ArenaNet Reviews | Glassdoor

ArenaNet Reviews

Updated July 19, 2017
77 reviews

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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. Helpful (3)

    "Great place to experience gaming"

    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

    Pros

    The company has a cool vibe and energy. It has a great environment. Friendly and committed people. Lots of support from the HR team. Love the onboarding experience, New Hire Friday coffee, mentorship, daily opportunity to play the game, etc. So far so good.

    Cons

    LOTS going on every week. Sometimes it hard to know what is going on. Office layout can be a little confusing when trying to find a colleague. Still too new to evaluate adequately.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "The most incredible people"

    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

    Pros

    The environment is very open and transparent which is something you don't get at many companies. The CEO is insanely smart, humble and has solid goals and plans for the business. Everyone is very warm and welcoming. It is seriously the nicest group of people I've had the pleasure of working with in my fairly long career in games.

    Cons

    Have to pay for parking. :(

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work"

    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

    I've only been here a few months but I couldn't ask for a better job. They have flexible hours (core hours from 10 to 4) to help with the traffic. The environment is great, it feels open and collaborative and everyone has been really friendly. I feel that I have the opportunity to not only succeed at my own job but to learn and move to other opportunities within the company.

    Cons

    The building charges for parking, which is a huge bummer.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the communication and open feeling going, it's a novelty and it should continue


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Everyone Matters"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Open Floor-plan done right
    - Active HR team
    - Company Progress is shared openly
    - Dev or QA, you have an equal voice
    - Little to no red tape
    - Helpful Management
    - Daily mingling during lunch
    - Delivered Lunches

    Cons

    - Desks will move. Often.
    - Inter-Department information (Game Updates) keeps drying up

    Advice to Management

    A daily meeting of department heads (or representatives) to ensure everyone is on the same page for the project. Having a public calendar for the company where the daily meetings get tracked would prevent issues such as missed soft launches or similar.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Good place to work."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Programmer in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Programmer in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Challenging Technology build by great people. Excellent healthcare and other benefits. Diversity friendly with a higher than average percentage of women and LGBT people. Cool office space. General work-life balance (the office empties out around 6:30). A lot of people have been here a long time...a sign that people are happy here. Stable (no layoffs) which is rare in the industry.

    Cons

    Paid parking. The commute can be bad if you're in Seattle. The product has accrued some technical debt due to it's zero downtime goal. The office is a bit cramped given the number of people.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your people. And perhaps explore creating new IP (outside Guild Wars expansions).


  6. "Great company, fun atmosphere"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Everyone is really engaged in trying to make the best game possible. Feedback from everyone is accepted and acknowledged. The culture is inviting.

    Cons

    The only con I can think of is the 401k match is a lot lower than other places, both inside and outside the gaming industry.


  7. Helpful (11)

    "Great people, bad management"

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

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

    Pros

    ArenaNet is FULL of wonderful, creative, smart individuals who want to do great things. Lots of opportunity for training for future career growth. They have a great internship program, which includes training as well, and a tight, well-organized, and well-managed production team - one of the best in the biz.

    Cons

    With very few exceptions, ArenaNet's directors seem to be the blocker for getting anything done. No decision can be made without going through the CEO (Mike O'Brien), which creates an insurmountable amount of churn, wasted work, and sometimes complete confusion. Even the project that appears to be moving forward smoothly can be derailed at the last minute because the CEO changed his mind. Many of the ArenaNet old-timers (5 years+) refuse to change their ways, which makes progress and real change nearly impossible.

    There is little-to-no career growth opportunities at ArenaNet and women do not seem to be able to break through the glass ceiling. Even those women who are in director roles are not invited to the exclusive director's lunches that take place every week. The HR team has changed the way review processes work several times in the last few years, leading to confusion as to how you even get a pay raise.

    Advice to Management

    Create goals and objectives, then empower your teams create the plans necessary to achieve them.

  8. Helpful (11)

    "A once great place to work"

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time

    Pros

    While a lot of people have moved on there are still some great people and a product with real potential.

    Cons

    Anet had great potential at one time back when all three founders were running the show. Unfortunately two of the founders left to do other things, the lead designer was marginalized and the remaining founder seemed to have no interest in, or understanding of how the studio was run. Instead he brought in a series of executives to do it for him. The ones that weren’t simply “yes men” left pretty quickly. The rest did, and continue to do, a great deal of damage to an already dysfunctional environment.

    Artists are actively discouraged from collaborating with designers; designers are hugely under-paid and under-valued; teams are put in charge of delivering on huge amounts of content without the manpower they need; the current “agile” studio structure is a disaster being driven by people that have never actually produced game content. The China release was a huge failure in spite of some erroneous sales numbers that are floating around.

    Again, it was once a great place to work and could be again but it would take NCSoft coming in and cleaning house. Unfortunately they are too disconnected to know how to do it effectively.

    Advice to Management

    Advice to Mr. O’Brien: Stop listening to your “yes men” and politicians and get the pulse of your studio. You still have some quality people there but they spend most of their time working around the politicians and failed processes.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Great people, terrible management, worse directors."

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

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time

    Pros

    Work life balance tends towards the good, you don't need to crunch very much, if at all. The people here are often fantastic, dedicated, smart, and just awesome.

    Cons

    Management systematically ignores the advice of people to follow their own whims. The director level is incredibly detached from what it actually takes to create a good game. The studio is unable to settle on a direction and constantly changes what "The thing" is that is going to be the future. There is no clear vision of what makes a game good.

    It starts at the top and it is incredibly unlikely to change. Management like to get very involved in specific details rather than providing a goal and stepping back. There is no trust in the people employed or their ability. If you want to work somewhere where you decision making will constantly be questioned and overruled, you've found the right place.

    Advice to Management

    Stop getting involved in details. Stop driving away the talented people you have. Pay better. Trust your employees. And treat them like adults.


  10. Helpful (9)

    "Fading glory, uncertain times ahead"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at ArenaNet full-time

    Pros

    Amazing creative talent, and a real sense of pride in the game. Well connected with the community, though at times this lead to quick reactionary changes instead of proactive changes to the game. Overall a very nice office space, and some really talented people. Very supportive of LGBT employees.

    Cons

    Open work environment can be extremely noisy and distracting at times. Bad dynamic with directors that tend to lead to hostile interactions instead of approachable management. Especially with the QA department.

    Sink or swim environment that has led to a lot of turnover.

    Bad environment within the programming department, with a standoffish and isolated tools team, a core engine team disconnected from reality, and gameplay programmers often left without support. Fragile and convoluted codebase that makes it difficult to work in at times. Build resources seem highly constrained, leading to some long hours waiting on a build to be queued up and finish.

    Odd computer setup requiring two at every desk, and frequent failures. IT department seems overloaded and undertrained to support a game team. Many people just bypass them completly.

    Uncertain leadership, overburdened managers, and poor communication often causes people to shortcut the process, leading to more uncertainty and confusion.

    Wages are the typical low ones found in the games industry.

    Advice to Management

    Take time to address the problems instead of pushing so much priority on shipping. Be willing to fire bad managers and directors, instead of letting them lead to talent loss. Help the teams work together better, instead of allowing some teams to isolate themselves.


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