Wizards of the Coast "work life balance" Reviews | Glassdoor

Wizards of the Coast Employee Reviews about "work life balance"

Show All Reviews >

27 Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

  1. "Fun for a while, but poor management and political risk-averse culture ruin it"

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

    I worked at Wizards of the Coast as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    I worked in the Magic Online group as a developer. I had 12 years of experience at major software companies and wanted to see what else was out there. For the most part, the line-level employees are fantastic; helpful, friendly, and competent. A few leads were also fun to work with. The game is interesting, and the company encourages employee interest in its products. The company is serious about employee work/life balance. A few producers were excellent (and could have a major impact on project success). I particularly enjoyed interacting with the QA team, who are passionate, knowledgeable, and fun.

    Cons

    The technology, and sadly a portion of the employees, are as much as a decade behind state-of-the-art. The company can't seem to make decisions fast enough to keep pace with industry improvements. Poorly managed past projects haunt the executives, who in turn have become risk averse. Many managers are hopelessly non-technical, which leads to poor accountability and political (rather than technical) staffing decisions, including keeping many dead weight employees around who embrace the status quo. No one wants a "black eye" so no one takes risks.
    The resulting culture makes it extremely difficult to champion any significant technical changes. Managers refuse to embrace new ideas because either they don't want to take the political risk of failure, or they saw the change to the status quo as a political threat. Similarly, the IT department with its antiquated processes and strict "division of responsibilities" often functioned as a barrier to progress rather than an asset to the engineering team. Ultimately employees who would start out optimistic about opportunities for progress would become cynical and resigned to the status quo, falling back to operating only in the tiny domain they were given, putting blinders on to the problems around them.

    Advice to Management

    Hire better managers who have software engineering backgrounds and stay current with the state-of-the-art in the software industry (not just "certifications"). Be willing to take risks and recognize that failing fast at an experiment is not a business failure, but rather valuable business intelligence. Hold employees accountable technically, rather than politically.


  2. "Empowering place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Intern in Renton, WA
    Former Intern - Intern in Renton, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Wizards of the Coast as an intern (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Amazing coworkers who empower you to do your best each day
    - Plenty of extracurricular activities and club programs
    - Endless opportunity to work outside of your department and expand skill set
    - One of the best philanthropy programs
    - Great Work/Life balance

    Cons

    - General growing pains of internship program

    Advice to Management

    Please improve the intern to hire process

  3. Helpful (5)

    "Strong people; work in progress to evolve and overcome some negative inherited culture"

    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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Some of the most talented, creative, and passionate people I've ever had the pleasure to work with. Exciting new projects in the works. A growing awareness of weaknesses and efforts made to improve. Increased efforts and awareness in inclusivity and career development. Active steps are being taken to create more mentorship and opportunities to seek growth. You also get to work on some really, genuinely fun and innovative games and products. Free product, free sodas, decent if small gym, subsidized fitness coaching to work off said sodas. Half day Friday's for non-R&D teams. Strong work-life balance, good vacation package. If under good managers, you have the opportunity to contribute to arenas that aren't your specialty. There's real chances to make visible impacts on our games and products, and have your voice matter.

    Cons

    Some inherited inefficiencies or lack of process hampers the ability to get work done. Overdone and archaic processes at other points grind innovation to a halt. There's a need to build better systems to support the workflows. This is true across a number of disciplines at the company.

    A feeling of reactionary decision making and last minute changes have permeated since new leadership. It's a fine line between flexible and nimble responses, and flailing knee-jerk 180's, and it feels like recent months have been the latter.

    Opaque communication and lack of transparency at times results in lack of confidence across teams and efforts.

    There are a few folks in leadership roles that perhaps shouldn't be, and it stifles the ability for teams to achieve at maximum potential. Aggressive masculine styles of communication and claiming credit for work by teams still seems to generally rule the day (and the meetings), especially at mid-tier management. This is despite some outstanding women who have risen in leadership. They seem to be the exception, not the rule.

    Meeting-intensive culture.

    Benefits package could use improvement; just not competitive with other companies in the area.

    A shortage of headcount creates high pressure scenarios across teams, and overburdens top performers with increasing risks of burnout.

    Contractors get the short end of the stick, and transparency of possibility of conversion to full-time or extension of contract is oftentimes lacking. This is occluded by the fact many departments genuinely strive to provide conversion, and fall through late in the process, but this doesn't lessen the impact on the contractors left in limbo or notified with short or no time to seek next steps and opportunities.

    There is a serious challenge of not being competitive in the compensation offered when compared to many (admittedly bigger) companies in the area.

    There is a real wall in terms of advancement and ways to grow a career. Poor or short-sighted directors or managers stifle employee opportunities instead of encourage. Great ones promote the mobility that helps make the company great and nimble. Great managers also help an employee find their best fit, but the weak links actively push talent away from the company.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to clarify communications and decision making so directions the company takes don't feel so reactionary and knee-jerk. Be more proactive to get ahead of your messaging; overshare on thought processes where possible, to help build confidence and understanding of decisions made.

    Trust your Subject Matter Experts! We say it, but sometimes we don't do it. This is true on projects, but also in management; as a manager or director, trust your team lead when they share their report's desires and concerns.

