I love having the option of a pause button in single player games.
It’s the difference between gaming as a hobby where you absolutely must reserve undisturbed blocks of time and tell the outside world to pretend that you’re dead until the end of the session, or a pastime like reading or watching TV that you can fit around the rest of your life. Because sometimes you don’t know if you will be disturbed, or you don’t know exactly how much time you have available.
I realised recently how much I enjoy flight in WoW. Not just because I like flying, but because you can just hop on the flying mount when you need to pause, and your character will be safe when you get back. Stealth works also, if you have a stealthy character. And being able to leave your character somewhere safe out in the world for a few minutes while you answer the phone is one of the great bonuses of playing on a non-PvP server.
And I can’t help thinking that solo skirmishes in LOTRO would be much more relaxing experiences with the addition of a pause button. The only real way to pause a skirmish is to die in the middle of it, because the game lets you take a few minutes before you release. Other than that, when you hop into a skirmish you are in for 20-30 minutes of fast paced and fairly unrelenting action.This is because you don’t control the pace yourself, unlike in the little crafting one man instances where you can clear it out as fast or as slow as you like.
Pausing in multi-player games is something to negotiate with the rest of the group, but it feels like such a natural addition to solo instances that I wonder if it really should be a standard.