ArenaNet Reviews

Updated June 1, 2015
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48 Employee Reviews

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  1. A fantastic change of pace.

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  2. Excellent Game Studio!

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

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


  3. Helpful (2)

    Middle of the road company

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Best company I've ever worked at!

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

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


  6. Helpful (5)

    Went downhill

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

    I worked at ArenaNet full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    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!


  7. Helpful (3)

    Talented group of developers, political environment

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Talented employees and quality product.

    Cons

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


  8. Helpful (4)

    Good ambition, mediocre leadership

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

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Advice to Management

    Have a plan to place personnel in correct positions and stick with your plan. Pay competitively.


  9. Helpful (9)

    Waves of good and bad

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    While 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.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Fosters development of skills and supports innovative ideas and thinking

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Arenanet 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.

    Cons

    QA - 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.


  11. Helpful (2)

    Fun group of people, but extremely poor compensation.

    • 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

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

    Pros

    -Developers are generally a great group of people, fun to hang around and they actually care about making awesome games.

    -Generally very little (regular) overtime.

    -Benefits are great for full time employees.

    -Great entry place for QA Testers. With the high turnover of junior developer positions QA is frequently promoted to fill those spots if they have a basic understanding of the development tools.

    Cons

    -Terrible compensation. Keeps employees as Temporary Full Time with extremely low starting salaries ($28k-$33k). No benefits or overtime pay for many employees for multiple years.

    -Yearly raises felt only in line with cost of living increases. Does not combine well with poor starting salaries.

    -Full time employee compensation is poor with the caveat that a poorly defined "profit sharing" bonus compensates for this. No details on what to expect from this profit sharing are made known to employees, so there is no tangible correlation between units sold and compensation. It feels like magic hand waving to keep employees slightly happier despite poor compensation.

    -Many actions and benefits programs felt like they only existed to keep employees at the office as long as possible or within the company as long as possible.

    -Spending priorities felt more like they were intended to boost the companies image to press then provide for their employees.

    -A number of times it felt like management was more interested in sniping employees from other companies when it felt like there were team members that had been working at the company for years that deserved a promotion into the position.

    Advice to Management

    -Figure out how to properly compensate employees.

    -Provide actual details on the profit sharing system.

    -Look internally for talent first before running to other companies to fill positions.

    -Prioritize spending so employees benefit more, worry less about your image. Stop trying to one up Blizzard.



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