Where I sit on this issue is that I feel like the gaming media is overstepping its boundaries. If the players are demanding something, that is one thing. Game devs should absolutely take into account what players want. But the issue is that a minority of critics are dictating the conversation, there's often a massive disparity between professional reviews and user reviews. You'll see games with a 67 metacritic score and then a "Mostly Positive" label on Steam reviews and a high user score. Likewise with TW3, I don't think 99% of the playerbase gives two shits about skin colour or race representation, but because 1% of the media does it has become something of a discussion.
I think as long as the gaming media continues to not represent the popular views of gamers, devs should largely ignore any critical content in the media. It's a vocal minority, predominately of an ever-growing clique of like-minded folks who live in their own bubble. But they're also becoming increasingly irrelevant. I can't remember the last time I read a game review on Giantbomb or elsewhere and it remotely impacted my purchasing decision. Usually, a mediocre review from a site like Polygon, Kotaku or Rockpaper shotgun means "Hey, I'll probably really enjoy this game.".
Personally, I feel like the media is absolutely useless to me these days.
Oh no, Polygon writer X thinks the tits in this game are outrageous. Well, I have no problem with tits. Kotaku writer Y thinks Japan is behind the times. Well, I vastly prefer Japanese unique game design to the modern western "everything is the same as everything else" design. So I don't really care what they think of Dragon's Crown or Akiba Strip. Giantbomb does another quick look where they're rearing to shit on a game before they've even pressed play. Oh my, time to close the tab in chrome because this is going to be a waste of 20 minutes of my time. (haha, how many years since a quick look was under 40 minutes?)
I stick around here because you guys do still make some fun content. But as the years go by, I feel like my tastes and opinions diverge more and more. (Except for Vinny, he always gives everything a fair shake with a smile on his face. Only one that doesn't constantly bitch and moan half the time through the whole quicklook if something doesn't have that AAA spit and shine.)
The dream is that all the shit will sink to the bottom and only the highest quality, most complete and expansive mods will rise to the top. You just need to take a look at the fucking app store to see that isn't how this works. In reality all this does is bury good mods under a mountain of people copying and pasting the same low effort ideas in an effort to "be the one" that takes off. You're going to see an influx of one-off sword models or armours, you're going to see existing popular mods cease to be free as they remove themselves from other mod sites. You're going to see people pirating mods.
I've modded games since I was 10 years old learning how to make my own character skins. I've known a lot of other people who have modded over the years, some of which who have gone on to work in the game industry and some who kept it as a hobby. Everyone understands it's not a job, people do it for love of the game and fostering of a community. People put hours of effort into making mods compatible with each other so that people can enjoy as many as possible.
A paywall does two things, and none of them are "benefit modders". It's going to encourage an influx of "low effort" mods, not created out of passion but out of greed. This will have an app store effect, where legitimate mods get buried under a sea of shit. And it's going to result in more theft than there ever was. Realistically there was no way to ever stop someone from stealing your work and claiming it as their own, other than basic community shaming and shunning for doing so. But now, you're going to see people steal obscure mods whose creators have long left the scene and post them up to try and make a quick buck. You're going to see people create mods that don't actually do anything and hope someone isn't savvy enough to refund it. ("hey guys you just have to walk to the four corners of the world to activate the triggers for the questline. I promise! Whoops sorry, I messed up the scripting TEEHEE. I'll get RIGHT ON THAT".) It's unbelievably easy to scam people in such a way with, as far as I can tell, very little retribution beyond a negative word of mouth. I've seen people do this before incredibly successfully. One guy had people going for about a decade with stolen work and "proof of concept" videos. Even had a demo with a trojan in it, but still people believed he was legitimate. The naivete of a userbase as immature as steam's should not be underestimated, and the vulnerability to scam artists is very real.
Meanwhile, legitimate modders who did this for the love of the game... they don't care to monetize their shit. They have jobs and successful careers already, and would already prefer if people simply enjoyed their work. Those with talent that wanted to make money off modding left to greener pastures in the form of cheap UE4/UDK licensing deals and Unity a long, long time ago.