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The crossbow is basically a more powerful shortbow that takes 5 minutes to reload. Although it's a hard hitting weapon, it still lacks in range.
As of the archery update, crossbows take less than a minute to reload and are somewhat more accurate even with less skill.
Basically a powerful shortbow mounted horizontally on a wooden stock which has a trigger device to cock and release a short arrow which is called a bolt or quarrel. Unlike other bows they may be carried loaded and ready to fire, but this advantage is offset by their longer time to reload. They are rarely used in combat, but are commonly used for hunting. Crossbows are rather rare (but getting more popular all the time) among local people of The UnReal World and most of them are of foreign origin.