An account's character name, also known as its display name, is the alternative name for a player's character that is displayed on all website features, including the game, on the forums and in the Hiscores. It is different from the player's username, which is used to log into these features - this cannot be changed.
As of 1 October 2009, members of either RuneScape or FunOrb are able to change their display name to something different from their username. This display name is the name which other players will see and know an account. A player's username will always remain the same, regardless of any changes made to the display name. To log into any website features (including the game), a user must enter his or her username, not the display name. Everyone's initial display name is the same as his or her username.
Changing your display nameEdit
The ability to change display names is currently only available to members of either RuneScape or FunOrb. To change a display name, a player must visit the Account Management section of the RuneScape or FunOrb website and select 'Change your display name'. He or she can then choose a new display name for his or her character.
There are certain restrictions on which display names may be chosen for a character. These are:
- It may not be a display name currently used by another account.
- It may not be a display name that is being held (see next section).
- It must not be deemed offensive or deceptive.
- It must not contain "mod" anywhere in the name.
- The user must not have changed his or her name within 28 days. However, redeeming a Bond can bypass that.
- It cannot exceed 12 characters. However, this may be changed in the future.
- Punctuation characters such as @ are omitted from the display name when it is set. For example, "Rs@Player" would actually be "RsPlayer".
If a display name is seen to be offensive or deceptive, Jagex can remove the name, and replace it with a temporary name (a random set of numbers). The player will be forced to change the name before being able to log in. If a user repeatedly chooses offensive names, he or she will not have the ability to change his or her name for one year and will be assigned one by a Jagex Moderator.
Once a user has chosen a new display name, their old one will be reserved for an amount of time. The name will be reserved for at least 35 days with exact length depending on the time the original name was held. For the first 28 of these it isn't possible to change the display name without using a bond, so they've got at least a week to return to their old name if they wish to do so. Once these days have passed, the old display name will no longer be on hold and can be taken by others.
When a player changes their display name, an icon will appear to the left of the name on the Friends list of any player who has him or her added as a friend. By hovering their cursors over the icon, players can see the old name of an account, so as to avoid any confusion. A similar update has not been made for the Clan Chat. The blue icon will disappear once the players previous name becomes available, confirmed by Mod Grantham. 
A few other things can also be said about the new display names:
- Display names are case sensitive. It will not capitalise the name and underscores are not replaced with spaces as they are in usernames. You may also use dashes (-) in your Display name.
- There is no way to swap names between accounts; Jagex wanted to discourage the possibility of 'name selling' by making it hard to transfer a name.
- Display names are used for almost everything, such as entering player-owned houses, clan chats, etc.
- A player may enter the previous display name of a player to enter such places, provided the time limit for reclaiming the name has not expired.
- Attempting to change your display name while banned will give the message "You may not change your name while banned."
- Attempting to change back to the previous name in the hero's tab would result in the message that it's still in use.
Prior to releaseEdit
Display name change was leaked before the announcement was even made. Many players already changed their names before it was released.
It is also popular knowledge, due to a forum thread that stated that an update was not due on the week of release, that the update was accidental. Ironically, later that day, all players found themselves randomly disconnected from RuneScape on all worlds which could suggest that the last resort solution for Jagex had failed. This then forced Jagex into an early release of the subject.
If a user is inactive (has not been active in a while), their name will eventually become available as a display name if the following conditions are met:
- It hasn't been logged into in the last year
- It hasn't been used to purchase any membership
- It has no RuneScape skills of level 30 or above
Note: If you are a free player, you will retain your character name if you have logged into your account in the past year, or if you have any skills over level 30
This is to free up names from inactive accounts for active users to be able to use for their account. Any players who choose to log into an inactive account that has had its name taken will be forced to change the name of the account before logging in.
In the summer of 2014 Jagex announced that more character names will be freed up in batches of accounts that follow the following criteria:
- It has never had membership and it hasn't been logged into in the last 6 months
- It is a former member and it hasn't been logged into in the last 2 years
A second batch of name releases were done starting on 13 March 2017, beginning with letter A. Unlike the previous time, no level requirement was made when taking the names. Additionally, character names of some banned accounts have been released, except for those banned for Real-world trading. A day later, a level requirement of 250 total was added after complaints.
- Accounts created on or later than 24 November 2010 use emails to log in rather than usernames. Prior to this, Character names were called Display names.
- The top 10,000 players on overall hiscores at the time of the name changing system release had their login names protected by Jagex, binding those names to their accounts.