I don't remember if it explained exactly how things worked before the Wheel, but here's how I understood it:
If the reincarnation cycle was created by the Engwithans, then there were no souls being reborn. You'd be born once, die, and move into the Beyond, where you'd remain for eternity- much like we heard would happen if the Wheel is destroyed. This would also imply that even births were finite before the Wheel- eventually, there would be no new souls to be born, and kith would simply die out. The Wheel allows for used souls to be recycled, draining a little bit for the gods in the process. This effectively turns them from a finite resource into a nearly infinite one.
I dunno, this sounds stupid to me. Kith lived for untold generations before Engwithans invented the gods and nobody died out then - tens of thousands years old migration of the elves and kith, bustling empires, no mention of any decline. I think what the devs wanted to do with this is give an option for the kith to live like we do in the real world - we die, that's it (unless you believe in Hinduism and reincarnations). But while we don't have any proof of having a soul, souls in Eora are a fact. Also, adra veins are definitely a natural phenomenon, unless devs decide later to retcon those too. So souls moving through adra into Eora's depths to reincarnate is a thing done by Engwithans too? I think somebody needed to think on this some more before retconing the **** out of everything.
Fixing the Wheel is actually the core of Eothas's plan. It's a test for the kith- they're meant to find a solution to the Wheel's destruction, and in the process they'll grow beyond the need for the gods. It also gives them an opportunity to stop powering the gods leaving them out of the new Wheel, if the kith don't want to continue serving them after learning the truth about their creation.
The whole premise of breaking it just to make a whole game plot out if it sounds more silly the more I think about it. If it's working fine why break it? Just to prove something, to make a point? Sure, the gods needed to be brought down a notch but not by shooting yourself in the foot, surely? Not only are the gods doomed to wane with this but also the kith if they don't find a solution. Way to leave people hanging, Eothas! I think he just lost his marbles after dying the first time.
Anyway, I'm not satisfied with the ending. It is confusing in the mechanics of it, in the unclear explanation why was this necessary at all or what will happen next. And my main gripe is with "Engwithans created the reincarnation Wheel" retcon. Also, the gods in the sequel were a bunch of toothless sissies squabbing with each other, I liked them more in POE1, they seemed more potent and confident then.
Edited by Aramintai, 11 May 2018 - 11:03 AM.