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1 person found this helpful  

Great place to work as a programmer.

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

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

Pros

- Excellent work-life balance. ArenaNet believes in quality of life for its employees and for most people, the office is mostly empty by 6-7 everyday. There are occasions when folks need to put in the hours (launch, big release days or other problems with the Live build), but these are not the norm.
- Great people to work with. Employees here are, in general, amazingly talented and very friendly.
- Realistic expectations of success and achievement for the company and for individuals.
- Totally transparent business goals and practices. Business numbers are shown to employees on regular basis. This lets employees feel more ownership on the success of the company.
- Profit sharing was handled in a fair and impressive way. All aspects of its calculation were disclosed to everybody and was tremendously fair and well-considered. The CEO (Mike Obrien) did not take any part of the profit sharing.
- As a programmer, there is no micro-management by non-programmers. Programmers are respected and trusted to do their job. Programming managers are other programmers. The CEO is a programmer himself (much of his code is still in our codebase!) so there seems to be an inherent value placed on programmers.
- Extremely good upward mobility. Many of the developers at ArenaNet started out as entry-level QA and quickly worked themselves up in the company in just a few years. Many people in leadership positions started their careers at ArenaNet.
- Fun events with the studio and good for the family.

Cons

- Less than competitive salaries for programmers for the Seattle area. However, the work-life balance more than makes up for this. I suspect that ArenaNet's strategy of hiring younger, more talented folks in the industry (many straight out of school), and training and promoting within, results in a suppression of salary for people that would otherwise make more money if they left.
- Another negative aspect of upward mobility and employee longevity is that many of the leadership at ArenaNet aren't experienced in other games, technologies, and processes.
- The size of the company sometimes seems to be unwieldy for the management. ArenaNet clearly started as a small company and has now grown to over 300 employees. However, many of the processes in place (content creation pipelines and non-work-related things) assume a much smaller company.

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

53 Other Employee Reviews for ArenaNet (View Most Recent)

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  1. 8 people found this helpful  

    Great people, bad upper management and very little opportunity for growth

    • 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

    Pros

    * Some of the most passionate and creative people in the industry
    * Great work space and location
    * Innovative in some aspects
    * Free snacks
    * Great game to work on
    * Family-friendly
    * Flexible hours for many

    Cons

    * HR is not great, but it's *sort of* improving. It is a big company, which means they don't spend time on individuals. If you become very sick or have a family emergency, don't expect any kind of sympathy whatsoever from the company. The ladies at the front desk are the only exception.
    * Chocolate fountains and champagne != morale boost. Most of the morale building events feel like band-aids rather than actual solutions.
    * Directors seem disconnected from the rest of the company and from the player base. Some more-so than others. They provide minimal guidance throughout the development process. They expect more, making you feel like you have to crunch but then once reviews come around they have no problem telling you to completely redo your work. This results in a lot of mandatory crunch.
    * They say there's no crunch, but that is simply not true. The scope of this company is ridiculous. They stretch their employees too thin, and act surprised when the content that is being put into the game is buggy or undesired. There are too many teams and too many releases.
    * The execution of the Agile environment has been poor. Most of the Producers do not provide enough guidance, and with overzealous developers this gets out of hand very quickly. We are individually expected to scope out our time, but with poor communication between teams it is hard to do this.
    * Contract employees that are incredible and go above and beyond are not appreciated. Opportunity for full-time or fair pay is pretty much non-existent.
    * Revolving door of employees. We've lost some of the best co-workers due to low wages and unwillingness to try to keep them.
    * Upper management seems to only focus on metrics.
    * Compensation is just horrible.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This company is not what it once was. It needs better compensation. You guys hype the company up like it's the end-all be-all, but there's very little substance to this anymore. The bi-weekly cadence has been tried and failed. It is killing your business. We're maintaining, yes, but having a graph that spikes but goes back down again feels pointless.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Friendly, collaborative workspace.

    • 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 an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    - Excellent corporate culture.
    - Friendly, welcoming on-boarding process.
    - Strong sense of community, and contribution to a greater whole.
    - Flexible work hours.
    - Great work/life balance.

    Cons

    - Salaries are a bit on the low end.
    - Interns & contractors aren't eligible for any benefits.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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