ArenaNet Reviews

Updated February 17, 2015
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  1. 1 person found this helpful

    My personal experience: great company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Content Designer in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Content Designer in Bellevue, WA

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful

    The Real McCoy

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Programmer in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Programmer in Bellevue, WA

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. Simply a great company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Team Lead in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Team Lead in Bellevue, WA

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. Best company ever since over 12 years in CG industry.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Character Artist in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Character Artist in Bellevue, WA

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful

    Very satisfying

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor

    I have been working at ArenaNet as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    I've been working at ArenaNet as a contract worker for less than a year

    -Great culture

    -Some of the friendliest people I've ever had the pleasure to work with

    -Free snacks

    -Great work/life balance

    -I REALLY appreciate the fact that ArenaNet seem to close the gap between contract and FTE quite a bit compared to other places I've worked.

    Cons

    There are two main issues I have:

    -Considering the workflow at ArenaNet, I'm not entirely sure why they still have contract QA positions. ArenaNet, with its releases every two weeks, always have work to be doing. Why send employees packing?

    -A number of reviews mentioned that the wage is lower than the rest of the industry. With that in mind, having to pay to park on-site was a bit of a bummer.

    -The new hire training is a little dodgy at the moment. While it sounds like it's improved A LOT from the way it was previously, it is still a quite a bit of sink-or-swim type of process. On top of that, the way documentation was done previously seemed to not be standardized and this led to a lot of information being passed around as tribal knowledge.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -If the budget permits, I'd like to see less contract positions.

    -Better documentation standardization

    -More comprehensive training

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful

    Passionate team, welcoming work environment, great company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    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 ManagementAdvice

    * 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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. A+

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor

    I have been working at ArenaNet as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    Work life balance is great. I've only ever worked OT by my own decision, and it was only a handful of times. It isn't the "crunch hell" that you would expect, even when we are pumping out 2 week releases.

    Contract employees are treated very well relative to other employers. Any special perks or presents of fun events are always very open to contract people.

    Cons

    There's quite a bit of tribal knowledge here, so being new is hard. Once you are past being "new" though, it is very rewarding.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful

    Only getting better

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Intern in Bellevue, WA
    Current Intern - Intern in Bellevue, WA

    I have been working at ArenaNet as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Transparency throughout the entire company.
    Strong core values.
    Forward thinking flexible workplace.
    Interns are given many of the same benefits as full time employees.

    Cons

    Some growing pains from growing so large and restructuring so quickly.
    Disorganized between upper management and workers

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Manager in Bellevue, WA

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful

    Quickly going downhill.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Bellevue, WA
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Bellevue, WA

    I have been working at ArenaNet as a contractor (more than a year)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    Do 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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