Thanks for the input Thunder.
I obviously only speak from my perspective here but I feel a patch is always positive in the sense that it brings a bit of life back to an old game. Eventually, I wish there had been more patches, earlier on, but spending your time complaining ain't changing much. We wanted some changes, we got given some. Adding factions, units and other 'casual' features is always a plus and personally, that's something which keeps me interested in playing such games. It was also nice to see that the 'competitive side' of NW also got its own features with the 'competitive mod' keeping score intact, etc ..
You are also right in saying that every 'balance' is very subjective and that you will always have people complaining, no matter what. In my opinion, a patch/update, on top of bringing the aforementioned features, should also focus on making the game as fair as possible, meta-wise. The game isn't perfect but even if you look way back in the past, I feel it has always been in a 'decent' state and only required a few tweaks here and there. NW mechanisms can be glitchy/buggy but it's also what made the game's success and kept an active player base so many years after its release, and also a reason why - as you mentioned it once again - certain players were not necessarily in favour of removing every single one of them. Because some became something commonly accepted by a vast majority and only required a certain skill to be mastered, therefore being accessible to everyone taking the time to understand them.
But in certain cases, I feel having a real community input is sometimes required in order to pursue changes which are in favour of the majority. For instance, talking with most of the leaders of the cavalry community recently, I feel that the consequences of the changes made on the heavy cavalry have been somewhat underestimated by the development team. Of course, if you look at all the cavalry regiments playing on NW, most will argue that they do not care in which directions the patch goes cavalry-wise, because most of them don't understand the impact it can have and don't understand the game mechanics deeply enough to figure out what it really changes.
But for the regiments playing in cavalry leagues and tournaments (the 'competitive' cav community) and which is the one being the most impacted by the patch because they are the ones who spend the most time trying to understand/master the game mechanism, such changes can make a whole difference and turn a 'balanced' situation into a completely unfair one, because 99% of them are hussar regiments and from their perspective, the latest patch arguably made heavy cavalry overpowered.
Edit: I am not trying to imply that because of 99% of the cavalry competitive is hussar based, you have to favour them. I am just trying to suggest the idea that to make sure an update doesn't perturb a complicated balance, it's important to understand the situation prior to its release but also which groups it is going to affect. Because by tweaking heavy cav in order to make it 'fairer' from your perspective, you end up making it the oppositive for a large part of the community.