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Wizards of the Coast Employee Reviews about "d d"

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13 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (13)

    "Will look good on your resume when you apply somewhere else"

    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
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Wizards of the Coast full-time

    Pros

    Half-day Fridays for most employees, and a lot of free product. Frequent internal organized play events with catered food. On-site gym with subsidized personal trailers available to help you burn off the calories from free soda.

    Work with some incredibly talented individuals to build the games you love, which can be incredibly satisfying at first.

    Hasbro's benefits package is generous with 401k matching and other benefits, including three weeks vacation to start and unlimited sick time that doesn't come from your paid time off.

    You'll get free Hasbro movie screenings, and an occasional Disney movie.

    Cons

    There are little to no development opportunities for current employees. You will be over worked and underpaid. It's no secret that Wizards' salaries aren't competitive with the rest of the greater Seattle area. This will be a significant problem for you as real estate prices continue to rise to Bay-area levels and traffic only gets worse.

    Most management isn't out to help you succeed or grow. They're there to take credit for your talent and exploit your love for Magic and D&D. If you're not one of the 'good old boys' it will be extremely difficult to accomplish anything. Being a "yes" man and a brown-noser are the best ways to succeed at Wizards.

    There's a reason only employees who have been at Wizards for less than two years are happy.

    Advice to Management

    So long as you run an environment that fosters the rewards the mid-level managers and above for exploiting your employees and treating them like garbage you will continue to hemorrhage your best talent for Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and other Seattle tech.

    Take the charges of sexism and predatory managers seriously. It's happening, and it hurts the entire company when nothing is done.

    Changing your mind about business strategy every 6 months is a great way to waste your employee's time and effort, so you should stop doing that.

    Understand that Renton is close enough to Seattle that you need to actually pay your employees a competitive salary so they can buy a home and raise a family.


  2. Helpful (5)

    "Loosing good people"

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

    I worked at Wizards of the Coast full-time

    Pros

    Flexible and fun job if you love MTG or D&D.

    Cons

    Not very many carrier advancements because company hires managers above long worked employees from outside. HR admits managers have no time to train or mentor employees they manage so you are on your own. (So don't complain if you don't get any support.)
    Politics in the company became more important than actual creative work.

    Advice to Management

    Leadership is not sitting on your authority. Inspire and grow people who work for you. Good souls are leaving company.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Great creative environment, poor technical environment"

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

    I worked at Wizards of the Coast as a contractor

    Pros

    Solid creative culture working to design future Dungeons & Dragons products along with Magic the Gathering card sets. Nearly every employee deeply engaged with the products in some way. Ample opportunities to play while taking a break. Half day Friday policy allows for an easy wind down from the week. Fun place to be for any D&D or MtG fan.

    Cons

    Technology is ancient and crumbling. All the digital efforts are massive disappointments with many in denial about competitors like Blizzard. High school level politics and a strong sense of apathy among most of the teams. No real sense of ownership. Very unclear communications. Unethical managers that use and abuse contractors. Issues with theft to the point several employees have their own personal security cameras. Outdated office furniture and environment for many. Meetings that turn into who can talk over who instead of team collaborations. Managers almost always in meetings instead of leading teams. Efforts have been successful at purging the most toxic elements from the work force, however much work remains to turn the highly cynical teams into productive and good work experiences. Purely reactionary environment due to no one feeling comfortable taking ownership and being proactive. Poor support from IT that would rather enforce ancient enterprise standards rather then taking security and productivity seriously. Even Microsoft has moved beyond the 90s, it's time for WoTC to as well.

    Advice to Management

    Adopt more empowering policies for the employees instead of making demands from closed off offices. Bring ownership to the teams instead of fracturing products between full time employees and two tiers of contractors and outsourcers. Be willing to fire the most cynical people holding teams back with can't do that attitudes. Break down barriers between departments that still remain. And modernize the company, it shouldn't involve printing paper to place in someones physical inbox to take time off. Consider relocating to a more desirable area instead of in the middle of an industrial park.


  4. Helpful (10)

    "Proof that great games can be created despite embarassing management."

