ArenaNet Reviews | Glassdoor

ArenaNet Reviews

Updated July 19, 2017
77 reviews

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3.5
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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. "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.


  2. "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.

  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 (5)

    "Filled with "Yes" Men"

    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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    There are some passionate people here, and some truly great people. Few of them are also good at their jobs as well as being passionate and great, but you can make some awesome friends.

    Work life balance is great for almost everyone with studio hours, just do your 8 hours and be in the office between 10-4... except for the large group of people that only come in from 10-4 and take a 2 hour lunch.

    Cons

    Upper management is run by Yes men. Deadlines don't mean anything, good for you if you're always late because you won't get any adverse action taken or be fired. Bad because the game has slid in quality and stability. Every team has a different process, making it hard to move between teams or to figure out what is going on with the entire project. There is a lot of blame slinging and service teams such as marketing, QA, and CS get all of the blame.

    CEO is a great person but is either in over his head or just doesn't care to hear anything that isn't positive. QA was cut by over 75% and designers were told to test their own content. Scapegoating is rampant and you're constantly told to shut up. Amazing people leave because there is no growth, 2-4 people weekly since before expansion launch.

    Some bad eggs are kicked out but if you can be enough of a "Yes Man" you can rise up and be given a lot of leadership.

    Pay is a joke compared to the area and the industry. Part of the local industry chat is that you're expected to do twice as much for half the pay. Management tells you to factor your profit sharing into your salary, but it is at least 3 years before you're eligible for a payout and then when you can't pay your bills management tells you not to expect to get profit sharing payouts.

    Advice to Management

    Deal with reality and get rid of your yes men before your company goes under. Maybe it won't be too late. Solve the core development problems instead of just getting rid of the problems it creates at the end by cutting corners.


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