We need calories for all our basic purposes. We need calories to even breath and live. We burn calories both at rest and play. The only thing that differ between various activities is the rate at which we burn calories. So we burn much fewer calories when we are sitting and working on our computer as compared to when we are running or going upstairs. While sleeping, our bodies burn between 70-100 calories per hour. This is called our Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR.
Your calorie requirement is dependent on your objective. Are you looking forward to weight gain or weight loss. For people looking for weight gain the idea is to increase your calorie intake. When you increase your calorie intake, the excess calories get stored in your body. Depending on your nutrition type as well as your workouts, these excess calorie may get stored as fat or muscle. What we discuss out here is how to estimate the number of calories you need for maintenance level - your maintenance level is the amount of calories you need to stay at your current body weight. Simply, if you want to gain weight you will have to cross your maintenance level.
All the tools out there for finding your maintenance level just give you an approximate value. There is no formula to find your exact maintenance level. This can be attributed to the fact that your calorie consumption depends a lot on your day to day activity level.