ArenaNet Employee Reviews about "guild wars 2"

Updated 21 Apr 2020

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3.8
69%
Recommend to a Friend
72%
Approve of CEO
ArenaNet Co-Founder & President Mike O'Brien
Mike O'Brien
80 Ratings
Pros
  • "Company provides great medical benefits and a great work life balance(in 31 reviews)

  • "Work environment (cool studio, kitchen with free snacks and drinks)(in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • "mediocre pay, egotistical upper management, conflicting messages on work/life balance(in 17 reviews)

  • "If you are a very experienced tester or just very familiar with Guild Wars 2 you may feel unchallenged by the work(in 8 reviews)

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Reviews about "guild wars 2"

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great People, Quality Employment"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great benefits, great work-life balance, great supportive people across the board, both in terms of personality, and talent.

    Cons

    The compensation packages are not as competitive as they might be elsewhere. The studio has also struggled to release anything outside of Guild Wars 2 content (which they do a damn good job with) for a long time, so it can be very frustrating to be working on one of the studio's other initiatives.

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  2. "Great Company with Long Term Priorities"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - Anonymous Intern 
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet for less than a year

    Pros

    ArenaNet is home to lots of very technically, artistically, and managerially talented people - and I've found them to be extremely friendly and supportive as well. The leadership is patient, and isn't eager to seize short term gains at the expense of sustainability. They take great care to keep employees happy and stable, including actively discouraging 'crunch culture' which is counter to the perception of a lot of developers in the industry. This policy also enables greater diversity in the Anet workforce. The company has a critically acclaimed MMO brand with a large, passionate following. Despite the occasional minor gaffe, they really respect their customers and are driven to provide a great product that their fans will love instead of resorting to easier, less honorable tactics designed to maximize profits.

    Cons

    I can't think of any big ones, but I suppose that ANet is a bit on the secretive side, and currently ANet = Guild Wars, so if MMOs are not your thing, you might not be intrigued by what they're working on.


  3. Helpful (10)

    "Good place to start if you want to work for online game company."

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lead Programmer in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at ArenaNet full-time

    Pros

    There are not many MMORPG game company out there and ArenaNet is one of the best.Everyone's aiming high quality and and best player experience. If you love Guild Wars or like to work on MMORPG title, this is your place. Especially you never worked for online game before, there are ton of things you will learn.

    Cons

    Since two founders has left the company, original spirits are faded and the company dissolved into completely different one.Talented people keep leaving for the better places. No other portfolio than Guild Wars so it's fate is hang on Guild Wars. Few grumpy seniors with many juniors mostly straight out of college. Cash compensation is low end in the industry.

  4. Helpful (14)

    "Bright past, solid creatives, uncertain future"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at ArenaNet

    Pros

    In my time at ArenaNet, I met a lot of talented and dedicated people: incredible artists, some really devoted designers, talented writers, clever programmers, & some of the best QA staff in the business. If you're really excited about sinking into the lore & mechanics of a world, Tyria (the source for both Guild Wars & GW2) is lush & fascinating, & the majority of the people working there are deeply devoted to that source material. Their interaction with their community is stunningly positive, it stands out as one of the best in the business. I was proud of how ArenaNet was really on the hunt for internal talent. I know many people there who climbed the ranks from QA to art, production, programming, and design. Such a practice is all too rare these days & I applaud them for their efforts to cultivate promising talent from within.

    Cons

    The unfortunate part of working at ArenaNet really came after Guild Wars 2 shipped. The company folded into a lot of smaller teams, but refused to try to establish any kind of hierarchy. This led to a lot of "fake" titles, confusion, and jostling for position. Seniors felt undervalued & unable to advance to a leadership position, intermediates felt confused about how to develop their careers. Only juniors really benefited from an environment that emphasized generalist work. Shifting schedules & trying to adapt management led to weird positions where "coordinators" could be from an department, so suddenly a senior designer might find themselves answering to an animator, or a prop artist to a programmer, and so on. An interesting experiment on one level but mostly bewildering and frustrating. In addition to this, major focus started to be spent on developing the Chinese version of Guild Wars 2. In fact a recent patch, adapted to that system, caused major outcries in the GW2 community in the rest of the world due to it adding mandatory tutorials & mangling story content. It was a concern for me while I was there how a different country was essentially pushing around the design direction for the rest of the world (& I felt weird that all game content had to be approved by the Chinese government before being released). I understand how big of a market it is but it felt like it pushed an entirely separate agenda. If you're not an artist at ArenaNet, it is understood that your department is not the one in charge. I found many art assets were not even open for discussion, let alone debate, even when the community reaction against such was super negative. Don't get me wrong, ArenaNet has some of the best artists there that I've ever worked with, but the upper management has made the decisions of the art leads unimpeachable & very inflexible when it comes to adapting to feedback. This is a major departure from working on GW2 & even with individual artists on post-release content. It's a departmental issue not a cultural one. One thing I found out after the fact of working at ANet is that the salaries are below industry standard by a lot, even to the point when someone I knew outside the company called it a "local joke." Programmers will likely secure a more solid wage because of local competition, as will artists, but seniors of multiple departments will likely be disappointed at their offerings. I have heard since that upper management is trying hard to bring salaries up to industry standard. This is nice to hear but it is definitely something to consider. & although the new expansion is looking interesting it's not clear if ArenaNet will continue to be GW2-ONLY, or if they'll be able to open up development to other projects. The setting and game are cool, but without alternatives to offer, it's a fair bet that talented individuals suffering from thematic burnout will leave.

