The main goal for my AD&D MU was to build his 500 foot "Tower of Epic Phallic Symbol" so all would know his power. All the campaigns centered on looting gold and magic for the purpose of gaining power in the campaign world. Adventure and exploration were what you did to gain money and magic in your quest for world domination and reputation. It was a game of ambition. It wasn't about the combat...you fought only when you had to. Fighting wasn't balanced and all wussified with an expectation of success based on your uber-build...there was actually a more than decent chance you would die back then. Why attempt it?
That's still the way I play today. That sort of mindset is frowned upon in society these days. The political correctness of the 90's did a lot to kill off a generation of gamers who may otherwise have appreciated such a style of gaming.
I remember in 1976-77, in Second Grade, after gym class, whoever won whatever game we played that week got the right to sing at the top of their lungs a portion of the Queen song "We are the champions, my friend...", and shout out the part "NO TIME FOR LOSERS" and taunt the other team. What did that do for us? Whoever was on the losing team wanted to win next week and we would practice and try harder. We wanted to be winners and be able to wear the mantle of winners for the week. It made all of us better.
Now, everybody gets a trophy for showing up. You're a winner just for fogging up the mirror held under your nose. That sort of mindset isn't one that encourages the type of game I play. The endgame with latter editions is assumed to happen, rather than something that exceptional players strived for and achieved only after the harshest of trials. Now you get it just for completing X # of tactical combat encounters which you knew you'd win anyhow, because the rules are designed to let you win.