One thing I've noticed in most rpg settings is a lack of dynamic, expanding empires. Usually, when empires exist, they are in decline. Yeah, this gives a great reason for ruins and old magic, but I would love to see either a revived empire, or a newly-formed one, expanding and taking over the place.
Heck, if the players work for the empire, part of their job could be to explore and clear old ruins and claim them. They could be members of the army, or just special agents out to discover and utilize magic to help the empire in its quest for expansion.
This also allows players to fight against the new empire, which might be utilizing either new magic or new technology, which is why it is expanding.