I liked them a lot. they are neat and useful
Yeah. Something with them stopped working in 5.2.0-dev I noticed it a few days ago. It wouldn't catch emojis in chat lines anymore and automatically emote. I was disappointed by that and decided it wasn't a useful feature if that doesn't work. I guess I should communicate this issue to the developer.
I never used a feature of the mod where you put in-line chat commands... I always used "/e" and chose from the gui.
I thought it was a cool feature
I liked them too. But I don't think most players understand that /e is a command or will naturally realize that it is in the game. The ability for the mod to pickup expressions and emoticons from chat and convert them automatically was an idea I suggested to the original developer. I think most people will use :) or :( and the ability for the mod to pickup on that and automatically emote from the player was a very cool feature that I really enjoyed. I will write about it to the developer now.
I know I have a tendacy to remove cruft and things that break quickly. I tend to reassess the good stuff though. Awards is a good example of that. Its come back and been removed and come back many times. While I might really use it much, I know that some players really enjoy that mod and the awards they earn, they can be fun sometimes. So they are still in the game. We will see with time how the emoji mod develops to see if it returns or not.
As far as rewards go, They should be associated with an actual in-game reward, such as doubling the mese in your inventory, for the mined your first mese reward, or a good axe, for the woodcutter reward.