I think EQ has a valid point, but re-theming SMF to mimic the Wordpress site is quite an undertaking. It would take quite a lot of time to do.
This. It'd be nice to visually unify the appearance of all the sites, right now ss and server websites both match nicely, but it's a huge amount of work and most people seem to prefer the simple layout. I do get what EQ's saying about the light color scheme being violent on the eyes, and we can probably install a nice dark color scheme that can be selected on a per-user basis.
SMF can indeed highlight "New" post titles with Bold and the "New" icon could be removed. It's a question of experience with the forum software, not habit
More a question of theming familiarity, but I think iL means that people just need time to get used to the new appearance. (We fear change.) I personally think the little new tags work well enough, but I didn't use the other forum for as long as you lot did either. However, the new posts indicators can almost certainly be customized to look like they did on phpbb, though the old forum is somewhat too offline for referencing atm.