ArenaNet Reviews

Updated July 31, 2015
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58 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (5)

    Wonderful company, experience varies wildly depending on where you land.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at ArenaNet full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Pay can be competitive depending on role Well stocked kitchen Fun game room Good PTO/holiday policy Lot of smart people work there

    Cons

    ArenaNet does not train people. That's an actual quote from upper management. You're left to flounder as a new employee and you will receive no feedback at all from your supervisor if you are not meeting his/her expectations. "Management" as it were, is lacking (absent). Since my first day at ArenaNet I never felt guided, instructed, developed or supported. It was a growing experience to be sure but as far as I can tell, management simply can't be bothered to support their team. As others have stated and as continues to be the case, this is very much a "sink or swim" company and they don't seem to care which it is. They don't care about your success because they don't work to further it, and they don't care if you fail because no one will ever step in to help you. You're utterly alone, have no misconceptions about this.

    Advice to Management

    You (management) exist for one sole purpose, and that is to enable your team. That's it- that's you're entire role in a nutshell. Anytime you're not working to enable and unblock your team, you're underperforming. Employee development is key to a successful company, and employees that are not developed will walk right out the front door with all their knowledge. Management need to actually *be* managers instead of simply shirking those duties they find unsuited to their sensibilities.


  2. Helpful (3)

    Great work environment, but poor strategic alignment and focus.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Game Designer in Bellevue, WA
    Former Employee - Game Designer in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at ArenaNet full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    People are creative and desire collaboration, not a lot of needless red tape or superfluous process. Interest to do something different and great place to work with excellent craftsmen.

    Cons

    Very little hunger and need for excellence in some departments. Highly fragmented and craft oriented (as opposed to valuing good product creation). Disconnected with customers and players overall.

    Advice to Management

    Senior management needs a leadership team to divide the enormous task of getting the right values in place and aligning effort around the right goals. While cordial and intelligent, the company has a hard time aligning on the same objectives.


  3. Helpful (2)

    The happiest I've been at a company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Junior Artist in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Junior Artist in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Great People -Fun environment -Great Project -Full benefits -No Crunch -Beautiful Building and area -Stable

    Cons

    -Weird politics over headcount (so some teams are understaffed) -Not great documentation or task tracking but these issues are improving -Paid parking -unhealthy snacks


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  5. Helpful (1)

    My personal experience: great company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Content Designer in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Content Designer in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Great HR team--I have various medical issues and they're very accomodating - Wonderful people to work with - Reasonable scheduling and work/life balance

    Cons

    - Lots of tribal knowledge - Unfortunate "sink or swim" approach can overwhelm new folks - Too much short term contract work, at least in QA

    Advice to Management

    - Make a point of mentoring new hires - Written design standards/best practices might help with the tribal knowledge issue


  6. Helpful (2)

    The Real McCoy

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Programmer in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Programmer in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I didn't know jobs like this existed until I landed at ArenaNet! I've programmed here for nearly 7 years and it continues to be my dream job. -No crunch -Development is driven by passion not production milestones -Incredibly creative, laid-back and friendly work environment -Collaborative bottom-up development -Challenging problems to tackle. -Very flexible with work hours. -Egos are left at the door -Very clean and well organized code base with a strong code standard -Great studio with lots of great amenities(gym, snacks, drinks, game room, etc.) -Good benefits with profit sharing -Did I say no crunch?

    Cons

    Compared to everything I'm grateful for at ArenaNet my complaints feel pretty insignificant. -Very little documentation and heavy reliance on tribal knowledge -High expectations and challenging tasks can lead to "sink or swim" work environment -Requires passion and self-motivation to be successful -Poor on-boarding process -Compensation could be more competitive. -Paid parking

    Advice to Management

    Focus on providing clear direction and expectations while creating better communication across the studio. Figure out how to get new employees up to speed and better integrated into our culture sooner.


  7. Simply a great company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Team Lead in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Team Lead in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The video game industry is generally a mixed bag. ArenaNet manages to retain the good while avoiding most of the bad. There is a genuine concern about the welfare of the employees and work/life balance. The senior management works hard to be good managers. That means doing their jobs well so that crunch times, wasted effort, and band-aid development is kept to a minimum. The people here are fantastic. In the short time I've been here, I've formed lots of great friendships. We are motivated, smart, creative people who want to build an awesome game. It's a pleasure to work here.

    Cons

    We seriously need healthier snack food before we all become diabetic. Also, there is really no where around here that one can walk to for lunch. However, we do have a lunch ordering service so you don't have to drive somewhere unless you want to.

