Just start out playing against the bots in 'PvE light' until you get the hang of it. Even the AI will be tough in the beginning...
PvP is downright punishing, as it should be.
Had a PvP battle in my Surprise (6th rate I believe) after I left RoF last night and there must have been 30-40 ships in total. I kept in line with our larger frigates, tossing chain-shot into the enemy frigates, then when close enough shooting doubleshot at targets that all-of-a-sudden appeared all around me. Then I realized that somehow I was all by myself
Very easy to loose situational awareness.
Anyways, the RN prevailed over the Frenchies. I almost survived, being sunk just in the last few minutes and only two enemy ships left, one AFK. Couldn't pump fast enough. Almost 8000 damage inflicted, nearly what their two large frigates combined did. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Surprise_%28replica_ship%29