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  5. Helpful (18)

    "Dedicated people, toxic environment"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - QA Lead in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at ArenaNet full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The people at ArenaNet have a dedication and drive that is very hard to match in the industry. They seek out the top talent and setup a culture to share knowledge and grow the people around them. I have worked with some of the most intelligent and caring people at ArenaNet. Everyone took pride in their work and had no problems helping each other out or staying late to finish their work. A lot of the people at the company have loyalty for those around them. People stay at ArenaNet out a sense of loyalty to the game they helped make and a belief in the product. I have worked at big company's like Nintendo, and Microsoft and I can honestly say ArenaNet was one of the first places I felt welcome at. Designers, Programmers, Artists, and QA were all friendly and more than willing to sit down and meet the new guy. There were groups that always got to together for lunches and held nightly gaming sessions. People were always willing to include you into their evening or weekend plans. I have made some good friends at ArenaNet I will hold onto for a long time.

    Cons

    ArenaNet has become a toxic environment where people are worked to their breaking points and then told to keep working. The number one problem that seems to be plaguing ArenaNet is burn out and fatigue. People are often asked to work 10 to 12 hours a day and often to come in over the weekends. Another factor leading to the constant burn out and fatigue is re-scoping of the releases. Teams will work for weeks and months on content for releases only to have everything change a month before the content is launched. This requires the teams to redo a majority of the work for the release while still trying to meet the original deadline. ArenaNet has also become a political cesspool. People are being locked into positions not because of a lack of skill or talent, but because they don't suck up to the right people. I have seen employee's with glowing recommendations from their teams get passed over for employee's who can barely do their job because of who they were friends with at the company. The people who actually do the work are too valuable to let them advance, but then the incompetent people make all the business decisions. Management is often ready to scapegoat their people as well. They make all the decisions, but take none of the blame when things go wrong. I also wanted to talk about is the talent. Like I mentioned above, the talent at ArenaNet is great and there are a ton of dedicated people. The downside of all of this is: The good people are leaving the company. The politics and overworked environment have caused quite a few people to leave. Almost everyone who helped make Guild Wars and helped launch Guild Wars 2 are gone. You now have a company that trusts analytics and data over people's intuition or that listened to their community. People feel like their complaints are not being heard and many feel frustrated in their lot at the company. Also be prepared to make way less money that almost any other studio in the area. This company was competitive for the games industry about a decade ago. Unless you are an Artist or a Programmer expect to be paid about 30% less than any other studio in the area.

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  6. Helpful (4)

    "Great for its size"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Artist in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    I’ve been here for over 10 years now because I’ve experienced a lot of negatives at other game companies that don’t happen here, or happen to a lesser extent. The negative stuff I’ve read from others here are things that happen in any and every company with more than 40 employees. Here’s what I think are the pros at ArenaNet: • No demands for overtime. • Very creative, talented, and passionate coworkers. • Management is very approachable and actually kind caring individuals. (the ones’ I’ve gotten to know) • Room for growth and focus from management on individualized career improvement. • Flexible work hours and understanding about work/life balance. • Commitment to profit sharing (last bonus was 25 weeks of pay) The calculations are open and clear, but the timing is not consistent yet. • Freedom to pursue good ideas. (I got to form a team and create content based on an idea I had.) • Good communication between departments. • The usual game company amenities such as free snacks, beverages, gym.

    Cons

    Most of the cons I’ve experienced much much worse elsewhere, and I think they exist everywhere I’ve worked and I have friends in virtually every game company in America and they all echo this fact. So understand that these are really minor annoyances, not game breakers. • Experimentation with release cadence/style/type/team sizes and configurations, etc. Since Guild Wars 2 is subscription-free and relies on MTX, there’s been a lot experimenting to find out what model of content works best for this. So we’ve shifted gears so many times I’ve lost count. This may be a non-issue within the next couple months or year though. • Over reliance on contractors. We spend a lot of time getting them up to speed, getting to know and like them, and then their contract is up. • You have to pay $55 a month for parking.

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  7. Helpful (2)

    "Great people and projects. Disappointing opportunities."

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - QA Tester in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet for 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.

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  8. Helpful (11)

    "Waves of good and bad"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at ArenaNet full-time

    Pros

    • Sharing information. • Fun people who like what they do. • Good product. • Reasonable/flexible work hours. • Positive environment. • Open door policy with management. • Free snacks/drinks. • Parties/Events provided. • Physical security. • Gym access available. • Game room on premises. • Small library with book requests. • Additional resources on network drives. • Order takeout. • Good strides to legitimize e-sports.

    Cons

    • Most of the other veterans have left the company and many are still leaving. • Limited growth. • Shady management. • Heavy office politics and cliquey groups. • Inconsistent policies because of a long standing transitional phase. • Poor inter-departmental communications/strategies. • Coordination is hectic and often patchwork. • Poor or inconsistent documentation if any. • Multiple platforms for documentation that can be difficult to find. • Often unclear standards in work. • You may be in meetings for days at a time. • Limited leadership. With the loss of the former two founders leadership has yet to be filled. • Poor compensation packages when compared to competitors. • Limited pay when compared to industry standard. • Profit shares were not worth much. • Poor commute compensation. • No name in the credits for helping to create the game. • Suggestions are overlooked until it is critical. • Pets are not welcome. • ArenaNet only makes Guild Wars. Don't even bother with different game genres if you don't like fantasy MMOs. I suspect that is one of the reasons why one of the founders started a new company.

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