ArenaNet Reviews | Glassdoor

ArenaNet Reviews

Updated July 19, 2017
77 reviews

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3.4
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ArenaNet Co-Founder & President Mike O'Brien
Mike O'Brien
52 Ratings

77 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work-life balance (even in crunch times) (in 24 reviews)

  • The usual game company amenities such as free snacks, beverages, gym (in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • The upper management is old and set in their ways (in 15 reviews)

  • The pay low compared to industry average (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Amazing studio, but some organizational struggles"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Programmer in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Lead Programmer in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Art, programming teams are among the best in the business

    Cons

    Management has a hard time focusing, and it can be hard to get resources/attention for worthwhile projects.

    Advice to Management

    Focus more, and trust the folks doing the work. Not everything needs to be micro-managed, that's why you hire adults.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Good culture, bad managers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The employees are nice and fun to work with. The social atmosphere is relatively relaxed for games.

    Cons

    The upper management is old and set in their ways. A few technically competent, but managerially incompetent people got promoted to director and it makes the professional atmosphere unstable.

    Advice to Management

    Reevaluate the senior staff. Be more discerning in hiring or be more willing to fire dead weight.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Start looking!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Free snacks and soda and company giveaways; location is good; benefits are good compared to my girlfriends company but need better 401k match; food truck is nice to have

    Cons

    Be prepared for zero profit sharing payout next 3 years; losing directors to Amazon because pay sucks HR is not proactive. No idea what career development means. Mass exodus soon if there is no backup plan. Should not spend so much money on a holiday party and start giving to employees not everyone likes to go to parties.

    Advice to Management

    Look at your pay practices not competitive people do leave for compensation. Bad management practices too so start looking at decisions being made carefully


  4. "Excellent benefits, mediocre compensation."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Game Designer in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Game Designer in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    They really care about their employees. They truly want you to love working there and be happy. All roles are very stable(AFAIK there's never been any layoffs in 10+ years). Culture is friendly and supportive.

    Cons

    Compensation is mediocre, especially for designers and artists. Benefits are excellent, but salaries leave much to be desired.

    Company seems, in some ways, stagnant. Financially they're stable, but the chance to work on exciting new stuff is limited.

    Advice to Management

    The best work we've put out has come from driven individuals trying to surpass expectations. Focus more on cultivating a work environment which encourages people to try new things, and make sure they have access to the resources to let them do that. Frequently stuff is too compartmentalized with top-down directives limiting what people can attempt.


  5. "ArenaNet is a great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Work environment (cool studio, kitchen with free snacks and drinks)
    - Work-life balance (even in crunch times)
    - Benefits (great insurance, provides medical, dental, vision, life)
    - Management trusts their employees to do a great job without micro-management (Trust but verify)
    - The game is at the core of the company's decision-making structure; everyone is dedicated to making the greatest game possible, all the way to the top of the org
    - Teams and individuals' opinions and input matter
    - Everyone loves what they do, and it shows
    - Flat organizational structure

    Cons

    - Pay is somewhat low compared to industry and locale
    - Flat organizational structure (also listed as a pro), which can sometimes mean it's hard to move up and new responsibilities don't necessarily mean more pay

    Advice to Management

    Keep focus on making the greatest games possible (like you already are) and ArenaNet will continue to put out some of the highest quality titles in the industry.


  6. "Anet"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time

    Pros

    Relaxing place to work at. It isn't stressful really ever.

    Cons

    Day to day work kinda feels slow some times.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Great please to work at and grow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Super chill place to work at and I haven't met a person that wasn't friendly

    Free snakes and drinks, lunch orders are cheap too (no tax or tip) lol

    Free ArenaNet classes for everyone ranging from management, life drawing to learn new tools

    Weekly team meetings and monthly ArenaNet meetings are always a Big Plus!

    Cons

    Relocating people's desk isn't that big of an issue like most people make it out to be.

    The art team could use better hardware.

