Ever since I accidentally "upgraded" to Windows Live Messenger 2011, I've hated it with a passion. You no longer have freedom to change your name to whatever you want (it uses your full name from your Windows Live profile), the interface is so much worse, and the handwriting tab is gone, among other things. I'm so ready to just switch to another IM client entirely, except I have a large set of custom emoticons that my friends and I use constantly, and I would probably go nuts without them.
I tried Trillian, which will show custom emoticons from my friends who are still using Windows Live Messenger, but I can't send custom emoticons of my own. Another friend of mine uses Pidgin, so I know that doesn't support sending custom emoticons.
My question is, does anybody know of an alternative Windows Live Messenger client with which I can send custom emoticons to contacts who are using the official Windows Live Messenger client?