Untapped Potential – My Manaan Stronghold Review

Manaan is the setting of Star Wars The Old Republic’s latest Stronghold that just came out with Game Update 5.3 (July 11th). It is quite small (compared to Yavin) with a total of four expansions.

The setting of the Stronghold is tranquil and the architecture is lovely. But, this is hampered by a lot of wasted space and poor placement of the decoration hooks. The small size of the Stronghold wouldn’t be that much of an issue if the hook placement had been better.

There is quite a lot of space that is impossible to get to or decorate which is quite weird. It is even physically impossible to get to your Starship Hook which is located on the roof (on the right side when you enter the Stronghold).  Hopefully, there are plans to expand the Stronghold to include more interior rooms (as there’s plenty of unused space inside the structure we can’t get to) and to give us access to the roof.

Most rooms don’t have enough hooks or have too many small hooks (that can’t be converted to larger hook layouts). I’ll go into the hook placement in more detail for each area of the Stronghold below.

The Manaan Stronghold consists of an Entrance area, Hallway, large Rooftop room, Rooftop Garden and an Underwater Observatory which consist of a ‘lobby’ and two side rooms. Let’s take a closer look at each room/area.


The entrance area, while quite huge, feels wasted given the overall size of the Stronghold. Some of the hook placement is okay but others are just bizarre. The green hooks that run alongside the main walkway, in particular, are quite frustrating and can’t be changed to medium narrow hooks, sadly. More large hooks in this area that could be changed to the smaller hook size combinations as needed would’ve been beneficial for this area. Some large ceiling hooks in the undercover areas also would’ve been nice (click on an image to enlarge).


The hallway is a complete waste of space (unless there are plans to add more rooms in which case there is plenty of room to add doors to said rooms). The hook placement (of the floor hooks in particular) doesn’t align with the architecture very well making it difficult to align decorations (a frustrating plight for those of us who are OCD inclined).

Rooftop Garden

The Rooftop Garden interior room has far too few hooks in it and most of them are small hooks. There really should be more large hooks in this room. There’s certainly plenty of space for them. More rug hooks would also be a good thing. Ideally, the hooks around the sunken area should just be back to back large hooks and each corner should have a large hook. I would also like to see six rug hooks in the sunken area and some additional ones around it.

The Rooftop Garden itself is a small, cosy space. The hook placement in this room is the best out of all the rooms in the Stronghold. Although it is a shame that there aren’t more Rug Hooks in the ‘sunken’ part of the room.

Underwater Observatory

The Underwater Observatory also has fairly minimal hook placement. It is quite disappointing that we can not place decorations on the glass floor. Also, the green square hooks aren’t able to be changed into medium hooks which is quite frustrating. They should have been medium-sized by default then customisable to the smaller hook sizes.

The Underwater Observatory side rooms also have a strange hook layouts. The default layout is a centrepiece hook which is quite frankly, bizarre for such a small space. There aren’t that many centrepiece hook decorations that would fit, let alone work in such a small space. I changed the hook layout in both rooms to a large and medium hook mix to ensure maximum usage of the space. I still found the hook layout quite limiting in both of the side rooms. It also bothers me that instead of a large ceiling hook there is one small hook in the ceiling which is pretty pointless given the lack of lights that fit a small hook that actually emit light. There aren’t that many large ceiling hooks in the Stronghold so it’s a shame to see a wasted opportunity for a large ceiling hook (architecture features be damned).


So, what improvements could be made to the Manaan Stronghold?

  • More rooms to account for all the areas we can’t access leading off of the Hallway.
  • Roof access especially to the Starship Hook. We should be able to walk from where we zone into the stronghold to our Starship hook on the roof.
  • Better hook placement (as suggested for each individual area) and more hooks without increasing the decoration limit.

I feel that these changes would go a long way to making the Stronghold much better. Manaan really has a nice, tranquil feeling. It just needs some tweaking to bring it in line with the other Strongholds in the game.

Once I have completely finished decorating my Manaan Stronghold, I will be sure to do a tour post!

What did you think of the Manaan Stronghold? Did you like the hook placement? Would you like to see more rooms added?


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  • Jen’Ari-Asha

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. It’s a real shame too. I really like the design of the stronghold, and the underwater stuff is so cool. But the hooks in general, and in this stronghold in particular, limit the player so heavily that it makes decorating a shore.

    If you ask me, we need to get far greater flexibility in changing the hook sizes and set ups, for the Manaan stronghold and for all other strongholds. Seeing how much amazing work the developers can do with stuff like the Palace of the Eternal Dragon, it becomes a bit… annoying how limited we are.

    Fixing the particular hooks is the least they can do. But as someone who loves decorating strongholds, it doesn’t really solve the problem with how fundamentally limited the system is :/

    Great review btw! 😛

    • Thank you! Yeah, I really do dislike the hook system. I really wish we could put decorations wherever we bloody well want lol.

  • Blachloch

    Thanks Xam Xam, I’m still on the fence as to if I’ll buy this stronghold or not. I’m not a big stronghold decorator but if I do, then I want it to look nice.

    • Yeah I’m really struggling to get it to 100% and having it look nice. I’m at 76% and have maxed out the number of companions I can have out (something I’ve never done with any of my other strongholds before). WTB better hook placements and bigger hooks now lol

  • Disqus this

    Overall I was disappointed in the Manaan SH due to most of the things you already brought up.

    The entire SH just seems poorly designed or designed as quickly as possible and not much effort was put into it. When it comes to the design, layout and hook placement there is no attention to detail and bioware screwed it up.

    Potential to be very cool and it turns out not to be worth the time or effort.

    • Indeed it does feel rushed. I do hope they take the opportunity to expand it at some point but they seem to have a habit of leaving things half finished and never reaching their full potential.