MANY of my players. Perhaps maybe one or two of yours, but I don't know, and I have my doubts you would even if they do. Thing is, many players won't tell the GM one way or the other, so it's highly possible that the negatives from GM's are false negatives from ignorance. Even close friends often don't. (I get better feedback at public games than with close friends.) In order to get the feedback, I've had to inculcate a culture of openness, and of allowing abstractions, and even of metagaming play. (Tho', I've yet to get the current group doing Metagaming play ...¹)The notion that npcs “work” towards goals of foreign to me. When not on camera, npcs succeed or fail entirely at my whim. If I decide that the castle burned down in the night, that’s what happened. Npcs have no existence outside of whatever I happen to imagine.
On screen, then the rules change. But off screen? Who cares? The cultists continue on their road to whatever they are trying to do. No one ever actually rolls out a battle where no players are present, the odd exception being an exception of course and please, if you want to say, “well I one time rolled out an npc fight with no players”, I congratulate you on your technical correctness but point out that that’s not really the point.
I may not roll out a whole battle, but I'm likely to, during downtime, pop a couple dice into the mass combat portion of the rules to better be able to tell what did or didn't happen. If the battle is important to the players in some way, I'll treat it like any other important to the PCs battle, save for PC interaction. But when I say battle, I usually mean more than 100 on a side, and fairly abstracted.
One of my more memorable Traveller minicampaigns was board-room based - and the various actions resolved by cutscenes and players taking over NPCs on both sides... (And to think, that was 30 years ago.)
1: note the capitalization.