"Trace features are for the lazy"
Simplistic tosh. You're leaping on a simplified description of a feature, and making some pretty ill-informed comments about its purpose.
Features like this are entirely valid and valuable, and don't imply a hacky approach to development - they are primarily diagnostic tools, and key to efficient diagnosis is cutting down your search space.
Modern renderers can be very tricky beasts to work with, with visual glitches potentially the result of megabytes of artist-authored content (i.e. outside the programmer's control), multiple interacting shader programs and engine-level polygon-processing - working back from the output to the culprit buffers and shaders is an absolute godsend.
While you're at it, why not chuck the debugger on the bonfire, because it shouldn't be necessary.