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

    I worked at Wizards of the Coast full-time

    Pros

    Everyone at Wizards eventually gets the opportunity to help Magic and D&D grow (though you will not likely be credited for your efforts). There are occasional game nights, employee prereleases, and you get free product for both brands.

    A play area recently opened up on the first floor, and it's nicely decorated, giving people a cool place to hang out without having to hijack empty meeting rooms. The overall atmosphere is relaxed and almost all of the employees are very friendly.

    Wizards is great at a few things when it comes to making physical games. A few departments such as R&D, creative, and art teams have their process down extremely well. If it weren't for these departments performing adequately, creating fun and beautiful games, and sincerely caring about the enjoyment of the product, the entire company would be in horrible shape.

    Cons

    *** Compensation ***

    Salary is well below industry standards. Benefits are ridiculously poor, to the point where most employees take the bare minimum while cringing and complaining at the huge expense (nothing is done to address this).

    *** Management ***

    Extremely conservative company with rigid and inefficient infrastructure. Zero career pathing for employees. Advancement very rare, most jobs turn into dead end grinds. Many managers in key areas have found themselves in positions they are unqualified to perform, but fly under the radar because work generally goes unchecked as long as the company continues to make money. The company avoids change and risk (change and risk are basically the same thing for WotC) at all costs for fear of disrupting the Magic: The Gathering profit machine.

    *** Communication and meetings ***

    Internal communication within the company is embarrassingly poor. More e-mails are sent regarding team lunches and last minute emergencies than all project planning and progress report e-mails combined.

    Instead of properly utilizing e-mail, there's a strong meeting culture within most departments where managers hop from meeting to meeting every hour of the day, every day of the week. This is viewed as very productive work time in the eyes of upper management. Weekly held two-hour meetings are common. Nobody in the building has training on how to actually run a meeting, so they are almost always unstructured and overly conversational.

    If a decision within a meeting is somehow reached, it's because time is up and the continuation of a project depends on it. Because of the lack of communication, unpleasant surprises are a regular occurrence which are happily solved with even more meetings.

    Often times, an event or project will go poorly, but will be presented in post as a moderate success in order to save face in front of executive management. The company has no idea how to rate the success of its own projects unless they are sales related.

    If a failure is somehow spotted by executive management, there's usually a lot of buck passing until managing staff are no longer to blame and the problem is forgotten about. With a constant flow of products and game updates, the next big freak out is only days away and very little time is allowed for any real managerial upkeep.

    *** Work environment ***

    While the lobby is nicely decorated, the look and feel of the office space remains dingy. The carpets are old and stained. The only free snacks are terrible Seattle's Best drip coffee and microwave popcorn. Office furniture is years old and is never replaced, only shuffled around from cube to cube. The technology side is even worse.

    *** Digital ***

    Any Magic Online player or frequent website visitor can tell you Wizards is horrible at anything and everything digital. Internally they refer to themselves as a modern digital company, but they then pay programmers next to nothing and expect long work hours when something breaks. They insist on doing nearly all digital development in-house under these circumstances, dumping the occasional money injection into specific areas (not salary raises) that are in critical condition. Sort of like an old dying car that costs hundreds of dollars to repair every few months just to keep the wheels turning.

    *** Employee morale ***

    There are a few great teams which are a joy to witness. These are the teams that make Magic and D&D the awesome experiences they are. These products succeed despite the terrible planning, marketing, and communication efforts performed by the rest of the company. Thankfully the playerbase is much better at promoting the game than Wizards is.

    Upper management caught wind of the low morale roughly two years ago, recognizing that people were unhappy with management practices and low recognition and celebration of their work. An entire year later, after many more quit, they actually decided to do something about it. No, they didn't increase pay or benefits, and no they didn't introduce any training for their team members that could improve their management skills. Instead, they formed multiple internal committees to address specific areas of improvement. This was a very modern concept for Wizards, and was well received because it was the first time upper management seemed to care about their unhappy employees. Unfortunately these committees really only added up to more meetings made up of, you guessed it, mostly middle and upper management.

