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This article is about Vanessa's character biography. For the character's appearance and fight strategies in the Deadmines instance, see Vanessa VanCleef (tactics).
NeutralVanessa VanCleef
Image of Vanessa VanCleef
Title <The Uncrowned>
Gender Female
Race Human (Humanoid)
Class Outlaw rogue
Resource Energy
Affiliation(s) Uncrowned, Breadbasket Guild (supporter), Independent
Former affiliation(s) Defias Brotherhood
Occupation Champion of the Uncrowned
Former occupation(s) Defias Brotherhood Kingpin
Location Various
Status Alive
Relative(s) Edwin (father), Farmer Saldean (foster father), Salma Saldean (foster mother)

“Hope is a cruel joke, played upon us by a harsh and uncaring world. There is no Hope, there is only Vanessa.”

Hope Saldean, revealing herself to be Vanessa VanCleef

Vanessa VanCleef is the daughter of Edwin VanCleef and his successor as the former head of the Defias Brotherhood. She was present when Edwin was killed and decapitated by the Alliance adventurers onboard his juggernaught in the Deadmines. After her father's death, Vanessa was adopted by the Saldeans. They named her Hope and raised her as their own daughter, unaware of her true identity. Her identity as Hope Saldean worked to her advantage as she secretly reformed the Defias Brotherhood in the shadows for years.

At the time of the Cataclysm, she took advantage of the economic crisis that affected the kingdom of Stormwind after the war against the Lich King and began to rally the population of Westfall to her cause. As the new Kingpin of the Defias, she took over her father's plans to complete the juggernaught in the Deadmines and destroyed Sentinel Hill. However, she was confronted by the adventurers and the Stormwind Army, and "died" by committing suicide with explosives at the end of the battle.

It was later revealed that she had faked her death by using hallucinogenic drugs against the adventurers. Under the supervision of Lord Jorach Ravenholdt who took her under his wing, she became a member of the Uncrowned and provided assistance to the Shadowblade during the third invasion of the Burning Legion. Years later, Vanessa was betrayed by the remaining Defias who followed Duncon Ratsbon and Count Clessington. After she helped Mathias Shaw and a champion of Stormwind to defeat her former followers, she decided to seek a new and less violent path to help the people of Westfall. With the help of Cecilia Clessington, she helped in the formation of the Breadbasket Guild, an organization of farmers and ex-Defias who sought to revitalize Westfall.

Unlike her father, she is not especially skilled in close combat. However, she has very impressive skills in making poisons, especially ones that cause hallucinations or insanity.


Vanessa Mercenaries 1

Vanessa VanCleef, as Hope Saldean.

Little is known about Vanessa VanCleef's early childhood except that she was the daughter of Edwin VanCleef, leader of the Defias Brotherhood and ruler of the Deadmines. Apparently, the only people who knew about her birth were Theodore and Verna Furlbrow, having seen her as an infant.[1] Vanessa considers Moonbrook to be her home.[2] Approximately five years prior to Deathwing's return, she watched from the shadows as her father was defeated by a group of adventurers on the orders of Gryan Stoutmantle.[3] According to Salma Saldean, "in the dead of night, a little girl walked right into our farmhouse and collapsed on the floor. Nobody had a clue as to her identity. The poor thing had no recollection of who she was or where she came from - truly a lost soul." The Saldeans adopted her and named her Hope due to the hard times that had fallen on them. At some point, Hope started caring for the poor and destitute and ended up at Sentinel Hill.[4]


Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.
Vanessa VanCleef (child)

Vanessa witnesses her father's murder.

