ArenaNet - Great Place to Grow | Glassdoor
There are newer employer reviews for ArenaNet
There are newer employer reviews for ArenaNet

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Helpful (4)

"Great Place to Grow"

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Former Employee - Game Designer in Bellevue, WA
Former Employee - Game Designer in Bellevue, WA
Recommends
Neutral Outlook
Approves of CEO

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

Pros

ArenaNet is a fantastic place for young, talented, and passionate people to work in a fun, fast-paced environment.

Cons

Management is disorganized and overworked. The pay low compared to industry average.

Advice to Management

Don't let your talent leave for better pay elsewhere. Instead of promoting the best engineers or designers to leadership roles, just compensate them better and let them be productive for you. I've seen too many talented individuals leave because of money (myself included) to other places.

Other Employee Reviews for ArenaNet

  1. Helpful (7)

    "Unforgettable experience, incredible coworkers, and overall disappointment in management."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - QA - Embed in Bellevue, WA
    Former Contractor - QA - Embed in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at ArenaNet as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Incredibly talented and dedicated developers
    -Strong and sustainable product with the Guild Wars franchise
    -Mostly independent of publisher interference due to fiscal success with products
    -Very relaxed and comfortable work environment, nice office space, no cubicles, overall pleasing aesthetic
    -Nice location in the Greater Seattle area
    -Aggressive release schedule, resulting in stable and consistent work
    -Company always has a long term plan and release schedule, which is communicated to the employees
    -Management shares stats and monetary successes or failures of the product to the employees
    -Community teams are amazing at communicating with the players and overall fan base
    -Management is not afraid to green light fun, unique, and interesting content that the player base usually enjoys immensely
    -Overall strong and consistent sense of direction with the current product, which is clearly communicated to the employees and player base
    -Clear vision and understanding of MMO business models, particularly with monetization strategies

    Cons

    -Conflicting management teams that don’t always communicate effectively horizontally or vertically
    -Overall attempts to practice agile development, but consistently missing the mark
    -Frequent mismanagement of resources, especially with programmers
    -Compensation for all disciplines is not competitive, especially considering the region
    -Lack of communication between development teams, results in unexpected crunch time, unnecessary work, and down time
    -Production does not consistently plan for downtime in their estimates and schedules
    -Code/Content approval can be severely slowed down due to a somewhat chaotic and inconsistent review process
    -Too many "single points of failure" in staffing for specific disciplines. (i.e. a single network engineer for a very large project)
    -New teams/projects sometimes fail to take lessons from past post mortems or projects and repeat the same mistakes (i.e. repeating similar build process/work flows that were proved to be inefficient in past development)
    -Feature team sprint planning retrospectives appear to be ignored or very slow in being acknowledged
    -Management frequently allows for feature creep to become a problem
    -Extensive use of “contracted” employees when there is more than enough workload to justify more FTE positions, particularly in QA
    -Recent removal of the QA department to a third party agency poses a severe threat to studio culture and the pre-existing dynamic of hiring/mentoring from within (Good portion of design and production started as QA)

    Advice to Management

    There are two key points that need to be addressed. With so many moving parts within the studio, communication and better standards of development need to be established. This is particularly the case as teams are usually working on code/content that effect one another, but they are rarely aware until the last possible minute which usually results in overtime, and unnecessarily risky development.

    Lastly, the recent move to offload the entire QA department to a third party agency is undeniably an unhealthy move in regards to the studio culture and the pre-existing dynamic of mentoring/hiring young developers and producers from within. This is often referred to as “cutting off the hand that feeds” in this scenario. There will be a trickledown effect that will likely become visible six months to a year after making this move. There will most likely be an extremely high churn/turnover rate due to a lack of competitive wages and exposure to the studio environment. This will increase development costs due to new QA constantly being trained which will slow down the product workflow. The company will also likely be forced to hire more developers from external sources over time, which will also drive up costs, as they will likely require better wages, and will naturally have a training or product/tool familiarization downtime period.

    On paper this might look good, but in time the company will start incurring heavier recruitment costs, and QA training/retention costs. This will particularly be the case if the company wishes to keep the aggressive development pace that has been the standard.

    -Best of luck


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Great people and projects. Disappointing opportunities."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - QA Tester in Bellevue, WA
    Current Contractor - QA Tester in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    Droves of talented, passionate and hard working people.
    Lots of projects to be involved with.
    Stocked kitchen.
    Very friendly and welcoming teams.

    Cons

    If you are a very experienced tester or just very familiar with Guild Wars 2 you may feel unchallenged by the work.
    Tools and training are very context specific. Not much of what you learn carries over to other studios' projects.
    If you have technical skill or experience you aren't likely to be utilized for it.
    Despite the welcoming atmosphere there is still a strong and very noticeable resistance to a contractor's input.
    Pay is extremely low for this industry.

    Advice to Management

    Guild Wars 2 is a relatively complex game but the testers brought in for certain positions are obviously unqualified for their tasks. Serious efforts have been made to document procedure and train new hires but by the time a new tester has a grasp of everything they need to be effective they quit or their contract ends.

    The qualifications for the testing positions need to be much higher because a lot of valuable time wasted on training. The pay needs to be better since the work load and skill set is much higher than other studios paying more. The 12 month contract need to go since the projects are part of a continuous development for a living game. There needs to be motivation for a senior tester to return but there can't be if they know their skills and experience are not valued by the studio.

There are newer employer reviews for ArenaNet
There are newer employer reviews for ArenaNet

See Most Recent

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