ArenaNet Reviews

Updated August 26, 2014
Updated August 26, 2014
53 Reviews
4.0
53 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
ArenaNet Co-Founder & President Mike O'Brien
Mike O'Brien
39 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Flexible work hours and understanding about work/life balance (in 11 reviews)

  • Very good work hours, for the artists at least (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • Unfortunate "sink or swim" approach can overwhelm new folks (in 6 reviews)

  • Most of the upper management seems disconnected from their employees and the customers (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Only getting better

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet as an intern for 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
  2. 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 for 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
  3.  

    A+

    • 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 as a contractor for 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
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  5.  

    Best video game company I've ever worked for.

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time for 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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    A fantastic change of pace.

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time

    Pros

    Fun 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.

    Cons

    Some 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 ManagementAdvice

    Contract 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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Excellent Game Studio!

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I'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.

    Cons

    There 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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Best company I've ever worked at!

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The 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!

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the great work! This studio has a great future!!!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Quickly going downhill.

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet as a contractor for 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
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Middle of the road company

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great people to work with.

    Company culture is positive.

    Great office.

    Good snacks.

    Monthly company outings.

    Work/Life balance is good.

    Cons

    On-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 ManagementAdvice

    Spend 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Went downhill

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

    I worked at ArenaNet full-time

    Pros

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

    Cons

    The 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 ManagementAdvice

    Get 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!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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