yeah I still think the garrison has to fight first.
if the largest fleet fights before the garrison, any carrier which arrives at the same time as an enemy and drops ships is HIGHLY likely to be destroyed.
which basically means any heavily defended star will almost always sustain carrier losses against a far smaller force.
it may seem like a small thing but it makes a big difference.
a carrier cant drop ships and depart on the next tick if an enemy is arriving at the same time
if I have a loop or multiple loops setup to dump ships on a high value star I wish to defend, any looping harvest carrier which happens to arrive at the same time as an enemy fleet will be destroyed instantly as the largest fleet in orbit.
(unless I change its orders to collect the whole garrison,wait a tick and then drop it and leave.)
OR unless I have another carrier on that star on an endless loop with no other destination keeping all its ships and all dropped ships in orbit instead of garrisoned)
adding an extra tick to a loop makes it almost impossible to synchronize chained loops without delaying all carriers in that synchronisation another tick as well.
which basically defeats the purpose of looping, and having set and forget harvesting.
If you have to be constantly watching andmanaging your loops to avoid offloading ships while combats occur…
it also doesnt make much sense thematically either.
a star with a 10000 ships garrisoned to it would lose a carrier to a force with 2 ships more than the weaps level?