    Advice to Management

    Not to sound like a sycophant, but I've worked at numerous companies over many years and I've never seen a company that is as well run as this one. We need to work on some issues, but management is mostly aware of them and trying to address them.


  8. Best company ever since over 12 years in CG industry.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Character Artist in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Character Artist in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    ArenaNet treats employee greatly, keeping balance work and life for us nicely. ArenaNet University(inside of the company) provide various education actively for all employee who want to lean more or new.

    Cons

    All the events and environment for employee are well organized, people are so nice to help as needs. Also, schedule wise, I've been scheduled fair amount of time to finish my tasks, which is my favorite part of it.


  9. Helpful (2)

    Passionate team, welcoming work environment, great company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    * The company has a very friendly, welcoming, collaborative, passionate team-based work environment. It's a joy to work here, and you feel like you're working with genuinely good people. * Company is always striving for excellence. You get the feeling that everyone is fully dedicated to making the best product possible and fully committed to excellence in their disciplines. This company is always trying to move forward and to improve. * Because of the commitment to excellence, there's a feeling that feedback to improve the product or anything else is welcome from all levels, whether you're a new person or have been there for years. The vast majority of people at the upper levels of management are approachable and the open-door policy isn't something that's just on paper. * Great work-life balance. The company is very accommodating for people who have lives outside of the office or who need to take care of family issues or other personal issues during the work day. * People don't feel compelled to work long hours due to social pressure. * The company culture is generally welcoming to women, despite the company being probably 75% men. Issues that arise are taken seriously by management and by team members, and people act in a professional manner. Overall, there seems to be a distinct lack of the oppressive, "boys' club" culture that holds a lot of other game studios back and plagues the game industry as a whole. * The office itself is a comfortable place to work at and a wonderful physical space.

    Cons

    * There's the feeling that the company is divided into "haves" and "have-nots," despite some attempts to make all staff feel equal, like everyone getting a holiday gift, which have included PS4s, iPads, etc. Not everyone gets paid time-off or healthcare paid for by the company, and these benefits contribute to the work-life balance issue. Work-life balance is great for full-time workers, but contractors do not get paid time-off, so if they need to take time off to deal with family emergencies or health problems, they don't get paid. * The company loses a lot of talented and skilled individuals due to the system of temporary contract workers. After 12-month contracts expire, temporary contract staff need to take a 3-month break before coming back to work at the company. Most will not come back because they would rather find a job that will give them full-time employment. Most of the people affected by this system are QA people, but there are contractors in almost every department. * A few key people in higher positions are, in contrast to the rest of the company, difficult to work with, don't take feedback well, don't compromise much, and are sometimes exempted from policies that everyone else in the company have to follow. * Studio core culture and values are not communicated well to the company, and rapid growth over the past few years has contributed to this. * Staff is homogeneous. Most of the people who work are ArenaNet are young white men. This company has a long way to go in terms of diversity. However, with women represented in almost every department (from programming to QA), it feels like they're at least trying.

    Advice to Management

    * Seriously re-examine the restrictive system of temporary contract workers. This is one of the biggest detriments to the company, and the game industry as a whole, and the loss to the company in terms of engaged, talented, and skilled workers who want to contribute to the success of the company is huge. This system might make sense in dollars and cents, but there's something to be said for the intangible benefits. like tribal knowledge and having a strong sense of culture. Having this system doesn't make everyone feel like they're equally valued and it makes for a less close-knit company. * Make sure that all staff are required to adhere to the same policies by communicating those policies and making sure no one slips through the cracks due to position or tenure. * Step up efforts to increase staff diversity.


  10. Helpful (1)

    It's not all fun and games...well actually, it is all fun and games.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Manager in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Best place I've worked for. Smart people, inspiring leaders and a great product. It challenges me while inspiring me to do better.

    Cons

    Too many free snacks, cereal, candy, donuts, pizza and drinks...I've gained 5 lbs since I started and although we have a free healthclub on site I'm usually too busy in the gameroom to make it there. Also, everyone is just too nice...especially those 2 at the front desk...they must be up to something.

    Advice to Management

    If your goal was to create a great place to work with a bunch of smart people...you done good.


  11. Best video game company I've ever worked for.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Programmer in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Lead Programmer in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Very talented/creative/brilliant people. You will learn a lot working here Extremely well organized without too much production overhead Great work/life balance Awesome facilities Great profit sharing program Better than average benefits

    Cons

    Pay is a bit lower than other places, but this is somewhat offset with the profit sharing program. I also think that having to pay for parking is a little irksome, but it can be avoided.



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