Actually, competitive Pogeymanz's learning curve is somewhat low in most areas. However, the skill gap between a good player and a great player is ginormous. The same is true for AC's multiplayer, but the learning curve itself is immeasurably more difficult in comparison. As an example, in the team mode Manhunt, a team of all prestiged players can lose to three complete noobs and a legitimate competitive player. In Free For All modes, a third prestige would be lucky t' get even half the score of a fifth prestige. If ya don't regard my opinion towards competitive 'mons as valid, my thoughts on competitive AC multiplayer have undeniable merit. I was Ranked #1 on the leaderboards for a week, and hovered anywhere between Rank 3 and Rank 10 for half a year 'fore I stopped playin'.
if only lol
Yep, IIRC ya can only craft barrels at first. You get crafting recipes by lockpickin' chests "hidden" throughout the world (the only kind'a-sort'a hidden ones are found in the frontier; but they all can be located easily if ya buy the hilariously inexpensive treasure maps). Sometimes ya get weapon crafting recipes, sometimes ya get goods recipes meant for trading.
Oh, and all'a the important materials for said recipes are unlocked by doin' Homestead missions.