    After a year of these meetings, work was the same as ever with only a few superficial reports of progress gleaned from their efforts. Most employees now realize that the committees themselves were only a weak attempt to appear concerned with the morale problem.

    Advice to Management

    Stop filling your day with meetings and stop letting those you manage do the same. The meeting culture is destroying the productivity of several teams. Try actually speaking to an employee that's more than one level below you. Book the occasional one-on-one with them and actually find out if your subordinate managers are doing what they're supposed to be doing when you aren't looking. You'll be surprised to find that the person you are managing poorly is also managing their team poorly.

    Stop celebrating and congratulating managers who deliver sub-par work that is weeks (sometimes months) behind deadline.

    If you really care about the happiness of your employees and the success of your brand, loosen up and stop being so controlling over it. Make your employees remember why they chose Wizards of the Coast in the first place, and let them have some fun experimenting in their own space. Do this because it will make them happy, not because it will make you look good. Take your team out to lunch more than once a year and stop waiting until Halloween to have a fun office event.

    Take a look at projects with a yearly occurrence, and question why they are still happening. Stop pouring thousands into annual efforts that only exist because someone decided they were a good idea 5 years ago.

    Either stop being stingy with pay checks or stop being stingy with product. The current system is better than it used to be, but there's no reason to treat Magic cards like gold. You make millions of them a year, yet most employees have a hard time constructing a Modern deck. Considering how far the free product goes towards making up for the company's shortcomings, events centered around employee happiness (like Employee Appreciation Week) are less exciting than ever.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Greatest Opportunity to Re-invent Itself!"

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

    I have been working at Wizards of the Coast full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The three brands, D&D, Duel Masters, and Magic are simply the best in Hobby Gaming and who wouldn't want to work on those?!
    The work week schedule is flexible enough to provide for excellent productivity and work/life balance.
    PTO is extremely competitive, even in the Seattle market.
    The majority of the executives and directors genuinely care about employees, culture, and morale (rare in today's market).
    There are a lot of career opportunities, if you work hard and apply yourself.
    Wizards Week!!
    Sales Team has turned things around over the last 12 months.

    Cons

    Desperately need new cube furniture! (was suppose to roll out to the whole company, but cut for financial reasons)
    Onsite amenities have improved, but need free food or significantly improved selection of paid food. There is only one option within walking distance and the road is very dangerous to cross (accident involving a police officer just last week!)
    Meeting-heavy culture; "old guard" needs to leave or become contemporary (top-to-bottom).
    Renton is not a great location nor is it competitive.

    Advice to Management

    HR, Trade Marketing, Magic R&D, Sales/Game Support, and Technology departments have made significant changes and improvements in management and organization. Hold the other departments equally accountable for performance, efficiency, and especially solid leadership.

    The same leadership competencies, luck, and strategies that were responsible for the tremendous success over the last 4 years will not be the same that are needed for the digital future. This statement applies top-to-bottom in the organization.

    Invest in digital brand management and marketing (see Magic Duels issues). Managing a digital game brand is NOT the same as managing a paper game brand. Use contemporary marketing, not the same-old 10-year old tactics.

    Get creative with perks and benefits. If you cannot compete with the standard benefits, then differentiate yourself with soft benefits or more time off to pursue creative endeavors.

    PMO needs a serious overhaul.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Make the game you love better"

    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 Wizards of the Coast full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You get to work to make Magic and D&D to be the best they can be for other gamers! Every person in the company gets the opportunity to contribute to the brands in the company, and to playtest new products. There are ample opportunities for people with a good eye and a good sense of taste to make an impact on something they are passionate about. This leads to both Magic and D&D being two of the best games in the world. Without the hundreds of talented individuals at the company working, that wouldn't be the case.

    In the past year, morale has gotten better with more focus being put on keeping the employees happy, and giving them the kinds of perks that you would expect in a game company. We are still a ways off from having free food, entertainment, but it has been a step in the right direction that continues. There has also been an effort to make the salaries and other compensation more competitive, which has been another step in the right direction. I don't think everything is perfect, but there are enough people in the company that want to make it a better place to work that I feel like it will get there.