However, she secretly began plotting the resurrection of the Brotherhood. Having learned or known that the Furlbrows recognized her face from when she was a baby, Vanessa arranged their deaths to prevent any possibility of the couple prematurely identifying her, something she considered regrettable but necessary for her plans.[1] Soliciting the help of such unsavory characters as the ogre Glubtok[5] and the goblin Helix Gearbreaker, she used Riverpaw gnoll attacks to distract the forces of Sentinel Hill so the Defias could rescue the worgen Admiral Ripsnarl from his imprisonment there. When the gnolls proved ineffective, she resorted to anti-Stormwind propaganda, targeting the homeless masses in Westfall.[6] Vanessa personally delivered a rousing speech to the masses in Moonbrook, denouncing King Varian Wrynn among others and the toll the war in Northrend had taken on the people of Westfall.[7]

The investigations of Lieutenant Horatio Laine into a murder at Furlbrow's Pumpkin Farm led to incremental revelations about Vanessa VanCleef's dealings, disguised as a "Shadowy Figure".[8] Once her forces were sufficiently bolstered, she revealed herself to Marshal Gryan Stoutmantle as the newly reconstituted Defias Brotherhood mounted a surprise attack on Sentinel Hill. Stoutmantle, Laine, and the other leaders were tied up and forced to watch as the Defias burned Sentinel Hill virtually to the ground.[1]

The forces of Stormwind then attacked the Deadmines and defeated Vanessa.


Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.
Vanessa Hall of Shadows

Vanessa in the Hall of Shadows.

Vanessa had easily faked her death in the Deadmines because her opponents' minds had been affected by her neurotoxin. After an adventurer is made one of the leaders of The Uncrowned in the Hall of Shadows and Jorach Ravenholdt proposes a toast, Vanessa attacks with a poisoned brew that incapacitates the rogues. Vanessa had planned on taking that final spot on the Uncrowned's council and challenged the adventurer to a battle to claim it. After losing, Vanessa is told she can become the adventurer's agent or be executed, and Vanessa chooses to stay alive. Afterwards, Lord Ravenholdt tells Vanessa that her father would have been disappointed in her for her actions.[9]

Vanessa participated in the Battle for the Exodar battling against High General Rakeesh, along with Garona Halforcen.[10]

After the invasion[]

Following the Legion's defeat, Vanessa remained an occasional informant for Mathias Shaw under the agreement that so long as she kept the Defias on a short leash, he and the SI:7 wouldn't come after her for their crimes. Though she tried to reign in their banditry to focus on aiding the people of Westfalll, she began to realize that between King Anduin Wrynn's reforms and Stormwind's earlier offer of pardons, nearly all of the principled Defias that were still alive had departed the organization, leaving only the thieves and bullies with no qualms about targeting innocents.[11]

After the Fourth War, Mathias Shaw mentioned in his report that the Uncrowned were still active, and that Vanessa was still an active and recognized member of the organization.[12]


Dragonflight This section concerns content related to Dragonflight.

Some time after the discovery of the Dragon Isles, a disgraced noble named Count Clessington arranged for the Defias to steal the Drakefire Amulet from Stormwind Keep.[13] Using its powers of manipulation, he convinced the Defias to turn against Vanessa VanCleef and march on Northshire Abbey, with the aim of using it as a staging ground to pillage the city of Stormwind itself. Seeing how easily a noble turned the Brotherhood against her made Vanessa realize that she was no longer one of them, and she told those Defias who stayed behind to return home and help the people of Westfall in other ways.[2] With the help of a champion of Stormwind, the Defias were defeated, Count Clessington was slain, and the Drakefire Amulet was destroyed. In the wake of their victory, Vanessa determined that she would find her own legacy, rather than continuing her father's.[14]

Later, she returned to the Saldean's Farm with Cecilia Clessington. After so many years, the Saldean couple was happy to see their adopted daughter again at home, regretting the actions she committed as Vanessa VanCleef, but that she would forever remain Hope for them.[15][16]


Location Level range Reaction Notes
Ironclad Cove, Deadmines 1 Alliance During A [5-30] A Vision of the Past.
Sentinel Tower & Sentinel Hill, Westfall 5-30 Elite Alliance As part of the Westfall storyline.
Goblin Foundry & Ironclad Cove, Deadmines 35 Elite ?? Boss Alliance Horde As the final boss in the Deadmines.
Chamber of Shadows, Hall of Shadows 10-45 Alliance Horde/Alliance Horde As part of the Rogue Campaign.
Seat of the Naaru, Exodar 10-45 Alliance Horde During N [10-45] Bringer of the Light.
Elwynn Forest; Duskwood; Westfall 50-70 Alliance/Alliance As part of Lion's Heritage.


