ArenaNet

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ArenaNet Reviews

Updated Jul 24, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.6 50 reviews

83% Approve of the CEO

ArenaNet Co-Founder & President Mike O'Brien

Mike O'Brien

(36 ratings)

67% of employees recommend this company to a friend
50 Employee Reviews
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    A fantastic change of pace.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Bellevue, WA

    ProsFun work environment.
    Great, talented people.
    Flexible management.
    Generous rewards for employees.
    Free snacks.
    Open atmosphere.
    Sincere interest in involving, including, and educating all employees.
    Compared to more entry-level game-industry jobs like with Nintendo and Microsoft, this is an absolute dream company to work for.

    ConsSome communication problems between departments.
    Hires for contract positions in a workflow that doesn't make sense for them.
    Last minute decisions from upper management trump all others.

    Advice to Senior ManagementContract positions are for inconsistent workflows where demands for staffing lessen after a big project completes. With a steady release cadence, there's no reason to contract employees. It then only becomes an exceptional way to lose talent.

    Don't make large sweeping decisions on short notice without getting input from the teams that are affected by the changes.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Excellent Game Studio!

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Bellevue, WA

    ProsI've been at the company for just over a year now and have worked at lots of different studios. Here are some of the Pros that come to mind:

    - Always willing to change and adapt: Since I've been here, Arena Net is constantly looking and asking its employees for ways we can improve. And it works - things are infinitely better now than when I started and it looks like 2014 is going to be better still.

    - Lots of Opportunity: Don't like what you're working on at the moment? Just let your lead know, there are lots of different types of work to be done here and lots of teams to do it on.

    - Guild Wars 2: GW2 is the fastest growing MMO in history. One of things I was looking for before I joined Arena Net was a place that would be STABLE above all else. GW2 is a huge anchor.

    - Talent: There's LOTS of talented people here. If you're looking for a place to learn, grow, and be challenged this is a great place to do just that.

    - Culture: ArenaNet is very generous with celebrating our victories, rewarding the entire team, and making sure we all feel like we're part of the family. Whether it's the entire company going out to a movie or an afternoon mixer after a succesful release, ArenaNet likes to treat their employees well. Also - the studio is gorgeous! Easily the most beautiful studio I've ever seen, let alone work in.

    ConsThere are cons working just about anywhere and different people will have different problems no matter where they go. So my list of "cons" are more FYI's than Cons

    - If you're looking for a small studio, this is not that. ArenaNet employees lots of people. Granted, we're broken down into smaller, empowered teams so even if you don't like the large group you can find a small team bubble to call home.

    - We are a LIVE game environment: Again, just another FYI and not really a con since having a money making game is a HUGE Pro, you should know that we have a live game going with releases coming out every two weeks. That means the pressure is always on to make sure we all hit our deadlines. The team agrees to the work we're asked to do and actually plans and scopes it themselves, but its something to be aware of.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep that spirit of willingness to improve any system, team, or process! It's served us well so far!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Quickly going downhill.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Bellevue, WA

    Pros* The atmosphere, community and culture here is amazing. Lots of company events and stuff.

    * You will work alongside some of the most talented, creative and friendly people you'll ever meet.

    * The product, Guild Wars 2, is a great game.

    * Always a chance to work OT. As an hourly contract worker, this is nice.

    Cons* Low wages.

    * Contract workers are treated poorly, especially considering how they were treated one year before.

    * A revolving door, especially with contract workers, means the loss of tribal knowledge. This leads to the same mistakes being made over and over again.

    * Poor communication between teams, although I do feel like this is improving.

    * Upwards mobility is quickly declining. QA testers were given the opportunity to assist with minor design work before, and that has been revoked.

    * QA embeds seem to do a substantial amount of work, compared to other QA workers, yet receive the same compensation and are not given full time status. Once their contract ends, a vast amount of knowledge is lost.

    * The leads feel somewhat cliquey, and tend to not associate with their subordinates. This wasn't always the case.

    * Some, not all, directors seem callous and downright rude. There are many complaints of verbal abuse and harassment from one director in particular.

    * Design teams often neglect community and QA feedback.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDo not forget your roots! ArenaNet was a great place to work before - QA was an essential part of your success, and many of your current designers and programmers were locally grown. Please remember that by fostering growth from within, you are likely to create much more loyalty.

    Please consider taking a deeper look into the unfair treatment, and harassment accusations that plague a specific department. Good people have left already and more are leaving simply because of the way they are being treated.

    Be more receptive to feedback.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Middle of the road company

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Bellevue, WA

    ProsGreat people to work with.

    Company culture is positive.

    Great office.

    Good snacks.

    Monthly company outings.

    Work/Life balance is good.

    ConsOn-boarding processes are a mess. VERY sink or swim type of place.

