I use Nautilus on the desktop also; it makes things a lot more usable for me. Folder shortcuts and script launchers come to mind. I'm sure there's a Shell way of doing this but RTFM? - TL;DR. This is supposed to be an intuitive interface after all. So yeah, I hope the Shell developers don't bury Nautilus before it's time.
(On a different note, I don't think it's accurate to say XFCE doesn't concern itself with new features. The showstopper for me when I tried it years ago was thunar's inability to browse network resources. From what I've gleaned, that's a core feature now.)