I think this is a circular argument. The fact of the matter is that BA has it's own inertia simply through the sheer mass of players playing it. While I think by all means it 'deserves' this, it didn't exactly 'earn' them from scratch, because it really took over all the AA players, who took most of the UH players from OTA, who took a large proportion of the original OTA players. It had it's player base from the outset of the Spring engine - arguably before the Spring engine was even thought of.Most people join spring because they are told its "TA in full 3D". I can appreciate the desire to move away from the shadow of the collosus here, but that's not really realistic. I really hate to do this to modders, because I know you guys are working your asses off and it's really not an issue at all of intelligence or hard work, but the reality is, until the modding scene can produce a mod that stands on it's own, attracts new users in reasonable numbers, and keeps users playing, we're going to continue to be the project that "remakes TA in full 3D". The ball is in no one's court but the game developers here. No one else can make the community, or gaming scene at large, take you seriously.
It is very difficult for mods to develop their own self-perpetuating community (that is, a community with their own inertia) when competing against BA. As the disclaimer again, I think BA is a very solid game, and Noize is up there with my most respected modders for Spring.
But the fact of the matter is that if I have players downloading Spring through my website in order to play IW, but booting up into #main, and then looking for a game of IW amongst 30+ games of BA, I'm not going to retain enough of those users to start my own scene, irrespective of how good my game is. Under those conditions, I have to consider moving to my own server, where I don't have to deal with those problems at all. And as I said before, I have no desire to do that, as I consider myself a contributing part of the Spring community, and it would be a blow to the community if it started fracturing in this way.
If my new players, however, are dumped into #swiw, and initially can't see any games except IW, I have the opportunit to make that initial impression on them, to gain and keep them as a member of my personal IW community - to allow my player base to pick up self-perpetuating momentum. After which, they will very quickly discover the other games available. From that point, if they decide they like BA more then IW, so be it. I've had a fair pitch at them. What's more likely to happen is such people like both games, and play both. Which is where the strength of keeping everyone in the same lobby comes in.