The search box for wildcard emotes used to search for emotes with implied wildcards at both ends of the string (i.e. searchstring). Now it only wildcards the end of the string (i.e. searchstring*), meaning only emotes that begin with the search string are matched.
This means if you want to find emotes that have to do with a certain subject (e.g. batman), you’ll only find emotes that start with ‘batman’, and miss out on emotes such as the many examples of FeelsBatMan.
Was this change intentional?
It was intentional. The truth is that the old way we were querying for emote codes was not fast enough to support the number of emotes currently shared. To bring the service back up to speed we were forced to swap to a more efficient means of search, which is currently prefix matching. It’s possible we may be able to bring back a form of fuzzy matching again down the road, but for right now it’s nontrivial to fix.
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