
I wonder how will Blizzard integrate the Crusaders into the lore.
When Diablo II Paladins went west, the Crusaders went east... But still, in Diablo II we went east ourselves and did the cleansing by hand, with no Crusaders around. So my guess is that the Crusaders went further east than Kurast.
Has any one here gotten the crusader lore books in-game? It pretty clearly says they went east from a starting point of Travincal (they're Zakarumites, afterall, and Kurast/Travincal is the cradle of Zakarum).
So in D2 we went east /to/ Travincal and then took a portal to the fringes of the Burning Hells; the Crusaders went east /from/ Travincal, so it's no surprise we didn't encounter them.