    Cons

    The parts of the work when you need to interact with people who are not passionate about the brands can be frustrating. HR, in particular, doesn't seem to value what an amazing resource they have in hiring talented people who want more than anything to work on a game they love - and they treat it as though everyone was applying for a job a desk job at an insurance company. Too much bureaucracy is involved in many areas of the company, and it has driven more than one talented individual out, and kept dozens (if not hundreds) of passionate employees who would have well outperformed their job titles out.

    Also, there have been some cost-cutting measures in relation to the health plan in the past year that are borderline insulting. The old health plan was okay, but the new one is definitely not competitive a company of this size in the greater Seattle area.

    Advice to Management

    As far as the company as come, it still needs a huge step forward in the digital age. Too much time is spent on the kinds of things that matter to Hasbro as a toy company, instead of Wizards, which should operate much more like a computer game company. I'd look to really shaking things up on the digital side to keep Magic competitive in the next 5 years. Also, make sure that the top level executives care as deeply about our brands as the people at the ground floor do. If the people at the top don't care if we are are making games or widgets, that attitude will trickle down.


  7. Helpful (13)

    "I wish them well"

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

    I worked at Wizards of the Coast (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Half day Fridays, free product, getting to play Magic and D&D at work, relaxed hourly schedule. and lots of free food. The technical team working on the non-game systems and the Magic Online business team is run rather well and cares about the player experience. R&D is the unsung heroes of the company as they keep making Magic a fun game. Customer Service fills in all over the company to their credit.

    Cons

    -Lack of empathy in the executive team and very little understanding of technology
    -Unprofessional behavior accepted from senior leaders
    -Tons of politics and backstabbing
    -Office dating all over the place causing tension
    -Completely risk averse
    -Dire fear of change or losing job or title
    -Very little collaboration
    -Many of the directors were simply good at "playing the game"
    -Lots of win-lose scenarios, blaming and finger pointing
    -Managers who intimidate their employees and anyone who disagrees with them (especially in the Magic Online technical group)

  8. Helpful (9)

    "Great place to go nowhere."

    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

    I worked at Wizards of the Coast full-time

    Pros

    Co-workers are great. Probably the only reason people stay around. Very devoted and intelligent people working there. Company is understanding you have a life outside work.

    Cons

    Very low chance to advance, you will be told you can, but what you need to do changes all the time so you will not succeed at it.

    Marketing is a joke, they have no idea what they are trying to sell and won't learn. IT is old and out of date.

    2 trick pony. Magic and D&D. If it isn't named that it's not going to fly. Don't get your hopes up about a new game you made. Even if they like it, and say they want to do it, it won't get published. But they will own your idea from then on.

    Advice to Management

    So many layers of managers, it's hard to know who someone has to talk to. Marketing is a joke, find someone better. The employees are smart, listen to them, they have good ideas and good games. Maybe find something other than magic and D&D to make.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Wizards 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 Wizards of the Coast full-time

    Pros

    I've never worked anywhere with a more passionate, creative group of people. People also care a lot about our players, and are willing to go above and beyond to make our products and experiences special for those players.

    Employees get samples of most of our products. If you're a fan of D&D or Magic: The Gathering, that's a huge benefit. If you're not, there's still a great benefits package, half-day Fridays, and pretty amazing creativity put in to Halloween week (this year, one floor was turned in to the bridge of the Enterprise, another Thunderdome).

    The company has grown leaps and bounds in the last 5 years. It's an exciting time to be at Wizards, and there have never been more opportunities to contribute.

    If you love gaming and are a creative and hard worker, Wizards can be a very rewarding place to work.

    Cons

    Things aren't perfect. There are some areas of the business that Wizards is struggling with, but the senior management is aware of the issues and is committed to shoring up these areas of weakness.

    Advice to Management

    Keep listening to your people. I've been really encouraged by the amount of effort that has been put in to identifying what makes employees happy or unhappy. This year's Christmas party was the best I've ever been to, and it's clear that more effort is being put in to showing how much employees are valued.


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