Learning to play acoustic guitar notes will improve your playing, regardless of your level, beginner or experienced.
It is an easy thing to neglect since the guitar is an instrument you can play for a long time without mastering notes. This is unlike the piano and many other instruments which, unless you know the notes, are pretty limited on how much you can do.
That's because playing the guitar is a very physical/visual experience. It is like the piano in that way, but the piano requires much more understanding of music theory to be successful playing the same types of music.
Chords for piano almost always takes some understanding of notes and their place in a scale. But on the guitar, chords can be learned without understanding notes first.
One of the early barriers to learning notes can be the pain felt by pressing on a single steel string. Some players overcome this by first playing on a nylon string guitar and then moving to a steel string version later, or not at all.
How are they different from chords?
Notes are the building blocks of acoustic guitar chords. The chords you play are all made up of notes. These notes have important relationships that must be maintained to sound like the chord you intend to play.
Most songs can be played and sung adequately without knowing much about the notes that build them. But those individual chord tones are the notes that make the chord and the song sound like it does.
How do scales work with acoustic guitar notes?
Scales make learning notes easier. A scale is built on specific relationships. This is true of both major and minor scales.
Each has 8 notes, but the reason they sound different is what happens with the 3rd note. Instead of a whole step between note 2 and 3, a minor scale uses a half step instead. This is true for all minor scales. Thinking 8 notes at a time makes notes easier to master.