    Allow your reports the opportunity to grow beyond their role. Don't state it superficially, then not follow through when opportunities (and needs) arise.

    Embrace and empower the passion for the games and products your employees bring, but don't take advantage of it.

    Recognize your weaknesses and blind spots and hire to help you shore up and spot them. Our employees shouldn't all be life-long fans of our games. We need more diverse perspectives to see where we can grow.

    I realize this review may read negative, but many of these things are in progress or have been identified company-wide. Wizards is a great place to work for many reasons, and it is working hard on its weaknesses. In my tenure there it has already improved in many ways, and there are innumerable folks there that I cannot wait to work with again.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Great Place to Work"

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

    I have been working at Wizards of the Coast full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some of the top people in the industry.
    Great development opportunities.
    Good benefits.
    Flexible work/life balance.

    Cons

    There are a lot of executives, producers, and managers. Sometimes, it can seem a bit top-heavy.

    It sometimes feels like decisions are made without any thought about the people who will implement them.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your skilled workers. Take the time to understand what they have problems with and work with them to form a solution.


  5. "Most friendly team ever"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great friendly people. Wonderful work life balance. Tons of fun activities.

    Cons

    Nothing. No cafeteria in building. But we had lunches on free table every so often anyway

    Advice to Management

    Nothing


  6. Helpful (13)

    "A poisonous organization built on a dying brand."

    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
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Reasonable work life balance.
    Reasonable ergonomic consults.
    Some talented individuals working in specific channels.
    On-site gym with personal trainers available for consults at a small discount.

    Cons

    Sub-standard compensation.
    Poisonous work environment.

    The wild financial success of Magic has allowed Wizards to become complacent in every department, and that's lead to a stagnation at the director level and above. Rather than rewarding success, Wizards rewards the obsequious, the ruthlessly political, and those willing to obfuscate real, practical status to placate the management class. It's only due to Magic's profitability that an organization so unhealthy is able to survive, and it's shocking how failure at the director level is continuously rewarded.

    Advice to Management

    Slim down, in particular in those departments that have become rife with the directors whose success is solely contingent on their ability to manage upward, rather than down.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Pros and Cons"

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

    Pros

    Efforts are being made to improve employee culture. Lots of smart people and fairly good work/life balance. You get lots of product.

    Cons

    Medical insurance offered is expensive and pay is on the low end. Would like to see more women at the top as it tends to feel like the good ol' boys club. It can be political and senior leaders aren't always on the same page and it trickles down.

    Advice to Management

    Offer company-wide flexible work schedules and telecommuting options to be competitive with other employers in the area.

  8. "Great work-life balance, wonderful people."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Seattle, WA
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wizards of the Coast as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Overall, this company is helmed by passionate and compassionate people who love what they do and care deeply for the games and communities they foster. The work-life balance is pretty great, there are many opportunities to play and engage with our products, and there are many fun activities and events, as well as philanthropic efforts, that are sponsored by the company. The company actively fosters an inclusive and community-driven atmosphere. The CEO is someone who engages on the ground level, getting to know even lower level employees and always personally engaging with elements of the games we develop.

    Cons

    Communications between teams sometimes can be clunky. Compensation may not be as competitive for certain positions. Sometimes tasks can get mired down in overly convoluted layers of committee approvals. Some teams have members which do not appear to be the strongest candidate for the position, but have simply been in that role for long enough that their continuing presence feels more like inertia than best fit. HR can sometimes be a labyrinth to navigate.

    Advice to Management

    Overall, management feels adept and well equipped. Continue to strengthen the technical teams, and examine the efficacy of certain team leaders. Work to relocate or remove individuals who impede more than they facilitate forward accomplishments.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "An excellent place to work. Fun talent need apply."

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

    I have been working at Wizards of the Coast full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you like interesting games, and want to make a difference in some of the best games out there, it would be a challenge to find a better place to work. The work life balance is good. The top manage is actually good, and getting better. Most importantly, the digital roadmap should excite anybody who wants to be part of the type of change that only comes about once in a decade for a company this size.

    Cons

    Some of the middle management is poor and in need of further training or replacement. There remains some dissonance between business vision and execution. The month of Halloween is way too much fun (insert dry humor).

    Advice to Management

    Look at your senior business managers and directors carefully. Several of them need support or need to be replaced. Support your technical teams with excellent tools and governance.


  10. "Wishing and hoping and working and praying"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Digital Visual Designer
    Current Contractor - Digital Visual Designer
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Wizards of the Coast as a contractor

    Pros

    Best work/life balance I've experienced.
    1. Egos are generally left at the door, which can't be said for other gaming companies.
    2. Manager is excellent and attentive to the needs of the team.
    3. Wizards overall treats both Full Time Employees and contractors well with great community activities.

    Cons

    1. The perception is that no matter how hard a contractor works, there is no chance to be a full time employee. The chance of advancing is next to none.

    Advice to Management

    If you want to keep the best, hire the best. Contractors often work very hard, hoping and praying to receive the "Golden Ticket" without little hope of advancement or any reason why they can't. It creates an elitist mentality that drives morale down. We can only be appeased with cards for a little while before the desire to grow becomes far too great to ignore.


Showing 27 of 133 reviews
Reset Filters