  8. "great place to work."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    work and life balance
    great opportunity for career building
    working with talented people, friendly environment

    Cons

    have to pay for own parking, low pay


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Keep on Keeping"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Fantastic culture, opportunities to learn, teach and be involved with other teams. Gorgeous studio with free snacks available. Lunch can be delivered by ordering in the morning taking out the hassle of eating midday. Building has a gym and cafe in it. Decent healthcare benefits. Profit sharing benefit. Flat company hierarchy. Founder and VP are approachable, and invested, a lot of management mirror this leadership style. They strive for a good work/life balance and take care of you if you choose to go above and beyond when needed. Monthly free salad bars started recently. Transparency into things happening at the studio. HR/IT teams really go out of their way to ensure you are comfortable while you are working.

    Cons

    Paid parking (currently ~$60), 401k match is low, doesn't have some of the perks of other places such as paid company-wide travel trips or masseuses. The sick pto is tied to standard pto. Not all holidays are observed which is hard on parents, but great during winter holiday break. As a company based on iteration, there is a lot of change to help do better which can be hard on some that get set in their ways. Multiple teams on major projects can result in communication breakdowns across teams or individuals.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in SIGs, aid leaders in ensuring team members are working on teams/projects that make the individuals happy. Keep being transparent and showing us that you work as hard as us.


  10. Helpful (12)

    "So Damn Close to a Dream Job."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time

    Pros

    Work/Life balance is the big winner at ANet. I have plenty of time to spend with friends, family, hobbies, or other ventures without any need to use PTO to fit these into my life. My schedule is my own and I'm trusted to get my work done - no micro-managing of hours has ever taken place for myself nor anyone that I work closely with. All hands are required to work 'core hours' from 10a to 4p and can allocate the rest of their hours as they see fit (start early - leave early or start late - leave late). This is immensely helpful when dealing with Seattle's horrendous traffic.

    Other pluses are pretty standard for the industry. Relaxed workplace and culture leads to allowing people be who they are. You can work in jeans, shorts, or a suit. It's up to you. Pants are required; blue hair is optional.

    Kids are often seen in the company game room; along with the guys practicing for a Street Fighter tourney or a great round of MTG following each new release.

    Benefits are top notch with two buy in levels available to match your needs (I've seen very few packages this good).

    Teams within ArenaNet are generally very close-knit and are very quick to protect and guide other members of their team.

    Cons

    Pay at ANet is one of the biggest challenges. Seattle/Bellevue are quickly becoming one of the most expensive places to buy and rent. A 3 bed single-family home within the county averages $2400 month and most require 3x monthly salary for approval. Rents drop to a more reasonable $1500 to $1900 in Pierce county; but carries with it 3 hours of commuting round-trip. You should very carefully plan your budget before accepting a position with ANet as the salaries are considered low for the industry; and in my experience very low for the area. Considering the increased cost of living for the Greater Seattle area and ArenaNet paying similar salaries as those found in lesser developed regions; some have found themselves taking a financial loss when accepting a position.

    Applicants that are single with no pets find living arrangements much easier as room-for-rent listings are abundant in the area. These rooms range wildly from $600 to $1600 per month.

    Another challenge facing employees is a lack of growth potential coupled with a marked absence of performance improvement; performance reviews; and opportunity to practice higher-management skills. Entry level managers generally stay entry-level; and so goes the same for all levels.

    I've talked to many people after they've given notice to term employment (dozens) who have all cited pay and lack of growth potential as reasons for leaving. Many of those same people also cite poor management - both in company direction (i.e. strategy, use of funds, goals) and in team and people management.

    Advice to Management

    Spin up a team to work on people development. This is a gaping hole within ArenaNet. There is untapped talent in the ranks and extreme talent leaving for larger studios. Keeping them should be a priority in order to support the companies' current goals. Losing talent when there are seats to fill is counter productive and costly.

    Consider leadership roles for the company and keep them free of tasks. Leaders are needed to motivate and inspire and my teams could only think of 3 people doing this - and 2 of them aren't in leadership positions.

    Remember; leaders aren't necessarily managers and managers aren't necessarily leaders. Keep the two separate if needed.


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