ArenaNet

  www.arena.net
  www.arena.net
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1 person found this helpful  

Fun, fast-paced and variegated

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

I worked at ArenaNet full-time (less than an year)

Pros

Well managed teams, everyone is focused

Cons

Personality conflicts are deadly in a small team since there is no slack.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Keep it up!

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

57 Other Employee Reviews for ArenaNet (View Most Recent)

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  1. 7 people found this helpful  

    Unforgettable experience, incredible coworkers, and overall disappointment in management.

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

    I worked at ArenaNet as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    -Incredibly talented and dedicated developers
    -Strong and sustainable product with the Guild Wars franchise
    -Mostly independent of publisher interference due to fiscal success with products
    -Very relaxed and comfortable work environment, nice office space, no cubicles, overall pleasing aesthetic
    -Nice location in the Greater Seattle area
    -Aggressive release schedule, resulting in stable and consistent work
    -Company always has a long term plan and release schedule, which is communicated to the employees
    -Management shares stats and monetary successes or failures of the product to the employees
    -Community teams are amazing at communicating with the players and overall fan base
    -Management is not afraid to green light fun, unique, and interesting content that the player base usually enjoys immensely
    -Overall strong and consistent sense of direction with the current product, which is clearly communicated to the employees and player base
    -Clear vision and understanding of MMO business models, particularly with monetization strategies

    Cons

    -Conflicting management teams that don’t always communicate effectively horizontally or vertically
    -Overall attempts to practice agile development, but consistently missing the mark
    -Frequent mismanagement of resources, especially with programmers
    -Compensation for all disciplines is not competitive, especially considering the region
    -Lack of communication between development teams, results in unexpected crunch time, unnecessary work, and down time
    -Production does not consistently plan for downtime in their estimates and schedules
    -Code/Content approval can be severely slowed down due to a somewhat chaotic and inconsistent review process
    -Too many "single points of failure" in staffing for specific disciplines. (i.e. a single network engineer for a very large project)
    -New teams/projects sometimes fail to take lessons from past post mortems or projects and repeat the same mistakes (i.e. repeating similar build process/work flows that were proved to be inefficient in past development)
    -Feature team sprint planning retrospectives appear to be ignored or very slow in being acknowledged
    -Management frequently allows for feature creep to become a problem
    -Extensive use of “contracted” employees when there is more than enough workload to justify more FTE positions, particularly in QA
    -Recent removal of the QA department to a third party agency poses a severe threat to studio culture and the pre-existing dynamic of hiring/mentoring from within (Good portion of design and production started as QA)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There are two key points that need to be addressed. With so many moving parts within the studio, communication and better standards of development need to be established. This is particularly the case as teams are usually working on code/content that effect one another, but they are rarely aware until the last possible minute which usually results in overtime, and unnecessarily risky development.

    Lastly, the recent move to offload the entire QA department to a third party agency is undeniably an unhealthy move in regards to the studio culture and the pre-existing dynamic of mentoring/hiring young developers and producers from within. This is often referred to as “cutting off the hand that feeds” in this scenario. There will be a trickledown effect that will likely become visible six months to a year after making this move. There will most likely be an extremely high churn/turnover rate due to a lack of competitive wages and exposure to the studio environment. This will increase development costs due to new QA constantly being trained which will slow down the product workflow. The company will also likely be forced to hire more developers from external sources over time, which will also drive up costs, as they will likely require better wages, and will naturally have a training or product/tool familiarization downtime period.

    On paper this might look good, but in time the company will start incurring heavier recruitment costs, and QA training/retention costs. This will particularly be the case if the company wishes to keep the aggressive development pace that has been the standard.

    -Best of luck

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great Place to Grow

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

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

    Pros

    ArenaNet is a fantastic place for young, talented, and passionate people to work in a fun, fast-paced environment.

    Cons

    Management is disorganized and overworked. The pay low compared to industry average.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't let your talent leave for better pay elsewhere. Instead of promoting the best engineers or designers to leadership roles, just compensate them better and let them be productive for you. I've seen too many talented individuals leave because of money (myself included) to other places.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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