Yes, surviving: As in, not necessarily winning, just being able to get away with your life.
Ahtchu left an interesting comment on my last post that got me thinking: "Canadians might not get along between themselves, but when Winter's Worst makes her visit, differences are set aside. They are set aside because no other option exists for survival."
There is a reason there is a tremendous following behind the idea of zombie apocalypses. They involve survival in a way that many people will never experience in their lives. We live in a society where we are at the top of the food chain and where our continued survival likely is contingent on how well we can keep an office job with benefits rather than throwing spears at gazelle. Furthermore, during a zombie apocalypse, it is essentially an entirely new world to explore. Familiar locations are dangerous and exciting, where you can find loot in the form of food, medicine, or bullets.
Now, I am free to make up bullshit statistics and guess that 90% of the people with those fantasies would prefer they be fantasies and not reality, but the ideas presented through these are excellent for game design. Even if we avoid the zombie apocalypse genre altogether (which we shouldn't: Some AAA company really needs to cash in on this) we find that the fun of surviving and exploring is minimized in favor of walled off predictable encounters. Our quests tell us where to go, and numbers tell us how likely we are to survive against an average foe.
There is no worries of survival or losing progress in WoW-like games these days. There are no deep dungeons where you may lose your gear, there are no expensive ships that you would have to work to replace, and the rewards from the bosses are not necessary at all because hey, you're going to replace it in the next tier's heroic dungeons or the next expansion's first questing zone. There's a reason EVE Online stories are way better than WoW stories: Even with minor death penalties that can even be entirely avoidable, EVE players have something to lose. And losing something can make for a way better experience than doing nothing but gaining things.