    No processes in place for most things other than builds. While this is improving, it is much worse compared to other companies I have worked for in the past.

    Compensation is low compared to other places (but so is the crunch time).

    Do not have the resources they need when it comes to certain roles. Mostly programming.

    Very cliquey within teams.

    Changes seem to be based on a person's feeling at that moment in time, and knee jerk reactions seem to come out of those split second decisions.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSpend some time on Documentation and process - stop trying to shove as much stuff in there in at the end just under deadline and then continue to barrel forward. Stop, reflect and document so others can learn from the mistakes that were made.

    Figure out what resources teams really need.

    Pay more competitively and in line with other similar companies that are local.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Best company I've ever worked at!

    (Current Employee) Bellevue, WA

    ProsThe culture here is awesome. Very family like! The worklife balance is great as our President "Mo" believes that you should not have crunch mode if you plan correctly. I've been in the workforce for over 10 years now and have not been to a company as great as this. I hope to stay here a longtime!

    ConsI don't have any Cons. I could make some up, but I really just don't have any.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep up the great work! This studio has a great future!!!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • No Opinion of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Went downhill

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsSomewhat engaging environment. Family type feeling. Everyone was made to feel like a team member.

    ConsThe definition of disparity between the 1% and 99%. A handful of people have all of the power and don't listen to anyone. They work everyone like mules and live off past successes.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet your ducks in a row. Make a game plan before trying to execute. Stop pointing fingers and start accepting responsibility! It all starts from the top!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • No Opinion of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Talented group of developers, political environment

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Bellevue, WA

    ProsTalented employees and quality product.

    ConsPolitically driven and chaotic environment, salaries on the low end.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Good ambition, mediocre leadership

    QA Tester (Current Employee) Bellevue, WA

    ProsGreat for learning the ropes in the games industry. Tremendous people to work with. Great access to the ins-and-outs of the development pipeline.

    ConsPoor pay. Poor leadership. Many, many mangers, all with differing visions/opinions. Losing company culture to big business.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHave a plan to place personnel in correct positions and stick with your plan. Pay competitively.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    9 people found this helpful  

    Waves of good and bad

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Bellevue, WA

    Pros• Sharing information.
    • Fun people who like what they do.
    • Good product.
    • Reasonable/flexible work hours.
    • Positive environment.
    • Open door policy with management.
    • Free snacks/drinks.
    • Parties/Events provided.
    • Physical security.
    • Gym access available.
    • Game room on premises.
    • Small library with book requests.
    • Additional resources on network drives.
    • Order takeout.
    • Good strides to legitimize e-sports.

    Cons• Most of the other veterans have left the company and many are still leaving.
    • Limited growth.
    • Shady management.
    • Heavy office politics and cliquey groups.
    • Inconsistent policies because of a long standing transitional phase.
    • Poor inter-departmental communications/strategies.
    • Coordination is hectic and often patchwork.
    • Poor or inconsistent documentation if any.
    • Multiple platforms for documentation that can be difficult to find.
    • Often unclear standards in work.
    • You may be in meetings for days at a time.
    • Limited leadership. With the loss of the former two founders leadership has yet to be filled.
    • Poor compensation packages when compared to competitors.
    • Limited pay when compared to industry standard.
    • Profit shares were not worth much.
    • Poor commute compensation.
    • No name in the credits for helping to create the game.
    • Suggestions are overlooked until it is critical.
    • Pets are not welcome.
    • ArenaNet only makes Guild Wars. Don't even bother with different game genres if you don't like fantasy MMOs. I suspect that is one of the reasons why one of the founders started a new company.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWhile AnetU and basecamp (training) is helpful, it is comparable to placing band-aids on a missing finger.

    If you want us to design amazing material it will take a significant amount of time to execute without a clear breakdown of the project tasks. We either need additional time or people to complete tasks within designated times.

    Get an integrated bug/portfolio project management software suite: Basecamp, Zoho projects, 5pm, or Huddle, or Clarizen.

    Aside from the Art, Sound, and Customer Service departments most are departments very busy with high stress.
    QA department has high turnovers and contractors which has led to documentation getting lost in the cracks.
    HR is in desperate need for additional recruiting.
    Marketing needs a way larger budget. Most of my friends or family never heard of a ArenaNet nor Guild Wars before I worked there.
    Sound department is tiny. Practically a closet.
    Stop outsourcing. It is a pain to fix.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Fosters development of skills and supports innovative ideas and thinking

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Bellevue, WA

    ProsArenanet University - Learn on the job from your co-workers!
    Recognizes and acknowledges talent to peers
    Provides opportunities to grow and to get into design/art from QA.

    ConsQA - Limited in their ability to hire people on full-time
    QA - Limited in their ability to reward excellence with wage increases
    No path into other departments other than those listed in the pros.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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