Making the game more survival centered
So the main issue I want to talk about in the following suggestion is about how the game survival aspect is meaningless at the moment.

When you manage to survive for a long period of time by using up the ressources you gathered and being extra careful and everything, the way your effort is rewarded is by having your name appear in ranking by days survived....

Obviously, this has no impact on the gameplay and it's simply meaningless in-game. And because of that, survivors (people who are interested in surviving the longest) often need to hide in their base, avoid all kind of risks etc.

The following suggestion aims at rewarding survivors IN-GAME and making surviving impact their gameplay in a better way, and by doing that, this will motivate everyone else to become a survivor. Note that this does not intend to restrict non-survivors gameplay but only to make survivors' gameplay better, advantageous. 

The reasoning aside, their could be many ways to implement such thing:
Since it's normal for a survivor to be in better shape and more experienced than a non-survivor, you could leverage:
- Health, running speed, probability of sickness, reload time, chopping rate etc.

People would unlock "benefits" or "perks": e.g after 7 days of surviving you unlock something. 30 days you have x % of health boost or whatever parameter boost (just throwing random numbers). The unlocked perks should also appear under the days survived in the inventory menu.

Or, if you don't want to touch these parameters, you could go for new parameters by opening up to a new aspect of the game: for example, BREATH (like stamina). 
When running, you can't just run forever, after a period of time of running you have to "reload" and you're forced to stop for taking a breath. And the more days you survive the longer you can run and this will make survivors outrun non-survivors and give them a significant though limited advantage over them. 

I personally find the unlocking of perks a more exciting way to favor survival in the game. 
You suicide, you lose your perks.
You strive to survive, the game rewards you by unlocking perks that make your gameplay more advantageous over non-survivors. And this is exactly what could turn the game more survival centered.
I'm all for a class system, and there was one that was talked about a couple years ago that promotes co-op and not dying:

The idea is that performing actions increases your skill in that category, but decreases your skill (slightly) in all other categories, and dying forces you to pick on skill to keep.
Eg. chopping wood increases your building skill but lowers your PvP/Hunting, endurance, and hunting skills (or whatever other skills there are).
Eg. you die and choose to keep your hunting skill but all other skills are reset.

Promotes playing with other players and staying alive, both are a bit lacking in game.

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