Thanks for the help, guys.
I managed to smooth the object without it breaking up, but the result doesn't really look like how its supposed to.
1.) I guess I could tweak the verts until it more closely matches the original, but is there a way to more subtly adjust the level of smoothness, or am I stuck with 1,2,3? (2 looks like 3 but with outlines).
2.) Is there some script or plug-in that allows me to fine-tune the smoothing level/degree?
3.) Do you think all smooth features work roughly the same way between different platforms? Like, would you say 3dsMax's hyper-smoothing outputs the same result as Maya's smooth mesh preview?
4.) It is easy enough to marque an entire mesh and merge all the verts with a low threshold (I am glad), but quite time-consuming to select individual verts to separate say, a facial mesh from the eyeballs and eyelashes, and the head from the body. I know you can undo if you accidentally click out of your selection, but sometimes you make some changes and cannot afford to backtrack (or computer crashes). So is there a way to make Maya remember a selected array of verts, so you can always go back to same, very specific selection of verts, rather than having to start all over again if you cannot use "undo"?
3.) Can anyone recommend more precise tools or efficient methods for selecting a set of verts/edges/faces in a complicated scene/object? Example: In some models, the cloth layer and body layers are indistinguishable after importing, though it is possible, step-by-step to separate the verts/edges/faces related to cloth from body, thereby recovering both body and clothes, as opposed to being stuck with a clothed mesh.