First off, I'm going to skip the lore. You didn't come here to find out about Zeus. You came here to get right into the Zzzzzzaapppp! So let's get to it. Long time DOTA player, transferred to DOTA 2, and my first guide here on Dotafire. So I'll try to get some formatting going on here eventually.
Early Game, Zeus has a really crumby attack animation and damage. You really need to rely on landing Arc Lightnings to last hit. As a bonus, you tend to splash a little bit of damage onto the opposing hero most of the time. You do need to be mindful of your mana, and make sure you turn your starting game around into a quick bottle. Make sure you get your bottle from the Courier before the 2 minute mark (takes about 5-7 creep kills, 4 if you skip all health regen to start, however it is not recommended). So aside from tossing out 5-7 Arc Lightnings to get your bottle, you need to conserve mana afterwards. Once you have your Bottle, you can top up your mana/hp from harassing, and start tossing out some Lightning Bolts after you've hit level 4 (Rank 2 in the skill, Rank 1 is kind of a waste of mana early). Check the wards your kindly Support placed near the river, and make sure you push your lane a little bit, either by harassing the opposing hero to have to back off and tango/salve his hp. You should look to do this about 1:50-1:55 into the game, as then you can cast Arc Lightning twice, glance at rune location and get walking towards it to pick it up.
Then Base Boots, into Arcane Boots. You can toss a Magic Wand in there if you feel you are last hitting fine, or get up a couple kills on your opponent, but it really isn't necessary. Once you have your core items of Arcane Boots, and Bottle, and have solidified yourself on your lane to level 6. You should begin roaming more often. From here you'll look to start getting rid of your GG Branches (if necessary) to turn them into a Bracer, and from there into a Drums of endurance. Keep in mind you aren't a support hero for the most part, you will be going for kills, and making sure that the entire enemy team can feel your presence and should fear getting low hp all game. The reason we get Drums of Endurance on Zeus, even though he's not a support is three fold.
1) It provides a lot of stats, and some additional move speed that Zeus lacks. This basically puts you on equal footing of most heroes in the game, allowing you to chase and quickly get around the map.
2) It gives you very cost efficient survivability against any sort of quick burst heroes, so that you can at least cast all 3 (4 if you count Arc Lightning coming off cool down so quickly) of your spells before you get ganked. Plus the mana to be able to keep casting your spells, outside of Arcane Boots cool downs.
3) By being able to move at the same speed as most other heroes, and not dying to a swift breeze of a burst dps hero. You can now DPS yourself in the form of casting your spells and weaving in some occasional auto attacks.
After Drums, Zeus is now tanky enough, has covered his gimped starting move speed, and has a decent enough mana pool to cast his spells with regen in the form of Bottle/Arcane Boots. You can also usually stop relying on Arc Lightning at this point and change it from a last hitting tool, into a direct nuke that can splash from hero to hero. From here we look to adding to his kit to make him more fearsome. I like Rod of Atos on Zeus a ton. Here's why: More survivability never hurts. It has a MASSIVE range (1200 is about a full screen away), the slow is MASSIVE 60% is a lot and basically allows you to either trip up a hero from a full screen away, or get you close enough to get in a few more spells. The +25 INT really comes into play to keep your mana regen up (without a void stone), and increases your mana pool so that you never find yourself having to wait to ultimate when you need to. Your damage output isn't much via auto attacks, but when it comes time to team push or keep on last hitting creeps, you should feel absolutely comfortable at this point.
From here I usually work towards a Sheepstick (Scythe of the Vyse), so that you can contribute another hard disable to team fights, although the game is usually over before I can finish making it, or in the 5% of games it isn't over, it is within 10 minutes of completing it. If you do manage to complete a Sheepstick and still haven't won the game, you should look to getting Aghanim's Scepter, and a Refresher Orb.
A note that Zeus's Ult doesn't show up correctly here. The Cool down is no longer 120 seconds. It's now 90 seconds! You need to keep a constant eye on the mini map and good communication with your team to know when and when not to use your ult. Look for people setting up ganks from the jungle, or enemy heroes retreating to their tower. This should give you from a quick glance, the knowledge that they are trying to back up from a little skirmish. If you need to throw it out on the fly.
Some key points on when to actually hold back on using the Ult if you can. You are level 10/15 about to level up your Ult again, no point in blowing your ult quickly as you can increase the damage before unleashing it...if you don't have an opportunity to turn it into a double kill/assist.
You SHOULD ult when: You are about to die (no point in not having some of your cool down on your ult be used while you are dead), you don't have a large enough mana pool to continually cast spells yet post-6 (usually by level 11 this isn't a problem as you have a few mana items by then), and you are at the fountain filling up your mana anyway. Or when you absolutely, positively need TRUE SIGHT on an invis hero.
Another time you should look to ult is in mid-late game when you can't see any of their heroes. It gives you true sight on all of them, and can easily disrupt a gank attempt, or reveal them Rosh'ing at an inopportune time, or catch one or more of them trying to retreat to base to heal up low on hp.
To maximize use, you should ultimately know where all their heroes are, don't ult when they are at the fountain or when most of them are dead, you get a majority of your damage from level 6 to team fighting time from being able to use it on cool down (or at least close to it) by making sure you hit all 5 heroes (4 at minimum). If 1 or more is at fountain or dead, you trying to use it as the weakest global Finger of Death in the game. A complete WASTE! When Team fight time comes around, you should be using it just shortly after initiation, so that you hit all 5 heroes, give your team true sight around their team, and try to Static Field as many as you can as well. This puts your team up from the beginning of the team fight.
Your standard mid-late game team fight cast order is:
Ult -> Arc -> Bolt -> Arc -> Attack, attack (splash in Arcane Boots/Rod of Atos/Drums/Sheep) -> Arc -> Bolt -> Arc basically casting Arc every time it is off cool down and Bolt intermixed with attacks if Bolt is off cool down.
Keep in mind that you should never be full mana after you complete your Arcane Boots if they are off cool down. Lightning Bolt costs 135 mana, and Boots restore 135 mana, there's really no reason to not toss it out there every chance you get. Bolt gives TRUE SIGHT around the area where it is cast, so you can Bolt a creep if you need to get sight on an invisible hero in your proximity, or someone about to use Shadowblade to attempt to juke a gank. If you need a few extra seconds after the Bolt wears off, or if he gets out of range of the TRUE SIGHT provided, you can pop your ULT to gain TRUE SIGHT on his/her location again, however, they will not be damaged.
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