I suspect that after nearly a decade of no meaningful enhancements, this is done by design and helps push specific apps up the list in some manner.
Adding paid search capabilities helps no one except Apple and large development companies that can now blow through their marketing budget even quicker. Great for them not so great for Jane Doe's app which suffers under this type of oppressive change.
What do you mean by this?
> no ability to filter based on more than their two or three meaningless filters, etc
What kinds of things would you want to filter on? (Not disagreeing, just honestly curious.)