ArenaNet Reviews | Glassdoor

ArenaNet Reviews

Updated July 19, 2017
77 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. Helpful (10)

    "Massive Potential Talents Wasted by Management "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
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time

    Pros

    ArenaNet has some of the best and most creative people that put in a maximum amount of effort. The collaborative effort that exists in tackling issues and problems is next to none.

    Like any game company, times can get rough around crunch time, ArenaNet is no different. However during all other times ArenaNet has the most flexible stance when it comes to your schedule. Work/Live balance (while not on a release deadline) can be fantastic.

    Perks are slightly sub par for the area, however candidates looking to move to the area from other areas may find that they are very below what other companies may offer in other parts of the country.

    The ArenaNet brand is strong, as not many can say that we still run a successful MMORPG.

    Cons

    Advancing at ArenaNet is mostly done through feudal succession. There is no vertical mobility, performance reviews are heavily ignored, and almost no room for expansion as the company refused to expand for years.

    While the company has refused to expand, it has also refused to replace lost talent, opting to rely on current staff to pick up the extra work. Some teams can accommodate it, some can not, and it becomes apparent in the quality of the product.

    Normally this is where management would come in, unfortunately this is where ArenaNet has it's largest problem. Normal and Senior Level management seems to be constantly in a battle between each other on which one can make their team make them look better at the expense of their own team's longevity. This causes burnout and mistrust which has lead to a revolving door of talent.

    Some very long term employees and upper management seem to be kept around regardless of their performance or usefulness while their rule is law. Firing of employees based on performance is very rare, and normally only occurs when you have upset one of these people.

    Advice to Management

    You have great talent being stifled and suffocated by current management that is lacking in non personal growth vision. Most teams are saying one thing, while their managers are reporting another to leadership. Trust has been lost over the last few years because a few key individuals are trying to pull the wheel in the opposite direction of company success.

    Hold on to your talent, be competitive with your salaries and bonuses. ArenaNet refuses to counter offer, this needs to change. Step up, take action, and make it visible.

    It's a leader's job to say no when they feel it's the right decision and will hurt their team. Too many are currently saying yes to everything and the cost should be apparent.


  2. 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.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Great place with great people"

    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

    Overall, the team is amazing. Everyone truly believes in the work they are doing as well as cultivating the relationship with players and fans. Making MMOs is very challenging, and few companies have any measurable long term success. The fact that AN is one of the few companies in the Wester Hemisphere that's been able to do it for so long says a lot about the people making the game.

    Cons

    Sometimes I wished there was a little less hesitance to fully get behind new ideas. The company is large and has a lot of talent, but often chooses to chug along with the status quo for a little too long.

    Advice to Management

    Be bolder when making choices about the future of the company. Don't just bank on one game forever.


  4. Helpful (10)

    "Tough workplace"

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

    Pros

    Creative environment, free snacks in the office

    Cons

    Cut-throat! Toxic, non-collaborative. Tough environment to work.


  5. Helpful (10)

    "Nice studio and improving"

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

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

    Pros

    * Excellent tech and decent tools
    * Very enthusiastic, smart and knowledgeable team
    * Emphasis on sane work-life balance
    * Projects reflect forward thinking in design and planning
    * Highly collaborative environment
    * Strong business analytics support
    * Nice office with good road access
    * Reasonable core hours with flexible work schedules
    * Good communication channels available with fans

    Cons

    * Large spread out team can lead offers communication challenges
    * A bit green in some departments - can lead to scheduling concerns etc
    * Few local lunch options but food trucks and lunch orders (with two options) are a thin
    * Task tracking software is awful but may soon see an upgrade
    * Proprietary toolset is ok but not great
    * Local jargon is a bit odd and not aligned with industry standards


  6. Helpful (18)

    "Good environment, great staff, poor leadership"

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Very talented and energetic staff, good health benefits, fun work environment, great product. Good creative collaboration and professional willingness to go the extra mile.

    Cons

    Chronic understaffing, unreasonably ambitious schedules and product development cycles. Steady increase in number and scope of projects, and in quality expectations, but no increase in staff. Low end of salary range compared to industry standard, even with profit sharing. Poor communication between executive management, production, and work teams.

    Advice to Management

    You need more talented people overall to achieve the results you want. You can't attract or retain the necessary talent with salaries at their current level.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Great culture, great people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    Pros

    flat hierarchy, smart and friendly folks, no crunching, somewhat flexible hours

    Cons

    not sure as of now

  8. Helpful (9)

    "Rewarding work experience, but poor work/life balance"

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

    Pros

    Great coworkers. Working in game development can be fun and rewarding. Room for advancement if you're willing to put in enough extra hours.

    Cons

    Pay is not very good. You will work a lot of overtime: if you're hourly, lucky you, if not, then you best love what you're doing at work since you'll be doing a lot of it.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Good place to work at."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    The company overall is solid. There's plenty of smart intelligent people to mingle with. The art teams are some of the best in the industry.

    Cons

    The pay is fair, in order to rise to the top you have to stand out from everyone else on your team. Most of the snacks are unhealthy, Not enough sick days, Most of the artist are lazy when it comes to personal work.


  10. Helpful (14)

    "A fading star"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Amazing high quality tech and people. You generally leave every day smarter than when you came in. Compensation isnt the top or bottom of the scale - its fair.

    Cons

    Management is making an escalating series of bad decisions which is straining the morale of the company and compromising prospects for the future.

    Advice to Management

    Reputation doesnt build your future - people do. Get the right ones and keep them. If that isn't happening then the status quo is not okay and must change


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