  • Ability rogue sprint Adrenaline — Your heart is pounding in your chest. Movement speed increased by 50%.
  • Ability poisons Noxious Concoction — A powerful concoction that renders foes unable to move or react.
Main article: Vanessa VanCleef (tactics)#Abilities
Hall of Shadows
  • Ability rogue shadowstep Backslash — Step through the shadows and slice the back of the enemy, dealing Physical damage over 10 sec.
  • Ability rogue bloodyeye Battle Fatigue — Physical damage dealt decreased by 4%.
  • Ability whirlwind Riposte — When activated, increases parry chance by 100%, reduces the chance ranged attacks will hit you by 100% and grants a 100% chance to deflect spells. Lasts 10 sec.
Lion's Heritage
  • Ability rogue crimsonvial Alchemical Vial — Throws an alchemical concoction at a friendly player target, healing them for 20 and increasing their haste by 30% for 8 sec.
  • Ability cheapshot Cheap Shot — Surprise someone from the shadows.
  • Ability rogue disembowel Envenom — Inflicts 3 Nature damage to the target and afflicts them with Deadly Poison.
    • Ability rogue dualweild Deadly Poison — Inflicts 1 Nature damage every 2 sec for 12 sec.
  • Ability stealth Stealth — Puts the caster in stealth mode. Lasts until cancelled.
  • Spell shadow charm Will to Survive — Removes all stun effects.

As a follower[]

Vanessa VanCleef is an Outlaw Rogue Class Hall champion obtained during N Rogue [10-45] Rise, Champions with the following abilities:

  • Ability rogue dirtydeeds Dirty Tricks (Ability) — Increases success chance of missions with Spells by 15%. Counters: Spell Spell
  • Ability kick Kick (Ability) — A quick kick that counters a SpellCounters: Spell Spell
  • Inv sword 30 Outlaw (Specialization) — A ruthless fugitive who uses ability and guile to stand toe-to-toe, countering some BossesCounters: Boss Boss

Vanessa can also be assigned as a bodyguard:

  • Inv sword 48 Bodyguard — Can accompany you as a guardian in the Broken Isles when assigned as a Combat Ally.

As a combat ally, she has the following abilities:

  • Ability backstab Backstab — Stab the target.
  • Ability rogue fanofknives Fan of Knives — Deals Physical damage to all targets within 15 yards.
  • Ability rogue kidneyshot Kidney Shot — Stun the target.
  • Ability vanish Vanish — Allows you to vanish from sight, entering stealth while in combat. For the first 3 sec after vanishing, damage and harmful effects received will not break stealth. Also breaks movement impairing effects.


Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.
Dragonflight This section concerns content related to Dragonflight.

Objective of[]



Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.
Main article: Vanessa VanCleef (tactics)#Quotes

Vanessa appears in disguise as a Shadowy Figure during some of these quests.

Main article: Livin' the Life#Notes
Main article: Secrets of the Tower#Notes
Main article: The Dawning of a New Day#Notes
Main article: Rise of the Brotherhood#Notes


Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.


Hall of Shadows

Ready for a rematch, <name>? Anytime, anywhere.


  • What can I do for you?
  • Less talk, more action.
  • Hmm.
  • Words are petty.
  • Don't push me.
  • Here to split a drink? It's not poison. Promise...
  • I've an act to make people disappear.
  • I thought you were above this.
  • Right away.
  • Hmm.
  • I will have my revenge someday.
  • Nothing will stand in my way.


Combat ally[]
  • Let me show you how its done!
  • This one's mine!
  • No one crosses the Uncrowned!
Killed a mob
  • Die, scum!
  • You call that a fight?
  • I'm just warming up!
  • No... I'm not ready... to die...
  • I'm wounded... Let me catch my breath.


Dragonflight This section concerns content related to Dragonflight.
Main article: An Unlikely Informant#Notes
Main article: A Window to the Past#Notes
Main article: Rotten Old Memories#Notes
Main article: The New Clessington Estate#Notes
Main article: Misdeeds in Moonbrook#Notes
Main article: A Hungry Heritage#Notes
Main article: Betrayal of the Brotherhood#Notes
Main article: To Northshire#Notes
Saldean's Farm gossip

I never thought I would come back here, to the place where I stewed in so much anger for so long, after my father was killed.

