Bundle them up into 1 pack maybe?
As an aside note, I realize that part of the alure is that you hit a server and do not normally require any downloads, save for a few choice servers.
^^ Assmued reason that doing "server-side" only mods is less taxing on the client.
Source engine mod's (Garrys Mod) blatantly ignores this by emposing many many downloads, but then still leave's you with a Ton of mising assets in-game.
Last point, I've not heard many complaints about the downloads being an issue for people (they are rather small packages), and more people seem to want "more" toys to play with.
maybe make a poll so we can see actual numbers.
PPS, at some point, an semi-pure change will be required for the server; something that would allow people some flexibility in what server assets they can afford. This, along with an "cg_noCustomModels" type cvar should be road-mapped accordingly.
- extra model's should be "opt-in"
- extra model's should be client-side enable/disabled and fallback to correct models in the latter.
- semi-pure server could allow for visual mod's to be used on a pure server (if you wanted Lucifier cannon to shoot smily faces that no-one else see's, why not?)
PPPS, Fixing up the client to alow "concurrent" or "simultaneous" downloads would be a great addition- so you could download 5-10 different packages at the same time, instead of the serialized approach the engine uses now.