In practice, my only real complaints with the Touch Bar are (1) not enough things really find ways to take advantage of it, which contributes to its "just a gimmick" feel, and (2) GIVE ME BACK A PHYSICAL ESCAPE KEY.
(...but I actually remap caps lock to escape in my iPad's terminal client, ironically, because the Brydge hardware keyboard has no escape key at all!)
It allows remapping keys, so you could e.g. remap the whole top row from ~, 1 to 0 to act as ESC, F1 to F10 when needed. Not ideal but better than touch bar.
I'd have liked to have seen more apps try and do something with the touch bar, though. Amusingly, Apple's native Terminal.app does more work with it than many other apps I've seen -- it adds a virtual key that toggles the Option key between Option and Meta, adds a "Man page" button that will bring up the man page for the last-typed command, and lets you quickly change the theme of an existing terminal window.
Modifier-based shortcuts are not as good because it usually takes two hands, and maybe I want a hand free to use the mouse to scan values, operate the UI I’m testing, etc.
Also, IDEs have a ton of functions so all the simple modifier combinations are already in use. A complex two-hand combination is good for something you frequently use once while typing (e.g. “show autocomplete”). Debugging, on the other hand, is something you do relatively infrequently (hopefully!) but when you’re in that mode, it’s great to have dedicated single keys, closely clustered together.
Physical keys are much easier to use than touchscreen buttons, especially when not looking at the keyboard.