From: Georgetown, Texas, USA
ORIGINAL: Don Bowen
...If you have no priority for certain TFs to load/unload first, best way is not to dock any TF and let the harbor master do it. However, the harbor master is fairly stupid in the order in which "he" selects ships for allocation of pier space.
Is this true?: if you manually dock a ship to unload, it will remain docked after it is empty even if other ships would benefit from getting access to the dock. BUT, if the harbormaster docks a ship to unload it he will undock the ship after it is empty so he can dock another ship in its place.
How about loading. Is this true?: The harbormaster will dock ships to load them more quickly and then undock the ship when loaded so that another ship can then be docked.
Is this true?: As a general rule if you have more ships to be loaded/unloaded than dock space available, you should (if no load is more important than another) just let the harbormaster tend to the docking/undocking. That is, after all, what he is paid to do.
OK, some specifics.
Actual auto-docking is done at TF level - there is no auto undocking. The entire TF must fit at the docks.
"Effective" auto docking/undocking is done by allocating the unused dock space to the calculations of TF load/unload rate. This assumes that the harbor master is shuttling ships in/out of the available dock space.
The weakness here is the lack of auto undocking of TFs (only those that were auto docked, of course).
If you have limited dock space, the best thing to do is to manually detach escorts from the TFs and dock the ships that you want loaded/unloaded the most.
The second best thing is to not dock any ships and allow the harbor master to handle it. The harbor master does not know anything about load/unload priorities but can get the work done.
The worst thing for loading is, unfortunately, the most convenient. Dock the entire TF, set it to load and where to go after loading, and forget about it. It will load, undock, and move toward the destination. Same for unloading if the TF should move away quickly after unloading (like when the base is within enemy air range.
< Message edited by Don Bowen -- 7/10/2013 8:59:57 PM >