The Saldeans were kind to me. I never allowed the Defias harm them, but I still betrayed them by having the Furlbrows killed. I only hope they can forgive me.

Gossip <Ask about her name.>

I could not return to the name Hope Saldean. But I also could not ignore the girl I was as Hope any longer. Somewhere, I had left her behind.
My childhood with the Saldeans, while filled with bitterness, was also filled with warmth. There were some days I thought I could go on as Hope... a simple farm girl, handing out soup...
But that is not the path for me. I still have work to do.
I won't hide from my past. Any part of it. The good and the bad.
I shall keep the name VanCleef, in defiance of my father's bloody legacy, but in honor of his original ideals.
And I will never stop fighting for the people of Westfall.
Gossip <Ask about something else.>

Gossip Ask what she's doing here.

Talking. Planning.
Making amends.
Westfall is heading in a new direction. Ex-Defias, long-displaced folks, and the farmers of Westfall are banding together to form the Breadbasket Guild.
Cecilia, as Countess, makes it official. Soon, we'll hold a vote to decide who should be at the helm.
<Vanessa smiles fondly.>
Everyone knows the Saldeans will win. They've done so much for everyone.
Gossip What about you?
<Vanessa laughs.>
Me? I'm still a criminal, remember?
If I joined the Breadbasket Guild, much less led them, I would only discredit them.
Listen, there's no doubt in my mind that the House of Nobles will try to put a stop to the Guild. Count Clessington was evidence enough that there are still many who are only it for power. Where there is power, there is always corruption.
In public, they'll be all smiles and nods, but then they will send daggers in the dark.
When their agents come for the Guild from the shadows, that's where they'll find me.
Gossip <Ask about something else.>

In the TCG[]

"Lies, greed, and deception—these are the things that my father stood against. For years, he worked tirelessly, helping to rebuild your devastated city, and what thanks did he or anyone else get for it? Nothing. What choice did they have but to turn on those who the crown favored to get payment, one way or another? Fate, it would seem, has led me down this path. Even with the murder of my father, your foolish attempts to destroy the Defias have been in vain. I am, now more than ever, my father’s daughter, and the Defias Brotherhood will rise once more..."[17]

In other media[]

Icon-TCG This section contains information from the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game and is considered non-canon.
  • Vanessa appears as a human rogue in two cards:
    • Vanessa VanCleef of The Deadmines deck
    • Vanessa VanCleef (Dungeon Decks 2011 Treasure) of the Dungeon Decks 2011 Treasure
Hearthstone This section contains information exclusive to Hearthstone and is considered non-canon.

Notes and trivia[]

  • Her generic name is Defias Thief. She rides a dark gray horse and a giant raven.
  • She wields two daggers with the same model as Inv sword 48 [Perdition's Blade].
  • As a Legion bodyguard, she originally rode a turtle. Patch 7.2.0 changed it to a horse.
  • Vanessa is voiced by Karen Strassman.
  • In the Legion alpha, Vanessa was initially one of the leaders of the Uncrowned before losing that position to the player. Eventually, she was temporarily removed from the alpha and then re-added in a later build with her new role.
    • She has an invisible Follower recruiting spell with the following description: Achievement boss edwinvancleef Champion: Vanessa VanCleef — "Most think to this day that the infamous leader of the Defias Brotherhood died in the Deadmines years ago thanks to an elixir that mimicked death and flame retardant armor. In truth, the wayward daughter of Westfall found her way into the secretive order of the Uncrowned, where her anti-government motives were well at home. She quickly rose through the ranks to the mysterious Shadows, poised to finally have the means to enact her revenge."".



Patch changes[]

See also[]

  • A Note From Vanessa


External links[]

Vanessa VanCleef Shadowy Figure Generic name Champion
Preceded by:
Edwin Vancleef
Defias Brotherhood Kingpin
Succeeded by: