It's been extremely strange to me that this champion has been allowed to be walking around in the state that it is. Zoe has probably some of the best damage in the game right now at the exchange for... nothing? She has absurd range, conditional but very powerful mobility for both poking and escapes, and great cc. Usually when I describe a champion about why I think they're op, I tend to overlook the champ's downfalls because they're hard to exploit, but Zoe really is more than a jack of all trades, but a master of all trades (no pun intended).
She holds champs at great ranges while she waits to land her e to if not oneshot, to deal over half their health on a q combo. Most of this damage is true damage so you can't itemize effectively, nor is she any particularly less powerful when behind. Her damage is also a force to be reckoned with, and the range it's put out at expasteres this problem. Her Q is non commital, great poke and decent wave clear. Her E is not only an extremely long cc effect, but deals something like 600 true damage once its maxed. Odds are if you get hit by it, you're dead unless you're behind your front line or a tower.
One needs only to look at the difference between this spell and morg binding to understand the sheer absurdity of the champion. Morg binds are a slightly lower cd, but in exchange they're far slower, don't have a splash radius, don't inflict stun but rather a root, and has less range with no dash to put it in range. Morg q was such a powerful ability that the rest of her kit is basically just utility based around it.
The fact that Zoe can very easily be called a better xerath, better morg, better tf, better anything we've seen mid lane in recent memory is an extremely concerning sight. The fact being that Riot doesn't really seem to care, or acknowledge this fact. When they talk of Zoe, they do so in extremely loose terms, that 'they're working on it.' Not, "yea this champion is probably one the largest power creeps to ever worm itself into the game since yasuo."
They don't bring up that Zoe's kit seems so much more powerful than other mid laners, especially the early ones. Even Yasuo, who despite being relatively balanced, has an extremely offensive kit when viewed objectively, seems to be relatively stable compared to Zoe, like a fucking powertrip of a child of Riot Tryndamere made its way into the game.
But... Zoe's kit doesn't seem so extreme when you think that this how Riot wants the game to be played. Extreme amounts of damage being dished out, a 'power trip' experience. Just that we have all these old champions in the way, they're not built for a power trip, but just good ol MOBA shenanigans. If you consider champs designed at a CertainT level, except without all the nerfs to the kit post release that finally bring them down to normal champions; if you consider that design philosophy, of rather than designing a balanced champion, let's make a unique one, an 'experience' champion, then Zoe is right at home.
Zoe does feel like you're playing some disney character, the whimsical notes, and the bouncy sense of animation makes it an engrossing spectacle. That of course, puts aside what's she's doing to the mechanical part of the game, which seem so to be simply stepping outside of it for cool animations. Imagine that we release more champions that have this sort of thematic design, a champion's personality is made first and their kit numbers are based around how they feel the champion *should feel* when you're playing.
I would argue we're seeing this already, Eve is a walking pair of titties, and her reworked kit reflects that. Ornn is just a fucking rock that absorbs damage at an absurd rate that also does a great teamfight. Rakan and Xayah had a power trip motif with the e couple power I feel, but I feel like since dev cycle was so short for them, their kits were kept simple to keep up.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is, they come up with these cool powertrip ideas at a board meeting, they come up with the kit to achieve that powetrip, and then do anything to keep the champion in that powertrip. The champ's balance seem secondary to actually just making the powertrip idea come to fruition. Ideas are being first instead of game balance. Zoe plays how you would day dream a Disney princess to play in a MOBA. Which is to say she's whimsically the most annoying character in the game by far.