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What are the differences between the Standard, Moderate and Hard difficulty levels in the Campaign mode?

What about between Easiest, Standard, Moderate, Hard, and Hardest in the Standard/Multiplayer Game (Skirmish) mode?

If the AI changes its behavior or strategy depending on the difficulty level, please include that info.

Also, does the AI "cheat" (by giving itself additional resources, etc.)? If yes, what cheats does it do and at what difficulty level(s) does it cheat?

EDIT: In this answer to my question below, most of the questions have already been answered. That leaves the question, "What are the differences between the Standard, Moderate and Hard difficulty levels in the Campaign mode?" to be answered or expounded upon.

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3 Answers

may be it's too late but i think this question "does not take old"... AOE was criticized for the earliest versions because in the hard/hardest mode it does not take too much to beat the AI, so some cheating was introduced in "Age of the kings"(that's my own opinion). I can tell that because AI players can upgrade to feudal age since the first 5 mn easily(for any civilization) while human player can not do that with his resources(250 food !)[ less than the required 500 ].to prove that,start a new game ,in hardest mode ,and quit immediately ,then read the screen of the statistics ,you will find out that AI players have well higher scores because they were given more resources ! Another thing to mention is that AI managed units/buildings are some how "auto-healing" or "auto-reparing" and more efficient but it's not a bad thing,instead this makes the game more attractive and invites the human intelligence to improve each time and finest the strategy !

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Distance an enemy unit must be within when the computer player unit looks for a new target:

easiest:    LOS (can be modified by sn-easiest-reaction-percentage)
easy:       LOS (can be modified by sn-easier-reaction-percentage)
moderate:   LOS * 2
hard:       LOS * 2
hardest:    LOS * 2

Computer players ignore relics on the easiest level.

If a non-exploring computer unit gets attacked, the computer player's attack delay is modified:

easiest:    allow attacking one minute ealier
easy:       allow attacking two minutes earlier
moderate:   allow attacking immediately
hard:       allow attacking immediately
moderate:   allow attacking immediately

After a wolf kills a unit, have it gorge itself (not attack again) for:

easiest:    35 seconds
easy:       30 seconds
moderate:   25 seconds
hard:       20 seconds
hardest:    15 seconds

Distance a unit must be within when a wolf looks for a new target:

easiest:    LOS * 0.5
easy:       LOS * 0.75
moderate:   LOS * 2
hard:       LOS * 2
hardest:    LOS * 2

Source: This Reddit /r/aoe2 post, which refers to the Official Computer Player Strategy Builder Guide (cpsb.doc) in the AOE 2 CD 'GOODIES' folder.

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Not 100% if it does anything other than improving the AI in the campaign mode.

In skirmish mode it improves the AI, and being attacked by the enemy and how often it happens depends on the difficulty. For example; If you play on Easiest in Skirmish mode, the enemy will never attack you, the higher you go in difficulty makes them attack you and more often/earlier in the game.

They don't use "cheats" for resources and you can make them run out of resources just as any other game if you/the game lasts long enough.

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Know the details on how the AI is improved for each different level? –  galacticninja Jul 23 '12 at 1:34
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